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Use-It-Up Challenge


Use-It-Up Challenge

As an alternative to a “No Spend” month, this Use-It-Up Challenge encourages you to use the goods in your reserves – your pantry, beauty, freezer and beyond – before buying more. 

kath chopping mason jar salad

The Use-It-Up Challenge

Happy March!! 

I thought of this idea back in January when I saw a lot of chatter about doing a “no spend” month. Consider this the spring cleaning version of no spend January! 

What frustrates me about no spend months is that they are so strict. The line between need and want is so thin that you get something you sort of need and you feel like you have cheated on the challenge!

So instead of not spending any money at all, our focus is going to be to use up your current reserves in consumable categories before buying more. 

Example: You have six months worth of wine to drink on your rack at home, but you see a bottle on sale with a really cute label. Your challenge is to not buy more until your stash is at a minimum. 

Actual freezer/pantry meal of fish fillets, coconut rice, and green beans!

freezer and pantry meal of fish, rice, and green beans

Why Do We Accumulate?

I have so much extra in my freezer, wine rack, Kindle library, pantry, and beauty reserves that I could probably not buy anything new for months and consume at my usual pace. Why? Because I can. 

I keep reserves:

  1. So I will have a variety of choices at all times.
  2. To have a backup stash and never run out.
  3. Because I find a good deal on something and don’t want to miss out!

While none of these are bad reasons to accumulate reserves, they do contribute to the overall clutter in our household. 

I love moving because of the natural cleanse it forces in these categories. How often do you hear a family say they are eating up their pantry and freezer and not buying any new consumables in anticipation of a move?

Let’s pretend we’re moving, save some money over the next month, and declutter our reserves!

Use-It-Up Categories

The Pantry

I feel like I am constantly in battle mode with my pantry. There is a very delicate balance between “too much” and “we have nothing to eat.” 

I like to keep staples in the pantry for quick meals – foods like spaghetti and sauce, taco shells, canned beans, rice, jarred olives, sardines, and more. 

I also try to keep backups of condiments and sauces in case we run out on the spot – mayo, ketchup, jam. 

Lastly, we have lots of snacks! With two little boys and a blog that often gets samples in the mail, our pantry is bursting with snacks. I do a Pantry Clean-Out Challenge once a month.

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The Goal: Eat from the pantry this month and use up the neglected snacks (like the salted almonds in the back!).

Beauty Products

I’ve always had an overflowing accumulation of beauty samples and products, and now that I use Beautycounter that has not changed! I still stock up during sales and promotions, and I also like to keep product on hand to share as giveaways and samples. So my stash gets quite full! 

While I have done several “Raid My Stash” promotions to my Beautycounter list, I also need to just use up some of it myself. No purchases until the pile is half as big!


My mom and I share a Kindle library and I probably have 20 books I haven’t opened yet waiting there to read.

Yet the last time I finished a book (Educated was so good!) my first reaction was to look for something new – either through my library app or a promo at the Kindle store. I wanted a good, fresh beach read after two back-to-back country books (Giver of the Stars was also excellent!)

But with so many books at my fingertips, I decided to start one of those instead. (My mom had Anxious People so I jumped on that one.) No book purchases until at least half of these pre-loaded books have been consumed! Or if you don’t have a super cool mom like me, just vow to use the library for a month (or more!).

a daily harvest smoothie coming out of a freezer

The Freezer

All-too-similar to the pantry, my freezer is packed with “just in case” foods. 

While this is great when we don’t have time to fit in a grocery trip, the foods pile up! You know the FIFO method of accounting? First in, first out? This method should be applied to the use-it-up challenge too! But just like you always reach for your favorite shirt in your closet, you probably reach for the shiniest object in your stash rather than the oldest one in there. 

We have frozen vegetables we bought at the beginning of the pandemic when we thought the world was imploding that we still haven’t used! EEK! I’m making it a priority to eat up some of those veggies, along with my Daily Harvest smoothies, Splendid Spoon noodle bowls, and anything else that needs to be moved to the front row. 

Wine Stash

*Raises hand* Totally guilty of buying wine on a whim when I have a full “cellar” in my basement

Sometimes you just need to jump on the sale, or sometimes you see a super cute label or go to a vineyard and have to buy half a case of something you loved. 

I have enough wine right now to last me 6 months (well…maybe 4 pandemic months :mrgreen:

No more wine til it’s at least half gone…because we wouldn’t want to get the reserves to zero, now would we?

Kath with a crate of wine

I like to be prepared, but I also romanticize the lifestyle where you walk to the market to pick up only the food you need to prepare fresh for dinner that night. The minimalist in me wants to be that girl! But the realistic mom knows it’s good to have reserves because when the going gets tough, we need a backup plan. Let’s just not let our backup plan get so cluttered it weighs us down!

(I wish I could apply this to Legos!) 

Let’s check back in in a month!

I’ll work on my stash and you work on yours and we’ll meet here in 30 days. No spending til it’s gone! Which categories will you be working on?

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