Abby’s Ark

Considering I’m pretty much a minimalist when it comes to everything in my life—save for words, as my rambles demonstrate—it will come as no surprise that the chances of me appearing on “Hoarders” are about as likely as me appearing on “The Bachelorette.”

But with that said, I often feel the need to have at least two of the same things around. Not so I can use both of them at the same time, but so I know that if something happens to the first one, I won’t be left without.

Because of course, anything that could produce even a minor inconvenience should be avoided at all costs.

For example, I have two Hot Shots. If you don’t know what a Hot Shot is, then you haven’t really lived life to the fullest. When your “happy time” revolves around tea every day, this thing lets you heat up water in less than a minute.


I bought the first one at Target a couple of years ago and then they stopped carrying them. My mom realized the gravity of this situation and ordered one for me online as a surprise almost a year ago. I haven’t had to use it yet, but it’s waiting in my pantry.

My pantry also has a backup vegetable/rice steamer that I ordered six months ago when I feared mine was on the fritz (as I use mine at least twice a day), a backup toaster, an extra case of my tea, etc. And I don’t think I have to say that when it comes to food, you will never open up my fridge to find an absence of any of my staples.

But I do have only one fridge.

I will buy a new stick of deodorant, but use the old one until the container scrapes the inside of my armpits. I will squeeze every last drop of a $1.99-tube of toothpaste like it cost me $20. I would use a tube of chapstick until the plastic hurts my lips, but I still maintain that anyone who can keep a tube of chapstick around until it’s gone without losing it is some sort of genius.

Newsflash: I am not a genius, as evidenced by the fact that I read a to-do list note to “clean stove” as “clean Steve” the other day.

Anyway, when it comes to blogging, I continue this doubled-up pattern of neurosis. I like to have another post “waiting in the wings” before I publish one so that I can a) not stress that I have no new ideas or b) hurry up and publish something new if my last post sucked.

My brain doesn’t always let things work out that way—see “I am not a genius” above—but I work with what I have.

And what I have is a veritable Abby’s Ark of things I just can’t be without. Well, I don’t have an extra car or phone or computer, but I do have an extra Hot Shot and vegetable steamer, and sometimes that’s all that I need.

Like the blog? Buy the book—or two.

34 responses to “Abby’s Ark

  1. It sounds like you have two of all the important things. Like you, I’m also a minimalist, but there are some things I can’t live without either. Like cats…I have way too many cats. And books…our basement is practically a library. But with things like clothes and shoes, I have just enough. I could care less about those kinds of things. I don’t really have anything that I have two of in case one goes away for some reason, but I can definitely see the need for that. Wait, I lied, I always have two bottles of wine…because I definitely do not like to be without wine.

  2. I always have a backup of everything as well. I have my pound of coffee, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, etc. waiting in the wings. It may have more to do with my even number thing. I just broke a glass so I had three of that glass. I had to give one away. My tv volume has to be on an even number.

    But it probably has to do more with my fear of not having something when I really need it.

  3. I’m a ‘live-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ kinda girl when it comes to stocking up. I don’t have a back up of anything and my fridge is consistently empty of staples.

    Oh, wait, I do stock up on tinned tomatoes.

    Not sure why.

    I rarely use them.

    Oh, and cleaning products.

    I have a thing for buying new ones.

    Floor cleaner fluid is my crack (that sounds like I drink it. I don’t).

    All in all, if war broke loose and I had to bunker down in my flat, I’d last approximately 2 days before having to resort to eating the cat.

  4. toilet paper, deoderant, writing supplies and CDs are the only thinsg I’m well stocked.

    after that, I’m more like pisspot. I need to read more or the Abby Survival Guide

  5. I have some hoarding in my genes. My Dad currently has about 50 jars of Ragu in his studio apartment (the store runs the same sale every few weeks and he can’t pass up a sale). I’m half a hoarder–I have a sentimental attachment to most things that I already own. But since I know how difficult it is for me to get rid of stuff, I’m pretty stingy about acquiring new stuff. It would make me uncomfortable to have a backup appliance–I’d feel like I turned a corner closer to hoarding.

    I’m working on clearing out stuff right now, at work and at home, and it actually feels pretty good.

    • I definitely keep things minimal and would never do a Costco run or anything, but I know I can’t be without my veggie steamer and my Hot Shot/tea. Well, I could be, but it wouldn’t be pleasant.

    • halfempty4now

      My dad is does the same thing as yours! He does the grocery shopping at my parents’ house and loves deals. So it’s not uncommon for them to have 20 jars of peanut butter in the basement. It’s like a ready-made bomb shelter!

  6. I hate running out of breakfast cereal; always have to have extra around!

  7. I am the SAME EXACT WAY. Now that I live alone, I fear my hoarding may get out of control because I don’t need to worry about a roommate pilfering my TP or whatever. And I was away for the weekend so I don’t have a bunch of posts ready and that is VERY stressful for me. So, instead of working, I’m reading your blog. Whoopsies.

  8. I, too, have my stash of back-up. Not only do I have spare shampoo waiting in the wings to swoop into the shower (as soon as I’ve swished water around in the old bottle and gotten every last shampoo molecule out), but I do it with clothes, too. If I find a pair of pants or shoes I really like, I’ll get multiples, in every color available, because lordy knows I’ll spill something on them or blow the knee out or something, and I might never be able to find the same ones again. I only wish I could do that with blog posts, but I never seem to get ahead there.

    • Please don’t misunderstand. I said I would LIKE to have a back-up post always ready, but alas, that’s rarely the case. I pretty much just hope I get hit in the head with a bird or something and have something else to blog about.

      But with that said, I do have another post ready 😉

  9. That’s awesome that you always have a backup post! I wish I could do that. But after I write something, I want instant gratification while the post is still fresh in my mind.

  10. About the only thing I always make sure I have a backup on is wine. You don’t want to be around me when the last sip of the last bottle is gone. 😉

  11. I love having “back-up” supplies too. I wish I could always have a back-up post waiting in the wings, though.

  12. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    Well I expected this post to be about how you have two of each animal living in your house now or something. I have never lost a chapstick (only because I’m stupid OCD like touching it every 5 seconds to make sure it’s still there) so apparently this makes me a genius. Thank you for validating this behavior. 🙂

  13. I’m the same way when it comes to things like toothpaste and shampoo… You’d think that tube or that bottle cost me a million dollars the way I hold onto it trying to squeeze every last bit of it out.

  14. I too thought I was a minimalist. Then I moved onto a boat. And needed to reduce, then after a year of living at a marina and deciding to head South to Mexico I needed to reduce even more…

    You know what the stupid part is? When I reduced I took OUT most of my summer clothes. Isn’t it odd that I would have my snowboard jacket but only 3 pairs of shorts to spend all this time in Mexico? It was cold when we left but… Really?

  15. Too funny! I would say you’re crazy but I have 5 crock pots. Yes, I’m admitting to having that many crock pots. It’s not because I’m afraid one is going to break but because I like all the different sizes. Plus, I’ve been having a big Christmas party each year where I make lamb chops ahead of time and want to keep them warm. Crock pots are fabulous for that. Hence, I got the latest one last Christmas so that I could accommodate the added invite list and lamb. Let’s keep it our little secret.

  16. I only do this with clothes. It is rare that I find something I really love and so I always stock up.

  17. I’m very minimalist. I don’t even own a toaster. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m not minimalist. I just don’t buy household stuff. I rely on family members to buy it for me for Christmas.

  18. I ALWAYS buy things I need well in advance of when I need them. it just makes me feel better to always have a back-up. I mean, what would I do if I realize my conditioner was out while actually in the shower??

    The horror!

  19. I do the same EXACT thing with the deodorant. And I’ll rush out, convinced that it’s about to end, but I’ll end up using it for at least 5 more days.

  20. I always run out of everything, especially liquor. That shit burns me up (especially on Saturday nights when the stores aren’t open on Sundays!). You would think that’d teach me. But, sadly, no. We run out of the normal day-to-day things like cereal and oatmeal and soap. Probably we’re viewed as the hungry funky family.

  21. Came over via Scary Mommy. Yea! Another childless person who actually made that choice. 🙂 For this post, I am similar in some ways but not others. For example, if my husband tells me he needs new deodorant I will question him, “Do you really need it now or 3 weeks from now.” 🙂 What do I have far too many of? Ramekins.

  22. I am the exact opposite. I hate clutter. I hate even knowing I have stuff not being currently used. I may have even thrown out doubles of things in the past. Okay, that’s a lie. I still do that.

    • Oh no, no, no. There is NO clutter. I am very, very minimal, which is why the extra couple things are in the pantry closet. When it comes to certain things, I will also admit that I might have tossed/given away certain things just to eliminate potential clutter…

  23. I could not live without my coffee pot or the awesomeness that is a fridge with filtered water/ice dispenser. I’ve seen the beauty of fancy fridges and now I’ll never go back.
    But really, you should clean Steve, he’s starting to smell.

  24. this must be an OCD thing. I relate about certain things. I am paranoid of running out of them. and I have a back up dog too. now all you need is the back up cat.

  25. I’ve actually completely used two tubes of chapstick in my life before losing them. It’s a difficult feat, but CAN be done!

    I also tend to use the SAME pen at work until it completely runs out of ink, but have several replacements ready in my drawer at all times; pens that I don’t let anyone else use. I have a cup of “public use” pens on my desk for when people ask for one.

    But having duplicate small appliances ready for when one breaks? Brilliant…I obviously need to do some shopping.

  26. kelleysbreakroom

    You are awesome. I NEVER, EVER have a post waiting in the wings. I never have anything published in advance. Why do I do that to myself? I am like you with the deodorant. I am going to make myself get stitches in the future if I don’t quit it. I could totally see some of those bachelors wanting someone with such funny habits!

    (Thanks for linking this up with us over at #findingthefunny last week!)

Talk to me

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s