If you should ever come to visit our house, please don’t be alarmed. We’re not doomsday planners or prepping for the zombie apocalypse, we’re just very pleased, and perhaps a bit overeager, new Costco members.
There was a time when I bemoaned the fact that we couldn’t find toilet paper in 4-packs – just the household economy 18 or 36-packs. “Where am I supposed to store all this toilet paper?! Who do these people think we are?! This is downtown – NOBODY has the space for this!” I would wail these exclamations to no one in particular while pacing the aisles of Safeway. That was a time when I lived in a 700 square-foot apartment with very limited closet space.
With very similar exasperation, when we first moved into our little row house, I wandered around, looking at our basement, attic and 1,400 square feet of living space, exclaiming, “what am I supposed to do with all this space?! Why does our furniture look so small?! What are with doing with BOTH a basement AND an attic?!”
As it turns out, the solution for both filling up a home and reconciling one’s self to the idea of buying a 48-pack of TP can be found in one simple act – becoming a Costco member.
At first, I thought this was a ridiculous concept. What on earth would two people do with the pallets of items that Costco sells? I held out. I put my foot down and presented my version of mathematical evidence (which is essentially making up numbers that sound reasonable) to explain how much we’d have to save on each purchase to justify the membership fee and how we, a simple family of two, would never ever make our money back. Finally, the hubs, sick of listening to my (obviously) sound logic, took matters into his own hands and snuck off to Costco where he signed us up for a family membership.
My maiden voyage to Costco was an otherworldly experience, full of awe. I naively thought they were a grocery store that just sold large quantities of food. Oh no! As anyone who has visited knows, it holds a cornucopia of delights. Of course there is food (and free samples!!!), but there are also sections for household furnishings, clothes, books, electronics…really, who knows what all is lurking there –I’ve yet to traverse the entirety of every seemingly endless, tunnel-like aisle. However, as the trip went on, I began to feel a sense of panic and nausea – it was all too much for my eyes to absorb – they swirled from sign to sign unable to focus on any specific item. Was it hot in here? Where was the exit?! Yes, I’d made the rookie mistake trying to see all the sights on my first trip. I got over it.
The change that overcame us and overtook our house was gradual. Ironically, it started with the very rolls of toilet paper and paper towels that I used to curse in Safeway. They are, perhaps, the gateway drug of buying in bulk. Then we moved onto non-perishable food items. It’s true, I rarely drink Diet Coke, but it’s not like it’s going to go bad, so we might as well buy a few cases and maybe a pallet of water bottles too – after all, you never know when you’ll lose power and need fresh drinking water. Gradually, we’ve moved on to other items. Why buy just a pint of blueberries when you can buy a quart – even in the middle of winter? It just makes good business sense. Eventually, the hubs even bought an additional fridge – between our membership and the Energy Star discount, they were practically paying us to take it.
Now I look at our basement with a real, but different, sense of concern. Where are we going to put all of our treasures – all of these things that we need? Yes, of course we needed the 150 pack of AA batteries – do you have any idea how much money we’re saving?! (Approximately $5.50 over the course of our lifetimes). So we refurbished some rickety shelves and put them back into service. Then we cleared out quite a bit of floor space and lined the walls with our crates of goodies. This hasn’t quite resolved all of my concerns. Sometimes, I’ll go down into the basement and find myself startled at its appearance. Are we hoarders? Will our friends from DC come to visit us one weekend and by the next we’ll find ourselves on a reality TV show? Nah….I’ve decided I just won’t show them the space – they wouldn’t understand.
What other people think is, of course, not all that important – the really source of my worry is far more grave – we’re out of shelf space and places on the floor that aren’t susceptible to flooding. I’ve given this some serious thought and decided that we’re left with two clear courses of action that must be pursued posthaste: first, buy another fridge (from Costco); second, find a bigger house. Hey, wait a minute, do the sell those at Costco too?