A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Taming the Cereal Situation

I can’t stand making breakfast. There…I said it. I don’t mind making a nice breakfast on a weekend day, but during the week the kids are on their own. In addition to bagels and yogurt, cereal seems to be a popular choice. In a house of 10, we go through a lot of food and we shop at those warehouse clubs on a regular basis.

As you can see, the cereal situation has gotten out of control. I thought we were making progress with getting some Rubbermaid containers to store everything in. However, we’re running into a couple problems. First, the containers aren’t all the same (which totally bugs me not just because they don’t match but because they don’t fit well together). But the main problem is we simply have too many choices.

I made a joke to my dad the other day that maybe we need to minimalize (yes, made up word) the cereal situation. To which he replied, “Well the kids aren’t the ones buying it all.” Ouch! That means I can’t blame anybody else for that mess. He’s totally right though. If I wasn’t giving into requests for another flavor of cereal or getting sucked in by sales or wanting to try something new before we’ve used up what we already have, then the cereal situation wouldn’t be as bad as it is now.

What I Learned: Giving too many choices doesn’t really help anyone.

So, I’m narrowing down the choices of cereal to four at a time. That’s all that will comfortably fit on that shelf and that should be plenty of choices for even the pickiest crowd. A new selection isn’t allowed to move in until the previous cereal is finished. And those extra plastic containers are going bye-bye!

Coming on Friday: Organized Excess is the Cousin of Clutter


If this post helped you, consider opting to receive free updates via RSS or EMAIL. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Article originally published on 10/06/2010

Share the love
Get free updates


  1. My kiddies are all grown and gone, but we used the plastic containers because I would mix a healthy cereal with a less healthy cereal (ie. cheerios and apple cin cheerios) The containers I had were more rectangular and would fit better on the shelf together. Just in case you wanted to keep using them, that is a thought.
    On the other hand, limits are good too!

  2. Karen (Scotland) says

    Aargh – I have four different shaped containers and it drives me insane too. But the frugal tight-wad in me won’t let me buy more until these ones die a death…

    Yep, I implemented the same rule recently. One box for kids, one for the Dad (who has been eating the same cereal since I introduced him to it when he moved to Scotland – zzzzzz…) and one for me when I take a notion for cereal (I don’t like to crunch in the morning so I prefer smoothie or porridge). Kids can’t open a new flavour until the current one is finished – if they truly hate it, they can have some of my porridge (always good to eat more oats anyway). Although sometimes I relent and do what Bernice says above – mix the old less-favoured flavour in with the newer flavour.

    Oh, and btw, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios?!? We are SO deprived in Scotland! They sound delish. 🙂

    • Faith Janes says

      Hey Karen, there’s even CHOCOLATE Cheerios now! 🙂 I haven’t had the nerve to bring any home though.

  3. Hi Faith I just found your blog and love it. I am a stay at home mom of 2 and another on the way. I am hoping to learn a few things to keep my sanity. Years ago I bought square clear containers at Fred Meyers with screw on lids they are big enough to hold one Costco size bag of cereal and they keep for months in them. Not that the cereal would last that long in your house. I also keep my flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar in them. I looked like a crazy woman when I bought them because I bought 14 of them. But they have kept my pantry organized for years. I also bought smaller containers for my rice, beans that stack nicely. Good luck with the cereal.

    • Faith Janes says

      Thanks for reading, Rita. I’m glad you found me. Those containers sound great for organizing. I love containers that stack nicely and I can’t stand wasted space. I need to keep my eye out for some better storage options because storage space is a premium around here now.

  4. Four choices. Dude. We had two – leftover porridge that we’d re-heat (that my dad made before he left for work at 6am) or cheerios. And I grew up just fine. Except for that funny tic my neck muscle does. ha.

Speak Your Mind