Minimalist debate: what to do with a roll of parcel tape?

Last week we opened the last few boxes that had been lurking in the house. Cue, lots of items items heading to the charity shop and lots of pieces up for sale on the dreaded eBay (listing stuff for sale is one of my least favourite things to do). 
A few of the pieces sold and I went out to buy some paper and parcel tape in order to wrap and send the items to their new owners. 

I’ve sent the parcels but I still have some brown tape and paper left. What should I do with it?

On the one hand, it’s useful, but on the other, it’s only useful if I sell more stuff and need to send it. This puts me In a minimalism dilemma. 

If I have no intention of using it, should I throw it out?

I know there are people that say if you can access an item for under $20 (or around Β£15 for me) and you can get your hands on it within 20 minutes then you don’t need to keep hold of it. 

But I can’t help but think this is a colossal waste. Maybe it’s the anti-minimalist streak in me (the one who insisted in going into every charity shop on the high street every time I visited a new place) or maybe I’m right, it is wasteful to throw away perfectly good items. 

As part of our minimalism is focused on our finances it also seems like a huge waste of money to replace items when you’ve put a similar item in the bin. 

Any thought on what you think I should do would be very welcome. 


16 thoughts on “Minimalist debate: what to do with a roll of parcel tape?

  1. Hi, even though I’m a minimalist, I would Keep them. Brown paper can be used for other purposes such as emergency gift wrap and tape is obviously useful also. I think If you have sufficient space, storing some useful items as a convenience is acceptable. If you were hoarding 5 or more just in case that would probably be a different matter! I really enjoy your blog and your fresh take on minimalism. Teresa

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello Teresa, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I think you’re right. The old me would have had rolls of tape (just in case) so at least I only have one now. Hopefully I can sell some more ebay items and use up the whole roll! M


  2. I would never throw away something useful like tape, even it I could replace it inexpensively the next time I needed it. That is wasteful and bad for the environment. If you really don’t want to store it (although one roll isn’t bad), then donate it to a school or charity.

    I also sell on eBay. In the States, the post office provides the shipping supplies if you use their flat rate postage service. Does the postal service in the UK offer anything similar? The postage is a little bit more, but you save money by not buying shipping supplies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wouldn’t throw it out. It’s smashed the week after you throw something like that out that you need it, and packing tape isn’t cheap. I second Teresa. Store one and don’t buy more until you need it, that’s not hoarding, that’s being sensible. I also like Amy’s idea of donating to a school if you did decide to get rid of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My immediate thought was I need some! I’ve run out and am yet to replace it however I figure I have 1.5 rolls of sellotape which will do the job until I’m sending parcels of books again. If it is stored with other stationery, maybe it won’t feel like clutter, just something practical. Donating to somewhere that could use it or on freecycle.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I definitely wouldn’t throw it away. I’d use the brown paper for wrapping presents if I didn’t need to send any parcels.
    The parcel tape I would also keep, but if you feel you really don’t need it around, I second giving it to a school or charity or even offering it on Freecycle/Freegle..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very good point, well made. I too struggle with this issue, because of environmental reasons, financial reasons and just plain not liking the idea of waste. I used to keep a bag of stuff that I didn’t want, but didn’t want to waste, and wait until it found a home. Someone would say “Do you have any brown tape?” and I could say “Sure thing. Let me give you this roll”. The bag was never empty. I liked doing that because it’s gift economy style behaviour.

    Currently living in a very rural area has made the brown-tape-effect much more pronounced. It’s not very easy to get rid of things without putting them in the bin. It’s also not possible to buy certain things. I have been saved many times so far by my pared down sewing kit, scraps of coloured card, tape, elastic bands, sugru, string, toolkit etc..

    Your minimalism and your current buying ban may conflict. When the priority is owning less, the more re-buying that encourages. Conversely, people who’s priority is low or no spending create the equivalent of a “room of requirement”. They have little collections of scrap wood, raid skips for materials, save food packaging and rags, to ensure having the right stuff to hand to make something instead of buying it. It’s also good to have a few spare things on hand to barter with. I’ll be really interested to read how you navigate this in the coming months. Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kimwei, just catching up on comments so apologies for the late replies. Agree with you that I hate waste and it’s helpful to have little bits and bobs around to help you day to day. My mum used to keep all manner of things because of low income – she never knew when it would come in handy and couldn’t afford to buy new – and I carried that on. Try not to have loads of duplicates of stuff now but still have a roll of tape/ paper clips etc. m


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