Keep An “Extra” On Hand

antique car with a spare tire. Keep an "extra" on hand.
Image by analogicus from Pixabay

I once had a friend who said her life was either rolling smoothly or in nuclear meltdown. More often than not, the meltdown isn’t from a lack of planning, it is when something unexpected happens that throws us off schedule.  For example, we encounter traffic on a typically easy drive, or the baby throws up on our shirt as we are heading out the door.

Sometimes, we find ourselves scrambling when an item we use regularly breaks or goes missing and waste time trying to find a replacement solution. To minimize the chances of being sabotaged by such an irksome development, here are a few items that I’ve decided it is just worth keeping a spare of:

Always keep an extra…
  • Roll of toilet paper (as the recent pandemic taught us)
  • House Key (preferably hidden outside) and car key
  • Hair dryer/styling tool (since these often break after the shower, and before and an important event)
  • Thumb drive (for when the printer breaks and/or the internet is down and you need to transport a document)
  • Sympathy card and hostess gift (it just saves time to one on hand)
  • Batteries (esp. “D” batteries for flashlights and hearing aid batteries)
  • Fuel for your generator (esp. if yours runs on gasoline, since it can be difficult to get to a gas station in situations when generators are needed)
  • Bandaids
  • Contact Lenses/glasses (have these “on you” at all times)
  • Bottled water (always have a few jugs in the house)
  • Poster board (since kids never tell you they need this until the night before)
  • Extra roll of tape (especially around the holidays)
  • Cell phone charger (if you can, keep one in the car since batteries often die when you are out and about)
  • Extra coffee carafe (the glass ones break easily when bumped at the wrong angle… and who wants to start the day without coffee?)
  • Umbrella (they always seem to break on rainy days)
  • Jumper cables (keep them in the car)
  • Quarters (these still come in handy for parking meters and the tooth fairy)
  • Inhalers/epipens
  • Hairbands (for those with long hair, keep a few in your purse)
  • Pen or pencil (have an extra in your car and bag)
  • Printer ink cartridges  (always have a spare “black” ready to go)
  • Diapers (if you are in this stage of life)
  • Loaf of bread and a pizza in the freezer, can of soup on the shelf (you can make a meal out of these in a pinch)

You may have a list that relates to your particular profession or situation, so keeping a checklist of “never run out these” is a good idea.

What items do you make sure to keep a duplicate or spare of?

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18 thoughts on “Keep An “Extra” On Hand”

  1. Very timely because we may have a big snowstorm this weekend and I find that a lot of these items are relevant with being sustainable during bad weather.
    I always keep a spare camera, which I need in my career. What if I only had one and it was broken or not charged? Yikes!
    Another thing is a spare (or three) of my son’s favorite lovey!

  2. This is such a seriously GREAT list I can hardly stand it. If your hairdryer is going to break, it’s DEFINITELY after your shower but before you’ve done your hair. ALWAYS. I have a few of these down, but not the others. Now that I see this entire list, I am going to do each of them. I’m pinning this immediately, too!! Great list. Maybe I’ll get my act together for 2014!! -Lisa

    1. I only know the hair dryer from personal experience, Lisa — my hair without a blow dry is not a pretty sight!! Thank for your sweet comment – love hearing from everyone:)

    1. We always seemed to run out the night before an important project/paper was due. Last time I said “that’s it… I’m stocking up and we’re not doing this again!”… glad to know we aren’t the only ones, Michelle!

  3. I’m not nearly this organized, but your point reminds me of the whole “underbuyer” thing that Gretchen Rubin talks about in The Happiness Project. I am an underbuyer and for some things it makes absolutely no sense. I use contact solution every single day, why wouldn’t I buy it in the two-pack? I’ve started doing this with a few things (soap, deodorant, contact solution, toothpaste) and it’s been so nice to just have those things at the ready istead of having to scrape the bottom of the barrel for a few days until I can get to the drugstore.

  4. I wish I could remember to keep an extra car key in my purse, aside from the one on my key chain! ! I often have to warm up my car in the mornings in the winter. So when it is time for me to actually leave the house, I have to go to my car, and take the key out of the ignition, in order to use my house key to lock up! I am sure there is a smoother way to do this.

    1. I have locked myself out doing the very same thing! Too funny… I think keeping the car key separate from the house key has helped me… and having some spares on hand in different places!

  5. This list makes me laugh because it is definitely things on here that I always say I need but I never seem to keep extra on hand! Like a pen! I actually usually have an extra hair tie in my bags. I would definitely be devastated if something happened to my hair tool before a big event! I need to really think about this list. LOL.

  6. I love the hearing aid batteries tip! I am hearing impaired, and my mother is an audiologist, so I always have boxes of batteries in the house. Unfortunately, I always get caught without one when I’m out so I started keeping a box in my car.
    My stepmother always used to say to me, when I was younger, “make sure you always have batteries and a tampon in your purse!” Sound advice that I follow to this day!

    1. That is some pretty great advice from your stepmother, Nancy… every woman should follow it:) I love having a box in the car to keep key items like batteries– great tip!!

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