Once upon a time I tried extreme couponing.

I took a class, got the binder, got the t-shirt, did the thing. OK, I didn’t really get a t-shirt, but by the way my buggy was stacked with 64 rolls of paper towels I didn’t need the t-shirt to see me coming.

After about 6 months I fizzled out because I learned a few things about myself.

1. I don’t like to be that organized.

2. I don’t like to have a bunch of extra stuff I won’t use.

3. I can have too many cartons of Progresso Broth and Nutrigrain Bars.

4. I hide stuff from myself, probably because of the not-liking-to-be-organized thing.

Couponing works, it just didn’t work for us but I still shop on BOFO.

If I don’t stay on top of my stuff and have some sort of organization to it (which is easier to do when you have less of it), I’m going to be shopping BOFO – Buy One, Forget One. I thought I was the only one, but apparently it’s a thing. We commiserate about it in our declutter small group.

BOFO usually happens with groceries and it’s when you buy something that makes its way to the back of a deep cabinet lost in the depths of forever, and you either reason that you ate it or doubt you ever bought it to begin with. When you clean out your space, you find multiples of the same thing and question your sanity. I usually BOFO with frozens because my freezer is just a throw-and-stack type situation. Chicken fingers and broccoli are my favorite BOFOs, but the worst time I ever shopped BOFO was with a Tomestone Pepperoni Pizza. I’ll never forget it.

Summer of 2018 in the Southeast US: I don’t know how many kids I had in tow on this particular grocery haul, but enough to overlook a whole frozen pizza in the trunk of my car for eleven days. Yes, eleven days. Better a pizza than a kid, but that’s it. Nothing else could have been worse than this pizza sitting in the humid, summer heat in the trunk of my car for almost 2 weeks. I knew I’d bought this pizza because every week I buy a pizza for my husband’s Saturday lunch. Every week. But somehow I told myself we just forgot it and decided to be OK with that.

And then it happened… Well slowly. And then it happened slowly…

For about the first week I guess the preservative were holding true but somewhere around day 7, there came a stench in the car. Of course I blamed the kids. Who had stinky feet or rolled around with the dog? They both claimed innocent. We cleaned out the car and went about our day.

Days 8 and 9 – I started to wonder if I’d hit a skunk, or a squirrel that had a fight with a skunk, whose poor lifeless body got wedged up in the wheel of my car. The stench was following me and it was getting stronger. I checked my wheels. Checked my engine. I double checked under my front seats and probably blamed the kids again.

Day 10 – I hated my car. Maybe it was in the air. Maybe it was me. I started to wonder if I was being pranked. I drove with the windows down to air it out. A 101 degree breeze was more pleasant that a stagnant 72. The smell made me gag at this point and I was so confused until Day 11.

Day 11 – I just happened to open the trunk of my car. Sure I’d open my trunk over the course of 11 days. After all, another Saturday had passed. Another pizza had been bought. I don’t know how I missed it but there he was. Face forward, fermenting in a pool of his own thawed out grease. Limp, flimsy, still in the plastic wrap, still in the grocery bag. He was camouflaged in the perfect spot. The tan bag blended into the upholstery of the trunk. At some point the cheese must have grown legs and shimmied its way out of the corner. I threw up in my mouth a little and felt faint. My stomach turns just typing this.

Is it ironic that his name was Tombstone? I don’t think so. He truly suffered a grueling death. Nearly took me out with him. If it had been my pizza, I would have never eaten another one again but it was my husband’s and he still eats them. He didn’t suffer like I did so I guess it’s ok. The kids owed me a big, fat “I told you so!” and I should have apologized for all of the extra baths they had to take.

I don’t know what the moral of the story it. Frozen pizzas will not cook in a hot trunk. Preservatives don’t last forever. There’s not much good that came from any of it. I still BOFO and I know that clutter makes it worse. I guess that’s the lesson in it – Have Less Stuff and Never Accept that You Lost a Pizza.

Do you shop the BOFOs? I’d love to hear.

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