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AARP Bulletin

With 50 in the Rearview Mirror

25 Things We Don't Need Now That We're Over 50

A humorous look at the joys of downsizing

Jacquelyn Mitchard's humor piece about things to give up after fifty, including bulk shopping for paper towels.

Once you hit 50, there's no need to get that family size pack of paper towels. — Getty Images

En español | In your secret soul, do you harbor a belief that bigger is more? That more is better? Does something deep down cry out for family size, even though the nest is as empty as a candidate's eyes?

Take yourself by the hand, and turn away from the habits of a lifetime, in favor of a new life.

Take the shackles from your wallet and the shades from your eyes and repeat with joy: I'm not paying for economy size anymore! It's not economical to buy a bag of chocolate chips that can make enough cookies to stock all the airline lounges in the Western Hemisphere until 2014. It's not economical to have more trash barrels than the doggy day care.

Let someone else do it. Let someone else clean it. Let someone else make the payments.

Let it go. Here's to no more … more. Give it up:

1. The three-dozen-egg carton, the 2,000-pack of Sweet'N Low and the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar-size ketchup.

2. Super-sized fries (no one in the minivan to take the last handful, or take the edge off the guilt).

3. The minivan. How about a snazzy car, a smart car, even a wiseguy car?

4. A brand-new model four-over-four house — even on the golf course. Even if your kids live next door. Especially if your kids live next door.

5. A one-horse open sleigh. Yes, you've been meaning to get the horse but …

6. A Costco membership. You'll never need that many paper towels, unless you run a car wash. You'll never need that much toilet paper unless you run … out.

7. The gym ultra-membership. How about the dog, the shoes, the SPF 50 and the open road?

8. Those seven, nine or 20 unfinished quilts and birdhouses.

9. All those teaspoons, fruit spoons, salt spoons, cheese knives, crab picks and lobster crackers liberated from the restaurant along with the extra lemon, the fistful of sugar bags, the basket of rolls.

Next page: What about cheese, alcohol and cats? 15 more things. »

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