On April 7, after posting an update on my home inventory, I joked I would “see you in a month” because it was taking so long. Here it is, two months later, and I am still only halfway along!
Here’s what’s going on.
I started with the biggest items – furniture, large appliances and electronics. I went through my receipts and warranties folder, and added the original cost of those items. I had already counted my clothes and books as separate projects. Next I did kitchen wares, emptying out and cleaning the cupboards as I worked. From that point on, everything else I own is packed away on shelves, in closets, in boxes and bins. It has been taking me forever to unpack each box, to list and photograph the contents, decide what to keep, and repack the rest. It begs the question – if I have so much stuff packed away in boxes and bins, why do I even need it?
I realized one reason I keep some things is because my idea of their value is inflated. I don’t think I’ll be able to sell a crate of old Beanie babies and make a fortune! But I have two boxes of picture frames that I’m not using. “Back in the day,” they may have cost me $10-20 each. They have declined in value, because now, I could buy similar frames at the dollar store. I parted with all of the frames that were not reparable. Now I am down to 65 – I kid you not!
I have a modest jewellery box, and have only about 5 items worth more than $20. It’s not that I want to collect cheap junk. It’s just that whenever I think of buying quality jewellery, I would rather spend my money on something else. If I “need” a pair of earring with orange stones in them, a $5 pair will do the job. As a result, I have 163 pieces of costume jewellery with no real value, and I am fine with that.
Another issue I’ve come across is changing tastes. I have a box of what I call “ornaments.” They are mostly decorative ceramic objects that sit on a shelf. I say that laughingly because ornaments are so out of fashion. I do see Willow Tree ornaments for sale in the stores, or maybe commemorative ornaments you would give to a new baby. I tried to remember why ornaments used to be so popular. I think it’s because women never spent money on themselves. If they had a little collection of crystal bells, and received one for their birthday every year, those might be the only personal items they owned. Or they would buy a souvenir spoon each year on vacation, and not binge-shop like people do now. It was also believed that these would be heirlooms. I can see why ornaments are obsolete now, because everyone buys replaceable decorations whenever they like, and they are very cheap, unlike a Pretty Lady from Royal Doulton!
A dear friend of mine bought me an ornament from a series called Mary’s Moo Moos every year for 12 years. I take them out and display them for about a month each year. While they are not exactly in keeping with my home decor, I couldn’t care less!
I have a shed that’s used to store the lawn mower, ladders, and some gardening gear. Back when I started the inventory, it was too dark and too cold in the evenings to inventory it, but now my excuse is gone!
Another reason I slowed down is because this project is such a big undertaking that it was seriously interfering with my personal life. On several occasions I came home from work on Friday at 6 and spent every waking hour on it until Saturday at midnight. Since I have no actual deadline, I decided I would like to have a life while this is in progress, too!
Here are the areas I have completed so far:
- Appliances – large and small
- Books and magazines
- Cleaning and Laundry
- Electronics – includes AV, computer-related, musician gear and photography (I think this category took 2 full weekends because I recorded brand names and serial numbers)
- Bake ware, cook ware and serving ware
- Music on CD and vinyl
- Wood toys
- Robot toys
- Candle holders and candles
- Candy tins
Collections yet to do:
- Trinket boxes
- Crystals and stones (Rom’s)
- Holiday decor
- Games and puzzles
Areas not started yet:
- Camping, outdoor, fitness, sports (small category)
- Hardware – tools, equipment, gardening
- Craft and art supplies
- Bedding, linens, curtains, rugs
- Luggage (not much)
- Pet supplies (not much)
- Dishes and kitchen gadgets
- Documents and household records (list of folder names)
Finally, I have been paring down a reasonable amount and delivered all of this to a yard sale, plus more later:
I am enjoying this process but I often feel overwhelmed and I wonder if I really want to keep all this stuff forever. One thing that may help me make up my mind is that when I’m done, I’ll be able to see how large my pile of boxes and bins is, and how much space they’ll take to store. How much room to I want to devote to things I am not using? What could I be doing with that space instead?
Meanwhile, I am counting and counting and counting!
Postscript: The home inventory was eventually completed and the results are here.