Almost two years ago, I finished a complete inventory of everything in my house, and I did an update 8 months later. That update was over a year ago, so I thought I would check in about the State of my Stuff.
I wanted to have an account of my possessions for insurance purposes, but really, I wanted to see everything in print in order to goad myself: knowing I had 66 unused picture frames and 88 candles (yes, really!) should have inspired me to action.
The usual path after such an exercise is to declutter, go minimal, and live a simple life forevermore. I knew that wouldn’t happen, but I thought I would start down that road.
Using the same categories as last time:
What has been repaired?
- The furnace again, even though it’s now only a backup for the heat pumps
- The lawn mower, but it will only just last the season and need to be replaced next May
- The kitchen faucet, that Rom is trying to keep going until we can do a little upgrade
- A door knob, which seized up and kept us out of our own house
- The deck, which Rom sands and repaints every year or two
- And my elliptical fitness machine, which was intolerably noisy and needed a service call
What did I bring back into service?
- The bird feeders, which had been stored for several years, are now all back in action
- Binoculars, for bird watching
- Looseleaf binders reused for recipes
- The turntable has been returned to a prominent position for playing old vinyl records at whim
What have I replaced?
- A new electric mixer (not a stand mixer) – motor conked out on old one
- A pair of heavy-duty work gloves for gardening and mowing the lawn
- 2 towels and 4 pillow cases to replace worn ones
What was bought used?
- Rom brought an old Power Mac computer home from work but it died after a couple of months
- I bought a set of coasters made of stone, and a pin (brooch) in the shape of a seahorse, from yard sales
- I have a list of music (albums) that are essential to my music collection. I am afraid that if streaming services ever lose the rights to carry these albums, I might never be able to listen to them again. So I have accumulated 17 more CDs. But all from my high-priority list, honest!
Now here are all the things that were brought into the house new:
- 8 placemats (set of 4 from each set of parents)
- Set of cute stacking egg cups
- Silicone spatulas
- Soap dish
- Oh She Glows cookbook (yes!)
- LEGO architecture Eiffel Tower
- ~ 20 LEGO mini-figures
- 2 packages of Moleskine notebooks
- 2 adult colouring books
- 2 wall calendars
- All-in-One computer (mine)
- Smart TV (shared)
- iPod Classic and iPod Nano (Rom)
- Handheld GPS (Rom)
- Fitbit (mine)
- 2 flash drives (mine)
- Task chair (office type)
- Garden cart (rugged plastic wheelbarrow)
- Garden tote
- Flower bulbs
- 2 hangers for bird feeders
- Enamelled cast iron deep-dish baking pan
- 6 tea towels (souvenirs from travel, now well-used)
- 2 dinner plates
- Bath mat
- Amber earrings
- 2 small toy robots (which I collect)
- 2 Christmas tree ornaments
- 9 books and 4 magazines
- Complete Beatles album collection on CD (13)
- 7 other new CDs
- 2 iTunes albums
- 1 app
- 5 movie DVDs
- 3 fitness DVDs
- Hand weights for workouts
- Large quantity of MTG cards (Rom)
Consumables Other than Grocery
- Watch battery
- Printer paper
- Printer ink
- Day planner (annual)
- File boxes
Depending on whether you count individual items or sets, that is well over 100 things since August 2014! No wonder our homes are all groaning under the weight of Stuff.
In upcoming posts, I will go over my clothes purchases in the same time frame, and talk about all the things I have decluttered/donated or otherwise not kept. We’ll see if it evens out!
Each year, do you think you have a net gain or net loss in the number of possessions in your home?
Only someone as exacting as you would have kept count of all the new things arriving! I do it with categories (like four more pieces of clothing this weekend, but at least three were donated!) but not holistically. I’m sure it’s a net gain, as I get more comfortable with my salary and disposable income. I don’t have things to ‘save’ for as much lately, so I’m more likely to buy something ‘just because’.
I didn’t keep track of new stuff as it came in – I just went back and checked my financial records to see what I bought – and then looked around and tried to remember gifts. I wish I had tracked stuff as it came in, because I might have been more conscious of how much it is!
We are aiming for a net loss.
We started thinking about that after our move, five years ago. Our new home is much larger, but with less storage space. We have done pretty good in pruning out stuff. I always picture Thoreau, talking about traveling through life like a snail with a giant load on its back.
At this point, we really need to get rid of a few valuable items in the most profitable way possible. I have a very nice violin that should go to someone who would play it every day. We have a five hundred pound wrought iron arch that was removed from this house, that would be worth something to someone. It just takes a time commitment to dispose of these items profitably.
Best of luck with getting a good return on those key items. You will also want to know they have appropriate new homes! I hope I will have a net loss this year, too!
I’m jealous of the Lego Eiffel Tower! (have been eyeing that off for a year and trying to resist buying it!)
I think that’s really quite a pared-down list of items coming into the house. It’s just mind-boggling how much Stuff comes through the door with gifts, replacing things that break or wear out, or buying things you’re interested in or collect or just pick as part of daily life. One of my ‘Stuff’ problems is making sure we get rid of the Old promptly once the New comes into the house – there’s always an old broken DVD Player or Laptop stashed under a bed somewhere.
I think we still do have a net loss each year. Things build up but then I go on massive purges and clear out entire rooms, cupboards, garages etc.
I think I have a net loss too, but need to provide the evidence 🙂 The “things I am interested in or collect” is a problem – it is so easy to get carried away with books and CDs and robots, LOL! I am not brilliant at getting things out of the house quickly, but they eventually go.
I think you could teach a course and get paid for it in better organization. Or, maybe as a hired consultant.
It is a good thing you can’t see my house. I have heaps of stuff I should be decluttering. I talk the talk but I need to push myself to do more!
I would really, really love to see a photo of you toy robots (hint, hint!)
Hi Kris, you can see them here:
I have added a few since then!
Nice collection! Thanks for the link. 🙂
I think we’re slowly making a net loss. We’re getting better at figuring out what our habits are and what we actually need. I’m guessing it will level off pretty soon unless we have another kid.
Yeah, with each life change and especially when moving house, you reassess what you have and what you need for your new circumstances. I haven’t had really long stretches of same-ness!
Oh Dar, your posts always make me think. I do wish I could be methodical in the way you are – I can look in the wardrobe and other cupboards, see the new clothes and dishes (brand new plus ‘pre loved’) but never remember what I cleared out (donated or tossed) during the year.
This year I ‘think’ we are about even but next year I’m going to be more like you – keeping my eyes open to any changes!
Thanks again for a thoughtful post
Thanks, Cathy. As I mentioned in reply to another comment, I wish I had tracked what was coming in from month to month, instead of after a year, because I could have been more mindful.
You are an amazing inspiration! If I ever get even an inch of change in your direction, I will… oh, be so happy.
(88 candles? WOW – …)
Thanks. I always like your decluttering posts! I really had a ridiculous amount of stuff and I have a long way to go, but at least my consciousness has been raised!
How very organised and proactive! It must feel great to list out exactly what you’ve got and what you’ve given a fresh lease of life. I ought to do something similar but I worry the list would take a year to write!
I am trying to remember – my full home inventory took 8 months, I think!
Wow you are so exacting! Our military logistics units could learn a thing or two from you–they misplace things like tanks and airplanes all the time! I definitely should keep better track of our stuff that goes in and out of the house. Now that we are settled again I’m afraid lots more stuff is coming in than is going out and that isn’t good.
Well, when you consider how easy it is to lose a car in a parking lot, we shouldn’t be surprised at a few pieces of equipment going missing😀 I mainly save shopping for vacations, so at least I am limited by luggage space!
I really like that you do this! I moved to a new home almost a year ago, and it was amazing to me just how much STUFF there was, taking up space, unused, in closets and cupboards. I unburdened myself of much, but as is the case whenever one enters a new space, I have acquired more. I like the idea of doing an inventory. Coming up on my first anniversary in my new place, I think I may do exactly that. 🙂
I was “a bit” obsessive about it, but it was a true eye-opener, and I have no regrets whatsoever.
Amazing! Your precision, that is.
I thought about doing an inventory but knew I would be aghast at the results. So I am starting with using up cosmetics and wearing out clothes and throwing out boxes. Then, after I have done my taxes, I will do an inventory of certain items, like major electrical and a fun one (my IKEA stuff).
I like your current, ongoing projects. Let me know when those taxes are done and I will celebrate with you 🙂