Home Inventory Update, Part 2

Can I get the ins and outs to balance? Photo: smartfulcoaching.com

Can I get the ins and outs to balance? Photo: smartfulcoaching.com

I have just finished a complete revision of my home inventory (first done 2 years ago). I re-counted a lot of categories because I’d lost track of things coming and going!

The conclusion is: it’s a tie! Well, almost. If Rom hadn’t downloaded 214 e-books in the past two years, our items in and items out would have cancelled each other out. Since the majority of Rom’s e-books were free (he reads philosophy books in the public domain) and they don’t use physical storage space, I am going to call this a win.

As planned, I will focus on the things I’ve decluttered in the past two years:

Kitchen

  • Electric grill – I was going to give this to Link, by request, but the plastic on it had actually started disintegrating! – tossed
  • Electric air popcorn maker – I make oil-popped popcorn on the stove now and don’t anticipate going back – donated
  • Slow cooker – 2-litre one replaced with a 5-litre one. If it’s on all day, why not make lots! – donated
  • 7 cake, loaf and muffin pans – rarely used, and still have plenty for the little baking I do – donated
  • Glass cutting board – prefer the wood one (and don’t prepare meat any more) – donated
  • Mandoline – tried out an inexpensive one but didn’t see the benefit – donated
  • Café au lait mug (cracked) – tossed
  • Fabric lunch bag (chewed by cat) – tossed
  • Cheese grater (rusted) – an old one that had been used in the laundry room for grating soap – tossed
  • Abeego wraps (5) – reusable food wraps made of treated fabric. Stained easily and could only be washed a limited # of times – tossed

Home Décor

You may remember I had oodles of unused picture frames, candles and candle holders stored away. I have made some progress.

  • 10 candle holders and about 30 candles – unused candles donated. I have about 12 candle holders and about 50 candles left. Be kind and don’t judge me too harshly…
  • 36 picture frames – donated. I have 17 in use, and 15 more in storage…see above!
  • 5 ornaments – donated. These were shelf ornaments, not seasonal.  Sentimental knick-knacks have fallen out of favour. I think for most people they’ve been replaced by collectible toys like Frozen dolls, Minion cushions, etc.!
  • 3 holiday decorations – brought to Link to celebrate a holiday, and stayed there (must do more of this!)
  • 1 collectible tin – I am debating not keeping the whole collection
  • Wicker shelf – donated

Other

  • Travel alarm clock (broken – dropped a few times) – tossed
  • Cable box (cut cable TV service, returned box)
  • Roller skates & gear – Link’s stuff, sent to them by request
  • Computer chair – replaced
  • 2 kitchen chairs – kept the old table to use for folding laundry but didn’t need the chairs
  • Games and building toys (5) – no, not the LEGO!
  • Lawn ornament (broken) – tossed
  • Pruners (had 2, 1 broken) – tossed
  • Books (55) – I moved out 55 books and added 21 over two years for a net loss of 34
  • Books (12) – Rom actually agreed to discard some non-essential microbiology books (from his first career) and some Windows XP guides 🙂

I had a few categories with a lot of turnover. For example, I have a big stash of gift bags. In my immediate family, we re-gift them to each other over and over with no compunctions. I used 8 but brought 10 back in! I also sorted through my earrings, repaired some, and got rid of unfixable ones or stragglers. But I bought more, so I ended up with 4 more pairs over all. The number of things in the kitchen is way up because I bought 12 plates and received 8 placemats as gifts!

My to-do list includes doing serious work on decluttering more toys, games, collectibles, and (ahem) VHS tapes…

I was not up for re-counting Rom’s clothes and magazines (yet) but otherwise my whole home inventory spreadsheet has been updated.

Happily, my wardrobe has been reduced by about 50 items. I have no regrets. I’ll post about that in the coming weeks.

Have you been able to get any surplus stuff out of your place lately?

PS Did anyone read the Guardian article last week that was “against” decluttering? Obviously, I disagree!

26 comments

  1. I’m decluttering as I’m moving into a house. Madness!

  2. NicolaB

    I disagree with the Guardian article too…the point isn’t to keep buying more stuff to replace what you give away!

  3. Impressive – don’t aim for perfection but progress! I have this illusion I have no knick knacks, but I should let the BF take the camera to prove me wrong (‘to the internet’ as he says). I have more recently, in the past three years, let myself buy beautiful things more for their beauty than a need or function, though I have worked to make the 8 extra decorative bowls have some utility!!

    I should review my kitchen drawers – I think I stashed some ‘surplus to requirements’ items in a bottom drawer and they’ve remained that way. No need to keep them!

    • Yeah, I don’t think I agree with the Kondo method of just decluttering once. My lifestyle changes every few years and I have different ideas about how I want to live going forward! As long as each change doesn’t bring new “stuff,” I will be OK. I’ve noticed that the new things I buy are fewer in number but higher priced.

  4. Decluttering is a needed art, one I could use more and more. I think we resolve ourselves to being neat as a more achievable objective.

  5. Serial declutterer here. I only need to look round an area of my home, get irritated by the clutter and next thing you know, bags of stuff are headed up to Goodwill. If there’s a dominant aging fear that I have in my life, it’s having an old, dusty home full of stuff because I didn’t declutter when I was younger

    • Hi Yetunde! Good to hear from you. That’s a good fear to have if it keeps you motivated. Not very many people run a lean household, but I agree with the ones who say it helps your mind feel less cluttered, too.

  6. Fiona

    I am so very impressed with the list-keeping! That is something I would like to add to my decluttering regime.

    It’s interesting how many things on your list had worn out / broken. I try to keep in mind what will end up in landfill when I buy things – I think it would be scary to keep a tally over a decade or more. More weight to the argument that corporations that make things should also be in some way accountable for their end-of-life disposal.

    The Guardian article was interesting. I thought it tied decluttering to the idea of a cycle of ongoing consumerism, which is really the antithesis of simplicity. I thought it had one elegant line, though: ‘the ascent of meaning and memory over clean lines and good taste.’ I could see that point though I thought it was muddied in the article.

    • True about the replacements. I am dreading having to shell out for a new lawn mower next April. It is about 7 years old and I wish I had bought better quality back then. Fortunately my brother is able to use it for parts!

      I did relate to that line in the Guardian article. She seemed to be saying that some people are so enthused by decluttering, that they create very sterile environments with no memories and traditions. Speaking of which, did you see the article linked from Claire’s post at Just a Little Less: http://justa-littleless.blogspot.ca/2015/11/happy-friday-links_13.html It is the first one, Anti-McMansion.

      • Fiona

        I hadn’t seen that article – but oh, I love it! I will have to bookmark it. That is my ideal home / lifestyle. Perhaps with permanent beds though, not futons!

  7. I do best with my kitchen, and worst with books, cd’s, and old magazines. I’ve just keep bringing new/used books home…

  8. EcoCatLady

    Holy Moly! These posts just always amaze me. I seriously can’t even begin to imagine counting everything I own!

    BUT… I did make a bit of progress in terms of getting rid of a few things. When I bought the house 20 years ago, there were 2 wooden step ladders in the garage (well – along with a lot of other stuff.) The ladders seemed like a great gift, but oy! They were heavy and old and rickety… so I bought 2 nice light weight aluminum replacements eons ago (one 6 foot step ladder, and one 18 foot extension ladder.) Thing is, I never got around to getting rid of the old wooden ones. Seriously, I’ve agonized about this for years – how would I fit them into the car? Who would want such old heavy ladders? What if they end up in a landfill – how wasteful… Yadda, yadda, yadda…

    So finally, a few weeks ago I needed some stuff in the garage to make a shelter for the family of feral cats that I’ve adopted. I was digging around in there and the ladders were just in the way! In desperation, I just hauled the suckers out to the alley and taped a sign on them that read “free.” I took a picture and posted it on Craigslist. All the while I was imagining that my neighbors would be furious with the things out in the alley, that nobody would want them, etc.

    Next morning, I woke up and they were gone! So, um… perhaps it wasn’t worth agonizing over them for 20 years!?! OY! When will I ever learn this lesson?!?!?

  9. Interesting take on decluttering from The Guardian, even if it *is* a snarky one.

    There is a tendency amongst True Believers of all varieties to take things to extremes. Decluttering is not about “Get Rid Of EVERYTHING!” any more than sentimentality is about “Keep it ALL, Always!” But I think manageability lies in the middle ground. Do you (the collective ‘you’- this is an example, not an affront 🙂 ) need to keep every book you’ve ever read? Perhaps not. But neither do you need to rid your shelves of them all. You need not be a minimalist, nor need you be a hoarder. It’s finding a middle space; the key being What Works For You.

    I don’t believe my efforts at reducing the amount of space-taking stuff I own somehow means I will be stuck in a consumerist cycle, which seems to be the author’s argument. If I have 7 spatulas and get rid of 4, it’s because I can comfortably make do with 3. (True story.) I have felt no compunction to buy more, and my kitchen is more easily maneuverable with less stuff everywhere. This is a Good Thing. But it is also a middle ground.

    This seems like common sense to me. But rarely is there anything common about sense. 😉

    As to your own inventory: I certainly don’t judge you harshly on your candle habit. I talked with my spouse after reading your last update, and after enthusiastically agreeing that taking inventory was a good idea for Us, one of the first things he said was, “Yes! And how many candles to we have in the closet, anyway?!”

    Ahem.

    I wonder if there’s a support group for that? 😛

    • Candle Hoarders United 🙂 I am not a minimalist and don’t aspire to be; ultimately I would like a home that guests can walk into and immediately get a sense of who I am and what I value. For my own sake, I want comfort, and to avoid waste, and to stay organized, and to cheer myself up with things I like (such as my “stuffed animal” Kokopelli toy!)

  10. Thank you for this post. It inspires me to get myself in gear. My effort to “declutter” has been mostly to organize and try not to bring too many new things in. I really need to do a closet purge as I am positive that it contains many items I will never wear again.

    • These kinds of tasks are never urgent unless we run out of storage space. I prod myself by saying that probably someone else out there could really use my stuff if I donate it. And I try to be realistic by not donating anything worn out that people would not welcome!

  11. Very impressive. I should really do an inventory of my personal items and see what can go… But I’m scared to look. ^_^;

  12. Goodness me you’re consistent and thorough. I planned to record my decluttering efforts but then I just toss something and forget to record it. Consistency is more important in decluttering and avoiding/stopping new things coming in than starting to declutter. Or having a mad purge session.

    And I’m definitely not consistent in much except work.

    Oh and I love candles too. Bought two new ones a month ago even though I have used ones. They serve double purpose: stored in a cupboard, candles can make the cupboard smell nice.

    • I could do a whole post on candles and maybe I will! Yeah, I would say the key to “rightsizing” one’s possessions is mindfulness. It is hard to think about the lifespan of everything I consider buying or taking home!

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