My Stuff

Little scavenged treasures

Five years ago I did a home inventory and established that I owned over 10,000 countable items. Yikes! I have not decluttered a great deal. My stuff is relatively neat and retrievable! In theory I would like to gaze upon calming, half-empty shelves. In practice, I like being surrounded by my possessions. I know the main reason is that I moved more than 10 times in my adult life, and my personal belongings were like a security blanket.

I wonder how I rate in terms of amount of stuff. More than average? Less than average?

I’m not thinking of any functional items for daily living, like furniture, kitchen wares, towels and blankets; or practical things like clothes and luggage.

But I do own a lot of things that belong to me alone – not for the house, or for Rom, or for the family, or otherwise intended for sharing.

Still my fave wood toys!

They are:

  • Books
  • CDs and DVDs – someday I imagine I will give them all up, but not yet
  • Electronics – PC, old iPad, phone, cameras
  • Jewellery
  • Exercise equipment
  • Stationery – notebooks, note cards, stickers, colouring books
  • Crafts supplies – cross stitch, stamping and scrapbooking
  • Collections – candles and candle holders, toy robots, wooden toys

In the past few years I have seriously trimmed down my collections which used to include LEGO, trinket boxes and candy tins!

Quilts I own and didn’t make – gifts / heirlooms!

I have whole other categories of things that I’m much more sentimental about:

  • Photo albums (pre-digital age, someday to be digitized)
  • Old journals and day books
  • Baby items, artwork and gifts made by Link
  • A few things from my grandmother (um, trinket boxes and tins, actually!)
  • What I call “souvenir clothes” such as costumes and handmade socks
  • Other handmade textiles like quilts and table cloths
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • And some of my favourite things: pine cones, horse chestnuts, rocks, and a sand dollar that I picked up on my travels!

Because how could I not need a Pooh piggy bank?

There is one more category I will call “ornaments.” These are small decorative objects for putting on shelves. Some would call them kitsch or tchotchkes! Now people buy “collectibles” instead. I received these as gifts and bought a few on my own as home décor. I suppose when I was setting up a household, these were considered luxuries: spending money on something I didn’t need, and showing it off to visitors. Now I would entice you to look at my books instead!

Do you have many things that are just for you – not  for your house,  family or future resale value?

13 comments

  1. When I was young I could fit everything I owned into the back of a pickup and I was completely happy. As I got older I never collected a lot of stuff, but it did fill mostly a 1,000 square foot mobile home, and when we downsized to a 465 square foot apartment we got rid of all the extra. We then moved to Seattle and while I have moved a lot, and I have filled mostly a 600 square foot apartment, I feel like that is way too much. I hate it.

    I wonder how close to the back of a pickup sized set of possessions can I get now.

    PS. One area I shrunk already, used to have hundreds maybe thousands of books, I got rid of all but maybe 15-20 books. The rest are on electronic media and that has made my life way better. Now to find those remaining 15-20 books (or equivalent since they are almost all for making things) and life would be even better.

    • Hi Lucky,
      Yeah, our house is 2 levels x 900 square feet so we have a lot of storage space for two people. I sometimes find myself wishing for a place half this size. I haven’t bought or brought home many books for the past 10 years. I think I could give up the books, CDs and DVDs if I pushed myself. But as long as Rom continues to hold onto his Magic cards, guitars and effects pedals, etc. I don’t dare concede any space, haha!

  2. Hm, you’ve got me thinking and looking around the house. I do have lots of things just for me, things my mum would say the unnecessary 🙂 which I suppose is not all untrue, apart from the books, but hey, they are all a part of whom we are, or least they show our nature to a certain extent. Also, thanks, Dar, for following; I have deleted the other blog, and want to keep in touch with a couple of my friends from there. Happy you’re here.

  3. I’ve certainly noticed with the recent house packing, that I have a number of purely decorative items – like some birdcages (but less than my collection once was), candles, ornaments (largely egg shaped, my mother started a tradition and I slowly leak them to thrift stores!). But I have also worked on making things like my jewelry more in the open so it both looks nice when not worn, but also prompts me to wear it more.

    But since starting on being more minimalist, say 6-7 years ago, I have really found myself wrestling with hobbies and stuff. I am annoyed I have three pieces of pottery still, from my recent course, as the new owners haven’t been given them yet. I’ve not played water polo in 18 months, but the bag of gear bothers me. Jigsaw puzzles I smartly move on, but note I have three waiting (all downsized from an older church couple). Aggh!

    • I think it’s natural for our interest in decorative collections (eggs or bird cages!) to change over time. But usually our friends and families will remember them forever at gift-giving time! Several of my coworkers have Pandora bracelets; one of them told me she only got it because it makes her life easy: whenever someone is wondering what to get her as a gift, they can always choose another Pandora charm! Isn’t it hard to commit to giving up a hobby permanently? I still have my camping gear which I haven’t used for 10 years. I keep thinking I’ll give it one more try.

  4. I wish I could say no, but I have books, DVDs, CDs, tons of candles, Scandinavian glassware and vintage Pyrex that I mainly use as decor. Plus some of my old toys that I can’t seem to ret rid of for some reason. As much as I’d like to be more minimalist I have problems letting go of what I already own. And I totally relate to your comment about conceding space, that definitely happens here!

  5. 10,000 items! Good for you for counting it all! I would have given up probably around the 100 mark …


    Emory

  6. Fiona

    If the things you own give you pleasure and don’t cause stress…more power! There’s few things as comforting and rewarding as being surrounded in your own space by meaningful things. I have all the things on your list of ‘don’t delete’. But I’m *not* very organised and so my things sometimes overwhelm me! I still can’t give away things like Christmas decorations, wedding mementoes, child artwork etc. There gets to a point where decluttering too far is like erasing history! Maybe I need to focus on ‘organising’ now, more than decluttering…

    • Hi Fiona, As you know, I have a significant issue with that feeling of erasing history. I need to remind myself I don’t need 100 items, or even 10, to commemorate a time in my life. I’m used to having masses of things and not having just one representative thing! So I have settled for organizing.

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