> so that's really what I'm looking for a book, a list, something
> ......that gives me an idea of how many of each item in my house
> is a reasonable amount to have. any thing like that exist?
Below, I'm going to offer a lot of detailed analysis. I don't really recommend slowing yourself down with all that analysis _unless_ you find that you're unable to get rid of things without it - which is what your post suggests.
But I'd also recommend that you always keep in mind that mistakes are expected, and normal, and just fine, and speed and ruthlessness of decluttering are more important than accuracy. It's absolutely fine to say, "Ah, we can probably get rid of all but one of those giant towels; John's the only one that likes them and he'll survive when it's in the wash" and then later realize, "Oops. Forgot the beach." You'll just buy another giant towel in June. No big deal.
So, some thoughts:
- You could start by figuring the minimum that you could get along with if you ignored any desire for variety. For example, if you had two queen-size beds, then in theory you could get along just fine with three sets of sheets total - two on the beds, and one in the wash. For that matter, you could get along with two sets, if you stripped them in the morning and got them washed and dried before bedtime the same day, but if you're out all day almost every day that may not be plausible.
If you do all your laundry once a week (or you have the goal of doing it all once a week after you're done decluttering) then you could figure how many towels you use in a week, plus an extra set for each bathroom while you're doing the laundry, and that's all you need. That might be too many towels and too much wash at once, so you might decide to wash towels twice a week and have half as many to wash and store.
The same is true for kitchen towels, clothes, dishes, Tupperware, pretty much everything that you have multiples of and clean at a regular interval - the interval drives the minimum. Shorter intervals mean smaller minimums and less to clean and store.
For other things, like dress shoes or winter coats, you may want lots but _need_ only one.
The "minimum" should, IMO, leave out issues like, "But using the same color towels all the time would be really boring," and "But they'll notice at work if I'm always wearing the same shoes." It's just a starting point, so that when priorities conflict you know how much you can eliminate and still function. So, the snow boots are included if you really can't get out without them at times in daily life, but the extra pairs of dress shoes aren't included if you have (or could obtain if you had to) one bland decent pair that goes with almost everything.
- Then you could look at your storage. Homes are built with storage for a "normal" amount of things, plus, if your things don't fit in your home's storage, your home's going to be hard to run.
Here I'd say that the first question is, would your normal everyday easy-to-reach storage comfortably store all of the minimums, or do the minimums need some rethinking? (By "comfortably" I mean that the storage has some empty space left - you don't have to fold everything exactly right to get the drawer to close, for example.)
You mention a linen closet, so you can probably store your towel minimum, in theory if not in practice right now. I don't have one, so if I were a fresh-towel-every-day person, and I wanted to do laundry only once a week, I wouldn't be able to store my towel minimum in logical towel storage areas. I'd have to either compromise on the fresh towel frequency, or the laundry frequency, or I'd have to devote other storage (maybe dresser drawers) to towels.
And I really don't like the idea of things like dresser drawers for towels. I don't absolutely forbid myself to do things like that, but I prefer to try _very_ hard to reduce my things to the point that they can fit in the logical places for them, even if I would have designed those "logical places" differently if I were the architect of my house. Every time you have to do something like going to the dresser drawer on Wednesday to fetch the clean towels for the remainder of the week, that adds to your maintenance labor.
And forcing yourself to use the logical storage spaces also reduces some over-analysis. If you're declaring that The Towels Must All Fit Here, then you can make your towel disposal choices right now. If you allow yourself to consider that you could store extra towels there, or there, or there, and all of those places have a dozen other things competing for that space, then you can just grind to an overanalyzing halt.
- After minimums come priorities. Maybe you hate the idea of always using the same color towels, and the same color sheets, and the same shoes, and the same coat. Which one is more important to you? Do you love the look of your bedroom every time you change sheets, while all those multicolored towels just feel like a housekeeping duty?
Do you want a wealth of shoes, and can you be content with the same crisp clean white towels and sheets every day if that means that you can devote half of the linen closet to a gorgeous display of high heels? (That sounds like I'm violating my "logical storage" rule, but if you've declared that the bottom half of the linen closet _is_ the high heel display and storage area, then it has become logical storage for those things.)
- Priorities and planning my involve changes - sometimes you may find that your existing things don't fit your new thoughts.
For example, maybe you have the worn-out towels for the kids' dirty hands, and you devote a bunch of storage space to fancy fragile guest towels for when you have houseguests. You may decide to get rid of _all_ the towels in both categories, and get a high-quality set of white cotton towels that can be regularly bleached, to use for both purposes, and accept that you'll be replacing individual towels periodically when the kid damage is too great.
Maybe it's hard to cook in the kitchen because a lot of cabinet place is filled with gear that you only use for the holidays. Maybe you'll stop making some of those dishes and therefore get rid of that gear, or maybe you'll decide on a carefully considered violation of the "logical storage" rule and put all that extra gear away in the attic with the Christmas decorations, so that the kitchen's easier to manage the rest of the year.
Maybe you love to have lots of bed linens, and you kept buying the full sets with matching comforters, and your linen closet is bulging. It may be time to get rid of those extra comforters and buy duvet covers for the single comforter that you keep. If bed linens are a big priority for you, it might even be worthwhile to buy an extra set of sheets when you get a new set, and hire someone to sew them together as a duvet cover. Or maybe that thoought just makes you tired, and you realize that you were just doing the whole fancy-linen thing to fulfill expectations instilled in you by your mother, and you can embrace all-white-all-the-time with a sense of relief.
- Anyway. I recommend starting with the minimums. As a shortcut, I'd suggest that wherever you can bear to, just get rid of everything that exceeds the minimum.