Do you know how many items you possess?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ghandi said, he didn't want to own more than 7 items.

Is there anyone here, who actually knows how many items you have?
Or how many items there are in your home?
Or (to be less ambitious) how many items are in one room of your home?

I want to have a reality check with my possessions. And I am thinking about going through all our possessions, counting them and consider how much we really need.

Is this totally unrealistic, or would anyone else be up for the challenge?
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#2 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 12:40 PM
 
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but I honestly don't think as an American it is attainable. If you own a computer you own more than seven items. Even if you count the computer array (cables, modem, monitor, tower, speakers, etc etc) as one item, you still have the desk and the chair to go with them for instance.

I love my books. I pare them down every season, but the ones I keep just for reference (and really do use) number more than 7. With children...wow.

I would love to hear of your progress on counting. Honestly, while I am looking to live much more simply, that may be more self examination than I am willing to endure!
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#3 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 12:51 PM
 
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I can think of at least 7 categories for the things we own.

Outdoor toys
Indoor toys
Books
CD's
Videos
Electronic Stuff
Kitchen gadgets
Camping gear
Clothing
Bedding
The list goes on and on...

I don't think it would be realistic for me to count what I own. It would take weeks. I've often wondered how much my stuff weighs though. I know there's no practical way of finding that out. But I wonder... do I really own "tons of stuff"? 6 Tons? 10 tons?
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#4 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 01:25 PM
 
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Like the others I have way too much stuff to even begin to count. And we live in a 600 sq ft house that is relatively uncluttered. Reading this thread makes me want to declutter even more, though. I think I'm becoming an anti-clutter fanatic.
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#5 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 02:59 PM
 
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I KNOW I KNOW!!!!!!!

" But I wonder... do I really own "tons of stuff"? 6 Tons? 10 tons?"

We just moved cross-country and used a company. We own 11 TONS of crap. That's everything-- absolutely everything-- from the lawn tools to dog leashes to the washing machines to the beds to the dishes.

ELEVEN TONS.
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#6 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 05:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfmeis
We own 11 TONS of crap.

ELEVEN TONS.
Holy crap.
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#7 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 06:22 PM
 
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This reminds me of the first exercise in "Your Money or Your Life", where you are supposed to make a list of everything you own and another list of everything you owe. Frankly, I've never gotten past this step because it's just too daunting. I think it would make me sick, to be honest, and that probably means it's something I need to do.

I am sitting at a computer desk with 7 drawers, and each drawer is packed with stuff. Some necessary, some not. That is just one piece of furniture in one room of my house, and it probably holds 50-100 things in each drawer.

flowersforyou.gif

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#8 of 61 Old 07-04-2005, 08:31 PM
 
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I'd like to say that number includes the van, but that didn't fit on the truck!

And that was after we got rid of a full two truckloads of stuf before we moved. We've been freecycling things since we moved here, but it is definitely weird to be able to quantify how much you have.
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#9 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I AM going to do this. But one room at the time, and it may take years before I have done all rooms.

I have no ambitions about having 7 things like Ghandi. But I would like to know if I am in the 700 (not), 7000, 70,000, or 700,000 catogory. : or maybe even in 7 mill. catogory

I think I'll start with the bedroom, where we have one bed, one (huge) closet, and one shelf.
So my next challenge is to count everything in the closet and on the shelf.
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#10 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 09:09 AM
 
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Have you read Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel? As you're thinking about this, you might really enjoy reading this book. (if you haven't already).
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#11 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 09:26 AM
 
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i think that at least for me, this wouldn't be practical. I have more than 7 pairs of underwear!

But I do see where you're coming from. Sometimes it is really nice to pair what we own down to the absolute essentials. As you get deeper and deeper into you stuff you start to see that maybe your values are a little different than you thought, or they've changed over the years.


At one point everything my husband and I owned fit inside a ford probe. At that point we chose primarily our clothing, some bedding stuff, and all of our books and music.

In about a month, almost everything we own will be inside another car-this time a sedan, a bit bigger than that sporty hatchback, and with a toddler. The other difference is that this time we are doing it by choice. In the few years since that drive home in the probe we have accumulated SO MUCH JUNK. I don't now where it comes from. So since we are moving anyway and needing to pear down, we decided to do a major purge of our crap.

It feels good to let go of things. It feels good to trust that if I ever need some gadget/other thing again, I will be able to find access. It feels so good to let go of hundreds of books that have weighed us down for so long-we couldn't give them up, we were too attached, but now we are doing it The more I get rid of the easier it becomes to also get rid of the 'favorite' stuff I set aside earlier to keep.
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#12 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 10:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamilla626
I don't think it would be realistic for me to count what I own. It would take weeks. I've often wondered how much my stuff weighs though. I know there's no practical way of finding that out. But I wonder... do I really own "tons of stuff"? 6 Tons? 10 tons?
When you pack up to move if you get a service- they can tell you how much stuff you have since they charge by volume

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#13 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 10:08 AM
 
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Being as though I just took a bagel out of the bag and there were 3 left- that 4 right there. I know I have more than 3 more things.

Forget about counting and start counting what you purge while on this hunt- it will be impressive.

I just purged a load of books. There is a used book sale soon and we still have a lot of books. But we have pared down a lot over the last 2 years. Once you get the bug, its very easy to toss, donate, sell things.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#14 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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I started trying to pare down our stuff for about a year now & I can't believe how much we have and I make an effort not to accumulate. I didn't have a lot growing up, so for me, it's hard to resist the urge to want & have...like all the different scissors for scrapbooking . I know it won't replace what I was lacking, but it seems such an easy fix. It's also so difficult for me to throw away something that is still useful or can be fixed. I've gotten better but it's still hard.

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Originally Posted by Amys1st
...I just purged a load of books... Once you get the bug, its very easy to toss, donate, sell things.
A few weeks ago I dontated about 150 books to our local library! It felt good to get rid of them & I figured I wanted to pass them on to others, but I still don't find it very easy!
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#15 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I took stock of our bedroom today.

There are 452 items in the bedroom. We have all our clothes (also the kids's) in the bedroom and I included all the laundry too.
This also included all our toilet things, my sewing things, etc.
But I didn't count each small needle or buttom, but counted a box of needle as one item.

And best of all (You're right, Amy ) : I was able to throw/give away 62 items.

I know numbers aren't important, but going through them and actually counting is SOO eye-opening!

Most of our items are useful and necessary, but if they aren't, they still take up space - both physically and mentally.
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#16 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 03:30 PM
 
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Decluttering is a daily battle for me. I have an emotional attachment to all of my junk and I can't seem to get over it, although I wish I could.
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#17 of 61 Old 07-05-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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My bedroom is pretty spartan, so that might be a good place for me to start (provided I stay out of the bathroom) -- I don't think I can count that high- LOL
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#18 of 61 Old 07-06-2005, 04:56 PM
 
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Especially when we were moving and unpacking last year, and I was feeling sucky because I only have 2 little bookshelfs left to put my things on, I kept remembering this scene in a movie. I *think* its from The Pillow Book, but I'm not sure. A really uptight husband is deriding his wife for having too many books and not enough discipline. She should have only 100 books, no more, no less. That idea kind of appeals to me, but I'm not sure if I have the nerve...
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#19 of 61 Old 07-06-2005, 05:19 PM
 
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Wow. This moving thing is getting stressful. Great for getting rid of stuff though! Even stuff I htought I just 'had' to keep-when I start considering whether it's worth the trouble of moving it 3,000 miles THEN finding storage for it when we get there it is very easy to say goodbye!

I have taken one carload to charity so far. Stuffed a large trunk and the whole backseat of my mil's large sedan(holds way more than our own vehicle). I have another load like that ready to go of just *stuff*, plus one whole load like that of books : we are book whores, I admit it. Those I'll probably take, one box at a time, to a bookstore that sells used books to get a little money out of them.

The thing is even after getting rid of all that we still have a full home Doesn't feel empty or sparse or anything. Isn't that awful? I think a lot of it comes from us having had almost nothing-so paople gave us lots of things. Hope they don't resent me for tossing it all only a year or so later, but I can't worry about that too much. I cannot keep things I don't need or want because I worry about other peoples perceptions. Right?

In any cas eit is feeling SO SO good to get this stuff out of my life, out of my way, hopefully to homes where it will be appreciated rather than stressed over.
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#20 of 61 Old 07-08-2005, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have about 1500 items in the rest of our 'living area'. So 2000 in all.
But I haven't counted the cluttered storage areas in the basement and the attic :

I'm going to go through all our stuff this summer, and my fear is that I'll realise we have about 7000 items. I'll have to downsize it to less than 4000.
That's my goal.
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#21 of 61 Old 07-09-2005, 03:02 AM
 
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Ugh. Honestly, I bet we're a VERY, VERY high number : . It does bother me. More and more everyday in fact. I grew up very poor and I think it's been an emotional thing for me to buy too many things b/c I'm afraid of having nothing. Or of my kids having nothing. Instead we all have too much . This thread has been an eye opener. I can't even imagine counting what's in any of the rooms in this house. I know we have about 1900sq ft and we're busting at the seams. I'm going to start working on this, seriously working on it. Thank you, Europeanmom, for starting this eye opening thread. I think you might have just changed my life.
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#22 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 11:57 AM
 
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I own about 7....




7 THOUSAND lbs of stuff, that is :LOL : How many tons is that? What is a ton, exactly?

We're packing for a move, and that was the estimate the movers gave. Now, we're renting a two bedroom townhouse, so that number doesn't include appliances as we don't own them. It also doesn't include the two cars (small sedans). Everything else is in there. It's a bit depressing that we're paying 3k to move all this STUFF across the country. And even more depressing that I've taken several trips to Goodwill to get rid of stuff and there's still so much left. I feel so bad about the energy it's taking us to pack it, then unpack it, not to mention the money to move it.

In college, I could fit everything I owned in a Mazda MX3 (small hatchback car). It's only been 5-6 years since then. What happened?????

I'm a librarian and my husband is a researcher, so our main thing is BOOKS. I can't get rid of books. We have three full floor-to-ceiling shelves and several smaller ones. It's an obsession. HELP!

Thanks for the call to action!
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#23 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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You wrote: "We're packing for a move, and that was the estimate the movers gave"

THEY SO LIE. They estimated us at 8000 pounds. NIIIIICE.
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#24 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 01:48 PM
 
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Thanks for the heads-up about the movers. We probably do have more than 7000 lbs, but our estimate was not-to-exceed so at least we only pay for that much

Our last move, we clocked in at 6020 or something - that was two years ago. 1,000+ lbs in 2 years????? I need to get rolling on this decluttering stuff.

Of course, now I want to sign up for cable TV to get the decluttering shows. And there are all these books about simplicity that I want. Somehow, I think I'm missing the point :LOL
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#25 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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The thought of doing this is giving me a head ache......

I think it is a great idea. I am going to start by category not by room though.

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#26 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadBuddy
Of course, now I want to sign up for cable TV to get the decluttering shows. And there are all these books about simplicity that I want. Somehow, I think I'm missing the point :LOL

:


I can totally relate! Reminds me of this:

A few years ago, right after we had moved into a new (for us) house, I had piles everywhere. . . . On top of one of the piles, for months, sat a book called Clear the Clutter, Stow the Stuff.

:LOL




I wanted to take a photo of it, it was so hilarious. . . . but I couldn't find the camera.


:
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#27 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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I still haven't read the book, though, btw. . . .


And I don't even know where it is.


:
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#28 of 61 Old 07-10-2005, 07:47 PM
 
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Purging books is hard. We got rid of a LOT of books over the past few years. Somehow, more accumulate... When I was living on board ship in the Navy, right before I got ready to fly home I mailed out several boxes of books that I had stashed in my locker, in my work space... I fortunately had an extra locker to put books in in that work space, or I think I would have gone insane. In hindsight, I'd have saved myself a bundle of money and burden if I'd just donated the lot to the ship's library.

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#29 of 61 Old 10-21-2006, 12:14 AM
 
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Bumping this old thread! I started really decluttering when I read a thread on a simplicity board about owning 100 items. I thought, I should count. How many things do I have? How many do I really need? What can I easily eliminate to make my life easier?

So I made an Excel spreadsheet. I found an insurance inventory form online and put that in the spreadsheet. Then I took the bridal registry from Bed, Bath and Beyond and put that on the spreadsheet (and they include everything you could need for your kitchen, so I felt confident that it would be thorough!) I did the same with a baby registry.

I went through the spreadsheet and customized it. I went through and put in the knick knacks I could remember in each room, and the specific furnishings, and the number of place settings of formal china. I estimated on books, CDs, DVDs, toys, toiletries and makeup, and clothes. (I counted one full shelf of books and multiplied it by the number of shelves to get the estimated book count.)

I own close to 5,000 things THAT I CAN REMEMBER. What a wake up call! I have boxes that haven't been unpacked since our move in July; none of that stuff is counted. I have way too many clothes and books. And we have enough toys to entertain a very short army, but DS prefers my hairbrush and the broom!!

It has been an eye opener and has forced me to take stock and really start eliminating the non-essentials. No one needs 5,000 things.
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#30 of 61 Old 10-21-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momaste View Post
Bumping this old thread! I started really decluttering when I read a thread on a simplicity board about owning 100 items. I thought, I should count. How many things do I have? How many do I really need? What can I easily eliminate to make my life easier?

It has been an eye opener and has forced me to take stock and really start eliminating the non-essentials. No one needs 5,000 things.
I have read that same thread on the Simple Living boards. Actually there were several... here and here and here. Very interesting...but unfortunately unattainable for me, even being the crazy simple girl that I am I think it's very cool that you counted. I might try to do that when I have time. It would definitely make me get rid of more stuff...because as I went through it, I would realize I don't need it!

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