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De-clutter


I know that one of my traits that drives Anie at least a little nuts is my faux-minimalism.  This usually manifests itself in my ideaology, and in my purchasing habits.  It’s not that I buy a lot less stuff than the average person; my bank account is solid evidence that I definitely stimulate the local economy.  

What I do do, however, is audit my purchases before I get to the register, asking myself if a really need/want each item more than the equivalent number of dollars it will cost.  (This has to be a habit I picked up from my mother, though I know she was doing it to make sure she could still pay for everything in the cart.) 

After spending more than enough time in the store, I will go through the cart and decide to remove a few items (sometimes the only items I contributed to the cart), and will get the “well why did we just waste the time picking that out, then” look from you-know-who.

The other probably-weird-to-outsiders manifestation is the ease with which I can part with items.  I’d like to say that this stems from a childhood of limited resources and having to get over losing things when they break/get lost, but it’s probably more likely that I have such an easy time deleting people from my life that regular old objects never stood a chance.  When I recent thought “what would be the one item I’d grab in case of a fire”, the thing I needed besides my phone is the Yankee Stadium Baseball I plan to use to teach my future-son how to patch catch with  (thank-you Anie).  Other than that, I can pretty much shrug off everything else I own. 

This, I thought, was a pretty solid accomplishment, until I ran across this guy’s blog.  Dude is living his entire life from the road, in supposedly random countries, as voted on my his blog readers.  As a necessary evil of this everyday Rick Steve’s lifestyle, one can’t carry much with them, especially with shipping/luggage costs. 

As a minimalist, it’s important that my possessions do not own me and that what I do own serves multiple purposes, is high-quality and as sustainable as possible. . .  So as part of my effort to further reduce and optimize my possessions, here is a list of everything I own and photos of those items.  Already many items on this list are on the chopping block, as I haven’t used them in the 2 months I’ve been in Buenos Aires and doubt I’ll use them for the rest of my stint in Argentina.

Seriously, 72 things.  Whoa!

That got me thinking about how much stuff I have that really could stand to organize or obliterate.  Just looking around me, here’s a list of things either on, or within 12 inches of, my desk.

  1. Computer (monitor, keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, speakers, headphones)
  2. copious random papers
  3. never used candle in a jar
  4. pens
  5. envelopes & stationary
  6. random cd’s
  7. unused gift cards from x-mas
  8. several Yankees Startling Lineup action figures
  9. hookah my brother gave me for X-Mas 2008 (thanks Eggs)
  10. olde tyme wind-up alarm clock from IKEA
  11. windex  (no lie)
  12. iron
  13. empty photo frames
  14. afore-mentioned Yankee Stadium Baseball
  15. cordless drill
  16. drill bit set
  17. old computer (no longer working it seems)
  18. cushion to a chair I no longer own
  19. iPhone stand & charger
  20. vase full of corks from wine bottles I’ve drank while living here
  21. massive corkscrew (I need the one with the levers on the sides, otherwise I shred the cork)
  22. Globe-shaped liquor decanter (empty)
  23. random 3″ action figure/keychain bought at Red Hot Robot.
  24. Cigar cutter

So, 24 things within 1 foot of me, and that dude only owns 72 things on the entire planet.

This has led me to think that maybe I should institute an Items Per Room (IPR for you analytics nerds) limit to each room of my home.  I’d have to exclude artwork and books/movies, as those things should really be wall-based.  Maybe limit to 50 Items Per Room?  That sounds achieveable.  Maybe start at 75 then audit down again in a month? 

I’m going to mull this over and see what kind of numbers I can come up with.

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  1. May 30, 2010 at 4:58 pm

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