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How Much Stuff Should You Own

January 1st, 2014 at 10:47 pm

I re-read this brilliant post today, about how much stuff is the right amount to own...

This is what she says:
The right amount of stuff = the amount you can fully and regularly use.

I think that is spot on. That's how I came to the "ideal" amount of clothing to own. That's how I know that my kitchen is a little bit overstocked. I own a cheese thingy (I don't even know what it's called, and I never use it) that scrapes off a thin silce of cheese. I never use it; I never will. Why do I own that? I own these very cute ceramic chinese soup spoons. I don't use those.

Regular might be once a year (as in the case with our Christmas tree and ornaments). Regular might be daily. But over the course of a year, the things that get used are staying. And as I declutter each area of my home, the things that are never used are going.

I rarely buy more stuff... it's the "leftovers" that I have to address. And broken things. They don't get used, they'll never get used. I am dumping the broken calculator in the trash right now. I use the calculator on my phone. I did it; I just dumped the broken calculator in the trash.

New year = new resolve to simplify my life!

12 Responses to “How Much Stuff Should You Own”

  1. Buendia Says:

    I should amend that - I rarely buy more stuff, except for F. She has a lot of toys! I am trying to sell things she's outgrown on craigslist or ebay, but I always consult her first. Trying to help her develop the skill of knowing what to let go and what to keep, so I enlist her help and make sure she has a say.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Oh, yes, let me put my cheese slicer in one of my donations bags!

  3. rob62521 Says:

    Good article. I am guilty of hanging onto stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Completely agree with you on less being more. A good knife does just as well as lots of gadgets, and it takes up less space!

  5. Buendia Says:

    I tend to hang on to things, too. I have two weaknesses: "it might be useful someday" and "sentimental." I'm ok with the sentimental things as long as they're organized. I have white envelope (9x12) for each year with mementos in it. So I'm limited to what fits in the envelope. And now that I do the photo books I don't print individual photos. I love every single thing F has ever made; I try to keep only the best, and I have a portfolio for her.

    But the "might be useful" items - ugh. I seem to love extra hardware that came with things (who knows what things it came with). And kitchen items. And I have some very cute placemats I'll never use because I might use them one day. Ack!

  6. laura Says:

    My words for 2014 "simplicity" and "contentment". I'm looking forward to beginning a massive purge. And I've started a list of things we will need/I would want in the future.

  7. Learningtomoney Says:

    I'm very much a hoarder. I have been my whole life. I'll get rid of something broken or something I hate, but if I am on the fence about it, it is SO difficult for me to get rid of. I'm working on selling more this year, because one way I feel better about getting rid of something is if I gain something for it.

  8. ThriftoRama Says:

    This is another good and inspiring article about how much stuff we all own.

  9. Buendia Says:

    I have waaaaaaay more than 39 things! But I use most of them on a weekly basis.

  10. snafu Says:

    It can help to have a system. We've a shelf in the garage for once-a- year and 'share with the neighbour' items like coolers, 30 C coffee maker, large platters, extension ladders and gardening supplies. Items that are broken, stained, awaiting parts etc. get dated with a slice of masking tape. If not dealt within by the end of the quarter, it's gone. Our family's best policy is 'new item in - old, similar item out.' The unanticipated benefit was the halt to impulse buying. Don't want to relinquish an old favourite pair of shoes, for example for something I glimpsed on sale.

    We follow a housekeeping plan called 'Branches.' Each week attention is focussed on a particular room. Every shelf, drawer, cupboard is scrutinized, cleaned, organized for special attention. If we don't get to everything, it's noted so that those areas get attention the next time that room rotates on the system. If I note something I'm not sure about I add a small stationary dot. If that dot is still there on the next rotation, I'll attempt to sell or re-gift pristine items, donate those in good condition, trash anything useless. Funnily, I'm one of those people who uses that cheese gadget for curls on pasta, casseroles and sauces.

  11. Looking Forward Says:

    I heard once, years ago, "Do you love it or need it? If not, get rid of it!"

  12. EllaSea Says:

    Last year I moved from a three bedroom, double living room, dining room, and storage room apartment to a one bedroom, one living room, no dining room apt. I got rid of A LOT of things, but I STILL have way too much for my space space. I've been slowly (too slowly, lol) working my way through boxes and piled of things in an attempt to have only what I need, use, and what fits in my house. Do I need four sets of bed sheets? No, I live alone and 2 is plenty - one to use and another to use when the first set in in the wash. Have I gotten rid of the extra sets yet? Nope. The article you shared was great - hopefully it can encourage me to get rid of my "extras"!

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