Day 90: The Last 1,000 Things – Taking Inventory

9,000 things gone, only 1,000 things to go

I’m so excited about my last 10 days of the project that I’ve got a bit of a roller coaster tummy. Being this close to a goal is unusual and a bit terrifying for me. So, I came up with a plan to calm my anxiety while making sure I make the most of the last 1,000 things.

That’s right, I’m going to bore myself right across the finish line by taking inventory!

Nothing like a tedious job to settle an elevator tummy. Besides, the idea has kind of jolted me out of my recent apathy. The last thing I want is to wake up on Day 101 wishing I’d gotten rid of a few more things.

I shared the plan with Squirrel this morning and he was a little less enthusiastic than me. Perhaps because I asked him to part with a few beer steins we seldom use. He wanted to know:

What difference do a few glasses make?

The difference is that the back of the cupboard, bottom of the drawer, second choice things will always be in the inventory – staring us in the face when the dishwasher is full or we didn’t get a chance to do the laundry or someone ate the last vanilla cookie. I, for one, would prefer to wash a glass, toss in a load or shop more often for the pleasure of always using my favourite things.

Oh well, if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I don’t think it’s necessary that my husband (Squirrel) and I always agree.

I think inventory is a great idea and I will soldier on for the pleasure of arriving at Day 100 with a house full of useful and beautiful things.

Ok, that’s a bit lofty. I’ll settle for things that I recognize and don’t wholeheartedly despise.

Thanks everyone for being such an enormous support. Your comments and commiseration keep me going!


16 thoughts on “Day 90: The Last 1,000 Things – Taking Inventory

  1. “The difference is that the back of the cupboard, bottom of the drawer, second choice things will always be in the inventory – staring us in the face when the dishwasher is full or we didn’t get a chance to do the laundry or someone ate the last vanilla cookie. I, for one, would prefer to wash a glass, toss in a load or shop more often for the pleasure of always using my favourite things.”

    I like this spirit! I don’t get nearly enough use out of my best things.

    “Oh well, if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I don’t think it’s necessary that my husband (Squirrel) and I always agree.”

    If you had everything in common, one of you would be redundant.

    “Ok, that’s a bit lofty. I’ll settle for things that I recognize and don’t wholeheartedly despise.”

    No shame in that!

    • I don’t get enough use out of my best stuff either. I’m wavering on whether to keep a brown wool coat when I know that I absolutely love my black wool coat and never get a chance to wear it. Think I’ll craigslist it. Maybe my brown purse as well. The more I change purses the more confused I become. I long for simplicity and, for that matter, more time to read your blog. Now and again I click on a link and end up in stitches over something you did back in 2009.

  2. Congratulations Christine! You’re almost there. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and see your goal of increasing simplicity as highly laudable.

    I’m curious about how you decide between those things that are worthy of decluttering and those things that have infrequent but valuable use. Squirrel’s comments about the beer steins comes to mind. We have loads of china, wine glasses and beer steins that we don’t use on a daily basis but are put into use every Christmas when we have 20 for dinner. This applies to serving platters, large table cloths, etc.

    Somehow, I’ve found it much easier to get rid of clothes under the simple rule, “If I haven’t worn it in the last 12 months, it goes”. The rule seems harder to apply to other household items. Any suggestions?

    • Thanks Colleen. Decluttering was mandatory for me and long overdue! You have 20 people over at Christmas? Have you considered decluttering your guest list. Hee hee, just kidding! I have a pretty simple way of deciding what to keep when it comes to stuff that’s infrequently used. I ask myself if I really enjoy using the item the few times a year that I use it. If not, I check to see if there’s something I already have that can serve the same purpose – like a platter from my everyday dishes etc. If the answer is no and I really need it, I just keep it. Sometimes I find something I didn’t realize I had that works even better and I’m ab;e to find a new home for the original. Recently I got rid of some crystal wine glasses because I have 10 (the max. number of people I ever entertain) big fish bowl glasses that I prefer using. As for beer steins, I kept about 6 of my favourites. I don’t think anyone is going to drink out of the 84oz stein Squirrel kept from his college days. Also, I think guests are happy to bring extra glasses etc. if you end up decluttering too much. Hey, maybe they’ll even offer to take their dishes home and wash them so you don’t have the tornado kitchen that comes after Christmas dinner. My rule is, if I get a lot of enjoyment from something, I keep it, even if it only gets infrequent use. I agree, clothes are much easier!!!

  3. OK… so, once again, I stand in awe at your decluttering prowess. I’m sitting here debating whether to get rid of a mostly non-functional food processor that I totally hate anyhow – but it was a gift from CatMan and… I dunno, it just feels wrong to toss it.

    And then there’s the socks issue. I generally don’t wear socks during the summer, but since winter has arrived early here in Denver I’m back to needing something to keep my tootsies warm. But most of my socks are so old that they either have holes in them or are totally threadbare. What I really want to do is toss the drawer full of crappy socks and go get a half dozen pairs of nice, thick, cushy ones without holes. It’s not like a few pairs of socks would be a major expense. But it seems like such a waste… I mean they’re still usable… I have the same issue with underwear… Good GAWD, I am such an idiot.

    On another topic… what are you gonna do when your 100 days are up? You’re not leaving us are you? I’d really miss you if you did.

    • I don’t think I can leave. I’d miss you all too much. I’m sure I’ll find something to talk about, I always do! I hear you on the socks issue. I’ve never found anywhere that recycles them. I like galberry’s suggestion to use them for cleaning once – then toss them. On the underwear issue, I found several of Squirrel’s undershorts balled up in the garage. Personally, I would have cut them up before using them as rags. It just seems wrong to whip out your boxer shorts when you’re washing the car. Be kind to yourself – pop your holey socks into the food processor and kill two birds with one stone. Just kidding – but, maybe create a sock rag bin as per galberry’s suggestion and FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE go out and buy yourself the softest, warmest pair of socks you can find! If anyone has any ideas for other uses for old socks. I’d love to hear them!

      • Ha! I LOVE it! I’ll just put the old socks in the food processor… I can always say it was some sort of paper making experiment gone wrong. Truth is, I already have several rag bags full of old socks and underwear… I do use them, but, of course, I wash them and re-use them over and over until there’s nothing left. I think I’m just gonna have to accept the fact that things wear out and sometimes garbage is created.

        I’m SOOO glad you’re not gonna leave us. Can’t wait to read all of the wonderful stuff I’m sure you’ll write on any topic!

      • Thanks Eco Cat Lady! I have heard that there are places that accept “rag quality” clothing. My initial google search found two companies in Australia and one in the UK. That doesn’t help us much does it? I’ll keep looking because tossing worn out clothing is a guilty experience for me too.

  4. Hi, just to let Ecocat lady know how I deal with the guilt of throwing away socks that are threadbare / have holes in / too baggy etc. I hate throwing things away and try to recycle wherever possible., so I use (clean) old holey socks for cleaning – there’re great for cleaning spills on the floor, muddy trainers, skirting boards, polishing windows etc. Once I’ve used them for cleaning once I then throw them away without a single scrap of remorse!

  5. Having been through a few inventories in a retail environment I realize there are definite benefits to looking in every nook and cranny and dealing with things that were stuffed there to be ignored. With that approach, the idea of looking everywhere (in behind the A/V equipment in your TV stands etc.) and pulling everything into the light makes a lot of sense.

    Keeping an actual inventory of your stuff seems over the top. The next thing you’ll be doing is putting barcodes (or RFID tags) on all of your dishes and installing scanners / readers on your cupboards. I would do the actions of an inventory without the actual recording of four pairs of socks somewhere.

    On a different note, a study from 2009 actually determined that it takes us an average of 66 days to establish a habit. You’re now in habit territory – congrats! Keeping a clutterfree lifestyle will continue to be entertaining for us, your readers, so keep the habit of blogging along with the neverending process of clutter control.

    PS: Congrats also on the blog posts yesterday and today!

    • Ah Kevin, you are a genius! What a terrific idea – putting barcodes / scanner / readers on everything. You could then scan things as you used them and could quickly identify those things you have kept that actually could be de-cluttered, hahaha. Brilliant!

    • Thanks Kevin! Believe me my inventory won’t be an official thing, just a little account of the type of things I’m keeping and where. That way, I’ll have something to compare it to next year when I find Squirrel’s underwear in the garage, kids toys in the kitchen cupboards, my salad bowl in the TV room – you get the picture. Maybe I should put barcodes on things.

  6. I just wanted to take a minute to say hello. I discovered your blog yesterday thanks to a tweet from HGTV and ended up spending the better part of my afternoon reading everything…back to front!

    As a rule I’m not a “keeper”. Last Summer I moved across Canada (Halifax to Victoria) on my own dime so I did a major purge (because I wasn’t paying to ship anything I didn’t need or love) and it was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. But here I am a little over a year later and after reading your blog I was easily able to glance around and see at least 5 days worth of 100 things that can take a hike.

    So thank you for reminding me that just because I decluttered once does not mean I don’t need to keep it up! (I suspect that’s where you’ll end up going with this blog??)


    • I’m so glad you found me. Not paying for shipping is a great motivator. I find myself asking if I want to pay something’s “rent” anymore. Today I got rid of a Sleep Number Sheep. Goodness knows how I got it in the first place but it was definitely time to find it a better home. After the great purge, I will probably go to a 10 things a day maintenance program. With kids and all their little things it’s not unusual for me to bring in that many bit and pieces in a day. Plus, I suspect this decluttering thing will never really be finished anyway. Thanks for commenting!

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