Minify by the Numbers

I’ve been thinking about what it means to live a pared down life. How much is too much? When is it good to have a spare, and when is one enough? Here’s the current state of things at my house, for comparison’s sake:

  • Number of wrist watches owned: 1 (Timex Weekender)
  • Number of bike panniers: 1, but sometimes I think a second would be handy
  • Number of iChargers: 2, plus a car charger! 
  • Pairs of shoes: 15 (yikes! this is definitely too many)
  • Purses: 2 (one big enough for school books, one little one for weekends, both casual)
  • Raincoats: 2 (a sporty one and a work one)
  • Winter coats: wayyyy too many – I have a vintage coat problem. No, really. I have a Skittles rainbow of vintage coats, and can’t bring myself to part with many…I think there are at least 8.
  • Pairs of jeans: 6. WHY DO I OWN 6 PAIRS OF JEANS?!
  • Black pants: 1 (my closet makes no sense)
  • Pottery place settings: 8, less the pieces we’ve broken…
  • Boxes waiting to go to the thrift store: 5
  • Cars: 1 (shared), plus a farm truck waiting to come live with us
  • Bikes: 1 (mine)
  • Sweaters: at least 20
  • Sweaters I actually love: about 5
  • Alarm clocks: 1 (shared)
  • Bookbags: 1, plus a messenger bag
  • Bedside tables: 1 (mine; Josh just doesn’t have one)
  • Pajama shorts/pants: 5
  • Bathrobes: 3 (winter; summer; kimono)
  • Fancy dresses: 4 (3 from bridesmaiding…)
  • Fancy pairs of shoes: 1
  • Board games: 13! 
  • Cats: 3, all foundlings
  • Dogs: 1 hound/lab mix
  • Fish: 11 (all cohabiting in one 30 gallon tank)
  • People: 2 (no housemates at the moment! It’s a new feeling. We’re still adjusting).
  • Lamps: 3
  • Computers: 1 of my own, plus Josh’s 2
  • TVs: 1 (we watch Netflix, but never real TV)
  • Rugs: 1
  • Curtains: 2, in our bedroom
  • Throw pillows: 0
  • Throw blankets: 4, all handmade by loved ones (and we use them!)
  • Candles: 3
  • Dog toys: 18 (Arlo is decidedly unminimalist)

So that’s the breakdown of stuff at our place. Some of it is very pared down (the shared car, for example, or the single watch), and some of it is NOT (how can I possibly have so many shoes?!) Project 333 has made me ever more aware of how much stuff I have, and how little of it I actually need or enjoy having. Simplicity, I keep reminding myself, is a process, not a destination. There’s a scavenger hunt happening on the Project 333 page for aspiring minimalists –  I think some of the steps (like 10 books, or 2 winter coats) would be really good for me, and others (throw pillows? we don’t have any) we’ve already gotten ahead on. This is my challenge for May: I will part with at least one winter coat, 5 books, and a kitchen item. And a pair of shoes!



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