I counted all my stuff and…
So much stuff. Everywhere.
Today, May 28th, 2021. I’ve finished counting all my personal belongings.
I am the numbers guy and I always like to say:
The definition I use depends on a certain situation, but it’s fundamentally the same. That’s why for the last 10 years I’ve created metrics for my entire life. I’m counting everything I want to improve. From counting calories to improve my fitness and health to creating monthly and yearly budgets, taking care of my investment accounts, counting how many books I read so far, how many hours I spent reading, writing, meditating, going to the gym, etc.
I think this obsession with numbers came from my early childhood when I really liked to count money. When someone would bring money, they would always give me to count it. So here I am – counting my possessions.
By the sheer volume of things I count every single day you would think that counting my possessions would be the first thing I would do when I started minimalism. But you would be wrong — I’ve only counted my possessions twice. The first time was on April 30th, 2017. and the second time is now May 28th, 2021.
While I really enjoy the numbers to see if I’m improving day by day, month by month, year by year, I’ve never considered counting my possessions more times and I know why. The reason is that I was and still am afraid. Afraid to be portrayed as a liar. The worst kind of liar. A liar to myself.
If you come to my house today, you wouldn’t say I’m a minimalist. You might say: “This guy is really organized and doesn’t have too much stuff”. And that would be a true statement. If you compare me to the average person, I don’t really own much. But I always say I don’t want to be like the average person. I want to be a little better. At least 1% better, but better.
I want to be better for my wife, for my family, for my friends, for the world. I want to give more than I take from it. So, by my own standards, I still own too much. That’s why I didn’t count my stuff. Since I’m moving abroad soon, I know I can’t lie to myself anymore. I know I would need to pare down even further and take with me only the things I enjoy the most. That’s why I said to myself; Let’s do it, let’s count every single thing I own.
Before I get to the exact numbers, I just want to outline the rules I’ve imposed on myself. They are different for everyone, so if you want to count your own possessions, create them, or adopt mine, tailored to your own liking.
I am counting every single item that I consider only my own.
Shared items like furniture, kitchen utensils and, perishables didn’t get into account.
I am not pairing anything, not even underwear, socks, etc.; if I have 7 pairs of socks, then this is counted as 7, not as 1 of something.
No cheating because you are only deceiving yourself, not anyone else.
When you start, do nothing else until you’re done.
3 hours later, I finished.
I finished counting all my possessions. And here’s the bitter truth: I have too much stuff. I already knew that, but now I am fully aware of it. And I can’t run from the truth.
–dress shirts: 14
–casual shirts: 4
–suit jacket/sport coat: 3
–jackets and coats: 4
–sweaters, cardigans, vests: 14
–short pants: 11
–long sleeve T: 3
–short sleeve T: 35
-boxer briefs: 28
-tank tops: 9
–swimming trunks: 2
-formal shoes: 7
Bags, luggage: 10
Gym accessories: 29
-hats, scarves, gloves: 9
-wallets and cardholders: 6
-including car, car accessories, bicycle, water bottles, comb, pictures, Moleskine, Uni-pin pens, scissors, razors, etc.
Total count: 455
Too much of everything. That’s why I’ll pair-down even further. Until I am down to a number, I’m comfortable with. I plan to sell, give away, and trash some items above. Some of them are things of the past. I no longer wear lots of ties, cufflinks, belts, and watches matching the color of my shoes, etc. Therefore, many of these things will go soon. One part of my identity that I said goodbye a long time ago, but the sins of the past remained.
And who the hell needs 18 shirts, 14 sweaters, 9 pants, etc.??? Even if I want to, I can’t wear them all at once. I plan to remove most of the above items and leave just 2 or 3 or 5. Just how much I really need. Not too much, not too little.
The ultimate goal of my minimalism journey is to have less than 100 possessions. Including everything.
And everything I own has to fit in one suitcase, one carry-on bag, and one computer bag. I have a long way to go. But I know I can do it. In 5 years I’ve minimized over 80% of my possessions.
With the remaining 20%, the number is still huge. But I know I can do it, and I will do it.
The biggest challenge still awaits me; relocation overseas. I’m well aware that I can’t bring more than one suitcase, one carry-on, and maybe one laptop bag with me, so I know I will need to reduce my possessions sooner rather than later. Maybe then I will own less than 100 items. Maybe not. We’ll see. Life is a journey and we must enjoy it when we’re on it.
How much stuff do you have?
Are you afraid to know the real number? The actual truth?
P.S.: You don’t need to count your stuff to be a minimalist. But maybe in doing so, you can reveal something about yourself that you didn’t know is there.
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