I used photography to notice my overwhelming presence in the world. I tried to take pictures of everything I own, and the fact that I had to edit them made me realise that if I had fewer things I would have spent less time finishing this post, and also I would spend less time in my life cleaning and taking care of things I haven’t used for a long while.
I took pictures of all the things I own because last week I made the commitment to count them and compare them to the 288 things that Joshua Fields owns (The Minimalists).
In the Minimalists’ post, there are some rules, so I tried to stick to them in order to make a fair comparison. However, I had to change a few of them, for as he says: “my game, my rules”. I was really strict with the things that really matter to me, the things that I feel I own too many of, and where I could make an improvement; but for the life tools and accessories, I made my own rules.
I have so many hair and skin products that I didn’t want to waste time counting them, and I’ve decided to consume all of them before buying any new ones, plus now I’m going to stick to just one product for each necessity: no more 10 different bottles of shampoo, creams with different fragrances, etc.
Also, I made my own rules with the kitchen items; I feel I have exactly what I need, and I have a crockery painted by a famous artist that I won in a raffle. I didn’t count every piece, the whole thing has 156 pieces which I am not going to count individually.
Well, with no more explanations, here are my things:
Life Tools and Accessories: 15 (beauty products (let’s say 10), bicycle, guitar, ukelele, keyboard, books).
Consumables: same as his 5 (5 groups of items, including food, cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, office supplies, and paper goods).
Kitchen Items: 53 items (utensils, pots, pans, etc).
Bathroom Items: 4 (toilet brush, trash can, towels).
Electronics: 9 (laptop, mobile, ipod, hard disk, massager, music equipment).
Furniture: 16 (2 sofas, puff, bed, night tables, coffee tables, chairs, etc).
Decorations: 10 (2 plants, 4 photo frames, flower vase, boxes, etc).
Clothes: 217 (including everything).
A total of 329! I think it is not bad considering I am just at the beginning of this new journey.
Joshua Fields concludes that his list is good because he uses everything he owns. I don’t. That is why I need to make big changes in my life tools and accessories, and in my clothes; with the rest of things, I am pretty satisfied because I use all of them.
Another important matter that I must work on: nothing should define me. I am attached to some things I have received as gifts, and to my favourite grey sweater.
Last week I promised a second tip and this is it: measure your things and place them to scale in a picture so you can see how much space they are taking around you. Try to make an estimate of how much your things measure, like your clothes or the things in the kitchen.
Here are my things:
I am satisfied because much of my space is used by my furniture. For you, use a grid and place your things, for example in this one every 3 squares are equivalent to 1 meter, so, for example, the sofa is 2×1 square meters.
I made a pile of the clutter of the things I am not sure about. I am currently evaluating them and I am trying to save only the things that I use. Not just in case things, and even though it is hard, try not to save sentimental things that don’t have a purpose.
I hope this tip helps you, it has helped me a lot!
Do you have any thoughts? Do you have a method you find useful to evaluate the material things that surround you?
I am trying another experiment for next week. Regarding clothes, after defining my colour palette, there is a whole list of tips to get rid of what is unnecessary.