Do you know every item that you own? I thought I did.
There is a quote that is contributed to William Morris that says ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,’ and since the first time I heard it I've tried to use it as motivation to downsize and simplify my life.
While I’ve always been fairly mindful and proud of my frugal ways, I've moved house twice in the last two years and each time I have downsized more and more. Each time I was very proud of myself for ridding my home of unnecessary clutter, and each time I was sure that I now owned only what I needed – or loved.
A few weeks ago - having made the decision to give my new house a fresh coat of paint, I visited my local hardware store to buy not only the paint but all the paraphernalia that goes along with it; brushes, roller covers and a roller tray. Two days later I went looking for a pair of pliers in my shed and came across a box with brand new paintbrushes and roller covers that had been left over from painting the last house. I had put them away and forgotten about them.
More recently, I moved a box in the bottom of my wardrobe and discovered a shirt that must have fallen from its hanger and dropped behind it. I hadn’t seen the shirt since just after I bought it and hadn’t missed it at all. In fact, I had completely forgotten that I owned it.
It started me thinking about how many shirts and other items of clothing I own and how many I actually need, and eventually led me to thinking once more about everything in my home. For someone who practices and preaches simplicity and frugality, I still think I own too much stuff.
Owning more than we need – or can keep track of – not only makes more work for us, but can actually cost us dearly in both money and time.
So I’m setting myself a mission: I’m going to start an inventory of every item I own – from the pots and pans in my cupboard to the books in my bookshelf and everything else. Anything I haven’t used since I moved in, anything I have doubled-up on or anything I’d forgotten I owned will go.
I’m looking forward to this for three reasons: To save time, to save money and to even make a little money by selling off what I don’t need. A triple win!