Towards the end of last week, I went through a bit of a creative block, so, like the very normal person I am, I decided to count all the things I own.
Minimalism, generally, is a lifestyle of owning fewer things, and only the things you need.
Umm, why would anyone want to own fewer things? A number of reasons actually, such as:
It allows you to organize and streamline your life better (it’s easier to keep track of everything you own when they’re fewer);
It’s good for the environment (in your small way, by owning fewer things, you’re saving the environment from wastefulness and pollution); and
You stop being a slave to your things (a lot of times, we own things just for the sake of owning them, but by owning only the things we need, we are able to mentally take back control over our possessions).
Minimalism is not a one size fits all. On the more extreme end, you’ve probably even heard that you need to own less than 100 things, for you to be a minimalist. The thing is though, there are a lot of people who own less than 100 things, but are not necessarily minimalists. The issue therefore isn’t in the exact number of things you own, but rather, whether you need all those things or not.
Counting all the things I own
During the course of reading all these articles, I decided I wanted to take an inventory of the things I own, and find out if I own more than I need. My aim for this was to go through my possessions to see how better I could incorporate sustainable living into my life, and to make sure I wasn’t embodying duplicity, by owning multiple items that I don’t need. I’m going to limit this list to my personal possessions, i.e. my clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty, skin care, and body products, accessories, etc. I didn’t include items such as the clock on the wall, or household items, as they didn’t fit into my ‘personal possessions’ criteria.
Also, I should mention that I had the time to do this because I needed to distract myself from all my uncompleted blog post ideas that I had started. I was having trouble with my creative flow, and I needed to do something to reset my mind. It worked out great, because I got to write this blog post, and I had some fun doing this activity!
Okay, here we go, what I own.
Including fancy & casual tops, jeans, sweatpants, sweaters, & jackets, blouses, dresses, skirts, and miscellaneous items i.e. socks, undergarments, leggings, stockings, etc.
Including flat shoes, sports shoes, heels, official shoes, boots, slippers, and sandals.
Accessories and bags 23
Including earrings, necklaces, rings, belts, scarves, bags, and hats.
Bathroom & personal hygiene items 30
Including toothbrushes, shower stuff (including soaps, towels and robes), wipes, and feminine products (these have been counted in terms of packets). I also included other items such as wipes, sanitizer, spirit, dettol, bandages etc.
Beauty products (make-up and make-up tools) 35
Including foundations, concealers, mascaras, lashes, brushes and beauty sponges, powders, contour pallets, (I think all the men reading this blog post stopped reading at this point, ladies we attack at midnight) lipglosses, setting sprays, highlighters, eye shadow pallets, etc.
Skincare, hair care & body products 32
Including cleansers, masks, toners, moisturizers, serums, sunscreen, lotions, hair oils, combs, hair clips, wigs, and perfumes.
Including novels, storybooks, poetry books, writing notebooks, old books from school, folders, and some stationery.
So, there it is, all the stuff I call ‘mine’.
So, you might be wondering, Mumbi, what exactly have you learned from this exercise?
Well, the best part about creating this list wasn’t even knowing exactly how many things I own, but more so taking an inventory of my life. It took the better part of an entire day to carry out this exercise, as I kept getting distracted when I stumbled on items I hadn’t seen in a while, or haven’t used for an extended period of time.
The next question I asked myself after looking at my complete number was, how attached am I to these things? If I was in a hurry to leave, how many things would I take with me? I was happy with myself for the most part, because most of the things I own, I actually use in one way or another.
I also have a lot of ‘just in case’ items. I’ve owned a guitar for years (I counted it under electronics), that I haven’t picked up for a long time. I still have it though, because one day I might learn how to play it. Also, I own a few pairs of heels that haven’t seen the light of day in a good minute, but I still keep them, because I never know when I might go out on a date, you know?
I don’t consider myself a minimalist, and I don’t have a burning desire to own less than 100 things, however, having an inventory of all the things I own now allows me to organize my life better. I’m also now in a better position to avoid acquiring things in multiplicity, because I know what I already have.
Also, I’m now able to pick out the things I don’t use often, and I can consider getting rid of some stuff.
Is 394 a lot of things? I don’t know, but I know that there are people with waaaaay more things. As I said earlier, I don’t think it’s about the exact number of the things you own, but of what value those things add to your life.
Thanks for reading!