I’ve used lists for years. I’ve made to-do lists, Christmas card lists, shopping lists, wish lists… you name it.
I’ve recently discovered another use for lists. As I work to reduce my stuff, I’ve learning the power of lists to create motivation and momentum.
the list of lists
It started in my study as I was reviewing all of my books. I have shelves of books. I have textbooks from my university years, fiction books, self help books, business books, among others. I started to list the books I owned.
Making the list was not easy. After adding all the books I owned with the exception of a few cook books I didn’t bother getting from the kitchen, the grand total was over 500 books!
The sad fact was I was discovering books on my selves that I hadn’t even read! I now know that having this many books blinded me to the few really precious ones I had. They were books that I kept set aside as I was making the inventory. I wanted to re-read these books, keep these books… or at least keep the content. The number of books I actually wanted to keep numbered less than 30.
Creating this inventory has opened my eyes to what I have; at least in the book department.
I’m starting to develop other inventories. I’m creating a list of lists. I made a list of the Christmas ornaments we have when I took down the tree this year. I’ll continue to create these lists to remind me of what I already have.
taking care of this stuff
Now some folks might think, I’ve lost my mind taking the time to inventory all these things. I’m doing it because it is creating a greater awareness in me of all my possessions. I already know that I have too much. I feel the burden of it.
I know when I am aware of what I have, I’ll make a better effort to care for it. I understand the value of each of my possessions. The other side effect is that I actually know what I have so I don’t buy an item again. I found one or two duplicate books in my stash. I can’t even say the extra copy was a gift!
I’m also editing my stuff as I go. I plan to sell or donate much of the stuff I no longer need. I’m going to use the proceeds to finance an eventual move to the west coast in British Columbia.
what did I learn?
I recall reading in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s lovely book Simple Abundance about only keeping what is sentimental, beautiful, and useful.
I’ve moved away from that foundation. I need to review and edit my things so I return to this foundation. It is going to take many months I’m sure, but I’ll get it done.
- Do you feel the burden of having too much stuff?
- Do you have plans to edit your things down to those items that give you the most joy?
Let me know about it in the comments. I’m eager to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading! If you found this information useful, informative or even entertaining, pass it along. I really appreciate it!
volume 1, issue 4