Daily Use

Each day I read about 15 different blogs and websites.  A couple these are focused on the news (CNN), a couple are focused on humor (Break.com and Icanhascheezburger.com), but because of some changes I’m trying to make in my own life, because of some habits I’m trying to build in my character, most of the sites I check daily are devoted to frugality, personal organization, personal development, and minimalism.

Sunday I was reading about the 100 Thing Challenge on one of the sites devoted to attaining and maintaining a minimalist lifestyle. This writer was describing how he had arrived at the decision to try and limit his possessions to just 100 items. He, the blog author, had reached a point in his life where he felt his living space was to cluttered, and that the clutter was impacting not only his physical space, but also his “mental space”. He was fed up with the clutter, and in a larger sense with the “consumerist” lifestyle. He decided to see if he could limit all of his possessions to just 100 things.

Think about that; think about limiting all of your possessions to just one hundred items. I have been thinking about it for the last couple of days, and my thoughts go kind of like this:

1. Despite a very great desire on my part to simplify my life in a number of ways, despite a very great desire to de-clutter my life, I don’t think I am any where near ready to limit my total possessions to just 100 items. I want to maintain a minimalists lifestyle, but I want to do it without limiting my hobbies or interests. I’m sure that is possible, but I will have to think some more to figure out how to do it.

2. If one were to so limit one’s possessions to such a small number, they would have to be items that were used regularly, if not every day. I don’t have an idea of the actual number of items I own, and I have not thought about the number of items I actually use on a daily, or near daily basis.

3. Now, that would be an interesting project: Track every item I own that I gets used for a week, or maybe for a month. In order to do that I would have to define what, exactly, is meant by “gets used”? Is reading a book the same as “using” a book? I would also have to rather carefully define other terms. “Computer” would include all the peripherals like monitor, keyboard, power cords, mouse, etc. “Television” would include  the television, cable converter box/tivo and remote control.

I had a lot of other thoughts, but the main thing I wanted to report is that I decided to track what items I actually use on a daily basis. I’m going to do it for at least a week, starting today. Just to keep things simple, I’m not going to include furniture items, but if I decide to extend this experiment after the first week I might decide to start including furniture.  Oh, I’m also not going to report on the clothes I wear, although, again, those items might get included if I expand this project. I will, when appropriate, list what the item was used for, and in cases of items that have more than one feature that is used, I’ll  list all the features that were used.

So, let’s start:

January 4, 2011: Used item list:
1. Alarm clock – wake up alarm
2. Cell phone: alarms, timer, and phone.
3.  2 towels
4. Shaving brush & shaving soap mug
5. Kitchen knife
6. 2 water bottles.
7. Computer system : Multiple uses.
8. Truck.
9. Ipod
10. Cigarette lighter.
11. Truck
12. 3 different fountain pens
13. 1 highlighter
14. Call log note book: used at work to track the accounts I worked during the day
15. Clip board and spare paper
16. Daily log notebook
17. Digital Camera
18. Kindle
19. lap top computer.
20. saucepan
21. Serving bowl
23. serving spoon
24. Fork
25. Desk lamp
26. Messenger bag.
27. 2 pairs of bent nose pliers.
28. drinking glass.
29. Trash can.

…and that’s where I stopped keeping notes for the day. Not even a full day, and not counting clothing, or things like my wallet, etc., and I’ve already used 29 items. I know this probably doesn’t interest anybody but me, but it DOES interest me.

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