Everything I Own

 

I never tell people I'm a "minimalist". It's not a term I identify myself with, and it's so broad and confusing I prefer not to adopt the label. Not buying too much- that's something I can get behind. I want to have a simple home and balanced lifestyle. I don't hold myself to strict numbers, i.e. I can only wear ten pieces of clothing per season. That's just what I happen to use and feel comfortable maintaining.

If my inbox is any indicator, this is the most-requested post, one I hesitated writing because simplicity isn't a numbers game (also because I thought it would take too long). I finally decided to because it shows the way I live and the stuff I have isn't so different after all (also it took fifteen minutes to count, tally, and list everything). I told my husband how many items we had last night and he was shocked. "That's a lot!" he said. He promptly gave away a big bag of clothes he didn't like or wear :)

What I Have


Clothing


  1. Winter coat 
  2. Rain coat 
  3. Boots
  4. Heels
  5. Sneakers
  6. Pumps
  7. Gloves
  8. Silk scarf
  9. Purse
  10. Cotton shirtdress 
  11. Red dress
  12. Navy dress
  13. Pink dress
  14. Cardigan
  15. Wool skirt
  16. Grey t-shirt
  17. Green t-shirt
  18. Jeans
  19. Leggings
  20. Seven pairs socks
  21. Seven pairs underwear
  22. Two bras
  23. Nightgown
  24. One pair tights
  25. Umbrella in carrying case
  26. Sunglasses
  27. Wedding ring
  28. Watch
Updated 9/24/2015. Not included: Boxes, dustbags, or belts (I have two) included with garments.

Bathroom / Toiletries

  1. Four toothbrushes
  2. Stone toothbrush holder
  3. Wooden soap dish
  4. Glass mouthwash bottle
  5. Razor
  6. Blades
  7. Cup and carrying bag
  8. Wood and rubber brush
  9. Eyelash curler
  10. Tweezers
  11. Four bars of soap (we only use two at a time in the bathroom)
Not listed: My husband's cologne bottle, leather carrying case, glass shampoo bottle, toiletries, and electric razor.

Electronics

  1. One Macbook
  2. Two chargers
  3. One adapter
  4. One phone
  5. Three UV cables
  6. Modem and cables
  7. TV 
  8. Landline phone
  9. Speaker
  10. iPad mini

Appliances

  1. Refrigerator
  2. Oven
  3. Stovetop
  4. Combined laundry machine-dryer
  5. Kitchenaid mixer
  6. Moulinex food processor
  7. Vacuum cleaner
  8. Iron

Furnishings

  1. Kitchen table and four chairs
  2. Coffee table
  3. Couch
  4. Bed
  5. TV stand
  6. Componibili
  7. Chair
  8. Two wire shelves
  9. Five paper lanterns (on lightbulbs)

Linens

  1. Mattress
  2. Four pillows
  3. Duvet
  4. Mattress cover
  5. Sheet set: duvet cover, fitted sheet, and four pillowcases
  6. Four bath sheets
  7. One hand towel
  8. Six washcloths
  9. One blanket
  10. 11 dish towels
  11. 11 napkins
  12. 22 flour sack towels, for cleaning

Kitchen / Garden


  1. Two bars of soap
  2. Two glass vases
  3. Twelve pieces steel cutlery with box
  4. 25 each wooden forks, knives, and spoons
  5. Salad serving set (fork and spoon) with box
  6. 1 long handled saucepan
  7. 1 long handled pan
  8. 1 stock pot
  9. Two glass baking dishes
  10. One baking sheet, included with oven
  11. 1 set measuring cups
  12. 1 peeler
  13. 1 metal ladle
  14. 1 metal spatula
  15. 1 metal spoon
  16. 1 garlic press
  17. 1 knife
  18. 1 pizza / cake server
  19. Pepper mill
  20. Corkscrew
  21. Can opener
  22. 1 metal bowl
  23. 1 stoneware bowl
  24. Wooden cutting board
  25. 15 glass jars with rubber fittings and fasteners
  26. 10 wine glasses 
  27. 8 drinking glasses
  28. 1 carafe
  29. 6 glass bottles
  30. 8 each stoneware plates and bowls
  31. 4 teacups with saucers
  32. 1 mortar and pestle
  33. 4 copper mugs
  34. Dish brush
  35. Bottle brush
  36. Glass sprayer bottle
  37. Glass pump bottle (empty)

Other


  1. Wicker shopping cart
  2. Five small linen produce bags
  3. One bread bag
  4. Two knitted produce bags
  5. Five reusable shopping bags
  6. Six handkerchiefs
  7. One camera with case and charger
  8. Two cat carriers
  9. One cat brush
  10. Cat tree
  11. Six cat toys (four were gifts)
  12. Cat passports and leashes
  13. One litterbox and stainless scoop
  14. Bamboo cat feeder with two stainless steel bowls
  15. One rubber and wood lint brush
  16. Ironing board
  17. One roll of tape
  18. One bag of baking soda
  19. One mailing tube
  20. One metal document organizer
  21. Three repurposed shoeboxes, used for storage
  22. Seven frames with photos / art / vintage ephemera, on walls
  23. One passport with holder, two bank cards, one driver's license, one frequent flyer miles card
  24. 30 books and magazines (includes my husband's books)
  25. One notebook
  26. One folder
  27. One pen
  28. Two suitcases
  29. Two luggage tags
  30. Two wall hangings
  31. A dozen needles and two spools of thread
  32. Nails, hammer, and small tool set with mini drill
  33. Personal set of keys and spares
  34. 1 bicycle helmet
  35. 10 stamps
  36. 24 envelopes
  37. Four sheets of scrap paper and scrap ribbon, which I need for an upcoming project (and post!)
I've included consumables where requested. Reviewing our household purchases from January 2014 until now, we bought a wooden soap dish, three plastic-free brushes, and another cat carrier- the cats are too big for one carrier now. The dish prevents soap waste. A bottle brush makes cleaning reusable bottles easier, a rubber brush removes lint and fur, and a wooden brush cleans and detangles hair. The other household additions were gifts. Unless I counted wrong, I have 480 things, both personal and shared; with my husband's stuff, there are likely about 700 items in this apartment. Our apartment doesn't seem so empty when you put it in these terms, especially considering the average American household with kids turned up 2260 visible items.

I haven't read the 100 Things Challenge, but my first thought was it wasn't something I'll be taking soon. I'm not sure what I would let go, since 'unnecessary' items (pictures, wall hangings, beloved books) are what makes this flat a home. It's eye-opening, how attached to possessions I can be, and shows I'm just as much of a consumer as anyone else. I've started to spend time looking for things, which may signal a need to pare down, saving time spent keeping track of and maintaining items. While I'm determined not to live a life ruled by numbers, this illustrates how easy it is to acquire stuff without realizing it, and forces me to think about my priorities. Do I really need it all? This post contains Shopstyle affiliate links. If you click on them, I make a commission. Thanks for your continuing support!


Paris to Go

33 comments:

  1. Thank you for this honest post. I appreciate how you open your life to inspire and encourage us. I've read some of the posts you refer to, and not just the 100 things challenge, but some of the 50 items lists and 47 item lists. They don't ring true because they don't count even half the things you did, and I wouldn't doubt that if someone looked into one of those self-proclaimed minimalist homes, they would have just as much, if not more. It's refreshing to see how you don't take a pseudospiritual stance on minimalism, which I find completely annoying. I must say, I sometimes found myself wondering how many you had of a certain item, though I've never emailed you myself!

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    1. Thanks Jane! You are so sweet! I'd rather not be preachy about minimalism, especially since I don't care to define it myself. Thanks again!

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  2. It's fun to see what other people have. We have a small house by American terms and I am constantly pairing down. but I do like having some extras-expeicially towels and undies. It makes me feel safe.

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    1. Hi Jana! I think it's fun too, I'm very voyeuristic :) Yea, I understand the security feeling. Declutterers and professional organizers are always saying "Don't save things for the what-if occasions" but what if I need a different length needle in the future? What if I need that mailing tube to send something to the Us? And even though there are only two of us, it's nice having four towels, because you never know.

      I think it's ok to be prepared. We're still not hoarders, we're just ready for situations unknown !

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  3. Paring-down porn. Love.
    I've always noted and loved your husbands leather toiletries case. May I ask what brand it is (or where you've seen like items)? I have a perfectly acceptable travel bag that is still going strong after 10 years so in reality, it's unlikely I'd need to purchase. But a girl can dream :).

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    1. Hi Darcy! It's Umi. It's ten years old too I think...

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  4. could you add the brands of the clothing and kitchen utensils you use? i'm transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle, and your pieces looks so lovely.

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    1. Hi, thank you! My utensils don't have a brand, we tried to buy secondhand as much as possible. Our cutlery is all secondhand, and it's Arne Jacobsen for Georg Jensen, I have a Zyliss garlic press that was a gift and a WMF peeler. My pans are Lacor and Tefal, stainless steel with no teflon coating.

      For clothing, I'm not loyal to a particular brand, but the red and navy dresses are Dior, the pink dress is LK Bennett, the shirtdress is Prada and my t-shirts are Petit Bateau. The jeans are J Brand. They are all secondhand; I have two dresses we bought new in Indonesia from Ahimsa and Portobello, which are responsible local brands, but they kind of don't fit me now, so I'll see what I do with those! And the scarves don't have brands on them, they were gifts.

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  5. A great book that gives a global perspective on the # of things we own is Material World:

    http://www.amazon.com/Material-World-Global-Family-Portrait/dp/0871564300

    It's from 1995, before the current boom of fast fashion and Walmart really hit, so I'd be interested in seeing an update.

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    1. We had this book when I was a child. Very interesting. Even back then, I loved looking at it with a slightly repulsed curiosity.

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  6. Wow. Jen, that is stunning. I must read it now! Thanks for the recommendation ! Reminds me of Gabriele Galimberti's Toy Stories, not quite an update but a little more recent showing kids around the world with their prized possessions. The contrast turned my stomach a little bit.

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  7. I've read this book and it's fascinating though, as she indicates, outdated. But reall, really interesting.

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    1. I wonder, if someone were to do this now, if it would be incredibly depressing...

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  8. I was hoping to get a glimpse of your books.

    And you are one brave women. To go in - counting and to publish this list.

    I have always wondered about how people who own 100 things cook, eat, store and entertain.

    Were you ever tempted to buy something solely for the purpose of using it to blog ? Like a prop or photo equipment ?

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  9. Hi Archana! Actually, it's funny you say that because one of my husband's friends, a photographer, wants me to buy some lights and a DSL camera for this blog. At the time he suggested it, I said no, because maybe people might think I wasn't being simple. But he pointed out I shouldn't let other people's judgments rule my life. My husband just gave away a bunch of clothes, for instance, and I'd love to photograph his beautiful streamlined side of the closet now, but it's impossible with the lack of light over there, and it would be nice to have some equipment...

    Your blog photos are so beautiful, do you have any recommendations? To be honest, I have a beautiful Leica I rarely use because it's one more thing to keep track of when I'm out and about... and having a phone is so handy because I can upload pictures directly to blogger from there. So it's something I'm thinking about.

    Here are the books I moved here with (I hope you can see these!):

    [img]https://scontent-fra3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t34.0-12/1477542_10152085650990421_659449774_n.jpg?oh=217b1076fed489bc308cf19c24fdef6a&oe=5578450F[/img]

    [img]https://scontent-fra3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/970079_10151688119470421_402707630_n.jpg?oh=333f34f6928fc5785fb1b54a335240fa&oe=5602A036[/img]
    [img]https://scontent-fra3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/297607_256645491033627_672906274_n.jpg?oh=cfd735a2d802a0a444e38bea5c0fed63&oe=55E9C399[/img]

    You can see our current (almost) book collection here: http://www.paris-to-go.com/2014/12/keep-your-paris-apartment-clean-and-organized-in-10-minutes-a-day.html

    Since then we've added a Nick Hornby book and Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson... I want to get rid of a few books I won't read anymore and bring some vintage books I have in the US. Shakespeare and Company accepts books for resale. I have maybe ten books left at my old house. The current occupant (my sister) is moving soon so I have to get them out. While she was living there they looked so nice in her bookshelf I hated to move them haha!

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    1. One solution maybe : they make these lamps that can be used as desk lamps / bed side lamps / or room lighting. Ones that you could attach to a tripod. I have seen them in some minimalist travelling photographer homes. They move them around as needed. I have one that I bought because I work in the night when my husband sleeps - for a desk lamp. I move it into the closet or living room as needed for additional lighting when I photograph things around home.

      Maybe your photographer friend could lend you some when you need.

      Also, I actually admire you for standing your ground on not purchasing additional equipment for conspicuous consumption. I think that is how things come in ( my case ).

      A Leica ! I cant help but be excited about it. But if you wait long enough, cellphone cameras are catching up.

      - Archana.

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  10. I noticed you don't have scissors on this list. Is that an oversight or do you really not have any? Cute cats, btw!

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    1. It's not an oversight :) We just use a knife for everything! I found some vintage Japanese scissors on Etsy, made of iron, for a great price, but they're all the way in Thailand... hoping to find some here, because I'm really not opposed to using scissors, I just want a secondhand iron pair, not a plastic handled one!

      And thank you from the cats...

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  11. I love this post! Thank you for sharing...very help and motivating.

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  12. That Time article is so depressing and worrisome for modern western culture. Just one quote: “Dual-income parents get to spend so very little time with their children on the average weekday, usually four or fewer waking hours. This becomes a source of guilt for many parents, and buying their children toys, clothes and other possessions is a way to achieve temporary happiness during this limited timespan.” That just breaks my heart for the parents and the children.

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    1. Exactly! It's so costly, emotionally, to replace time and affection with things.

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  13. I think I need to go through my things. This post doesn't make me guilty, but it does get me thinking. I frequently go through our things, but it's been a couple months and some detris has built up.

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    1. Even for us! There are things we haven't used in two years. I hope I don't make anyone feel guilty, it's just an interesting exercise for anyone to do.

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  14. Such a comprehensive list! I keep coming back to it as I plan to work my way to a less wasteful lifestyle. Could you please tell us where you got your glass spray bottle? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Nicole! It's reused from an old Aesop mouthwash container and the sprayer I got off an old glass cleaner bottle.

      I have a link to a similar product here: http://www.paris-to-go.com/2014/05/zero-waste-cleaning-paris.html

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  15. Just found your blog this morning. Have been reading it for hours now. I love it and your way of life and your dedication. I have visited many minimalist (though you don't define yourself as such, which I love too) blogs, but this is the first time I am commenting on one. Please don't stop sharing your lifestyle, we can all learn and be inspired by you. Thank you.

    I do have three questions:
    1) I love your apartment and was curious about not seeing any window coverings. I would love to have my windows without curtains and let the light in all the time, but can't due to privacy. How do you manage privacy?
    2) Do your windows have screens on them as they do in the US? I knew a German lady who removed all her screens from her windows and doors in the US because she felt they were unhealthy and prevented the natural flow of air and light.
    3) Also, I noticed there are no shower curtains. How do you avoid getting the water from splashing on the bathroom floor. Thanks!

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    1. Hi! Thank you so much. We're not allowed to install the hardware for window coverings (we rent), but there are metal shutters outside the windows, which we close for privacy. We don't have screens on the windows, I actually don't know anybody who does here! Bugs don't really get in though. Or maybe they do, and the cats eat them, I don't know :) There's a swinging glass panel on our bathtub to prevent the water from splashing. All the apartments by this architect have them, and it's much easier to clean and maintain. I'll never go back to shower curtains again!

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    2. Thanks, Ariana, for your reply. I see the glass door now on the tub. You are so sweet to reply to all your commenters.

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