Let me ask you something. How many coffee mugs do you own? Do you even know?
The lady we’re currently house-sitting for has 25 mugs. In case you’re wondering, she lives alone.
Sporty and I owned two mugs when we still had permanent digs. Admittedly, that’s a little extreme, but we were busy with a new lifestyle experiment at the time.
Granted, we didn’t entertain. But even if you are more sociable than we are, how often do you have 24 people around for coffee?
In case you’re wondering, two is plenty.
Clutter Stats That Will Blow Your Mind
These surprising statistics reveal just how much stuff the average American owns. Our Stateside friends aren’t the only ones with a penchant for hoarding, however.
Here in South Africa we’re no better and my guess is it’s as bad elsewhere in the western world. The stats are all pretty shocking in their own right, but this one really made me sit up and take note.
“Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.” [The Daily Mail]
How on earth can you lose as many as nine things in a day? Sporty and I rarely misplace anything, although I guess it’s hard to lose stuff when you own as little as we do.
When Last Did You Take Stock of Your Stuff?
The thing is, we still take stock of our stuff on a regular basis. Every few months (sooner if we’re moving to a new house-sit) we go through everything we own to see if we still need it or not.
We inventory our clothes to make sure they’re still in good condition. We go through our paperwork and whatnot to see if there’s anything we no longer need. The process never takes very long because we don’t have a lot to go through.
Whatnot in particular has a habit of multiplying, so we tend to keep a close on it.
But even you’re a house or apartment dweller, it won’t take too long if you a) declutter first, b) stay decluttered and c) take stock on a regular basis.
How Many Coffee Mugs Do You Own?
Just like there’s more than one way to peel a carrot, options abound when it comes to decluttering. You could take Dave Bruno’s 100 Thing Challenge, approach it room by room or play the popular 30-day minimalism game.
Another option is to employ the gentle art of Swedish death cleaning, which sounds more macabre than it is. (If you’re not convinced it’s a good idea, here’s what I learnt from cleaning out my parents’ home.)
Figuring out how to declutter when you don’t know where to begin can be tricky. When you’re surrounded by stuff it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Similar in theory to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird approach, my suggestion is to take it mug by mug.
When you’ve pared down your mug collection, take it bowl by bowl and then teaspoon by teaspoon and so on. Until eventually all you’re left with is a reasonable amount of stuff.