I first realized the power of counting when Jane, a member of my team at Changing Spaces SRS (the senior move management company I’ve owned and run for the last 10 years) told me a story about a conversation she had with one of her co-workers a few years back, before she came to work for Changing Spaces SRS. The co-worker had been talking about how full her closet was, and that she had over 80 pairs of shoes – believe it or not. Jane actually couldn’t believe it. How terrible! How excessive! Impossible to believe that someone would have so many shoes! So Jane decided that she would go home that night and count how many pairs of shoes she had….
Much to her surprise she discovered that she had 103 pairs of shoes!! It was a wake-up moment for Jane. And it can be a wake-up moment for you, as well. Counting is a powerful and very useful way to face the reality of your stuff. So do yourself a favor and run through this checklist. I guarantee that you’ll be surprised at some of your answers.
How many coffee mugs do you have? ______________
How many wine glasses do you have? ____________
How many sweaters do you own? _______________
How many sets of sheets? ______________
How many sets of towels? _____________
How many pairs of jeans and/or casual pants do you own? ______________
How many casserole dishes do you have? _______________
How many pie plates? ____________________
How many pairs of shoes? _______________
How many belts do you own? _______________
For women: How many purses? _____________________
For women: How many necklaces do you own? _____________
For women: How many pairs of earrings? _______________
For women: How many bracelets? _____________
For men: How many ties do you own? _________________
Now, try to cut this number by 50%. Yes, cut it in half. Does that leave you with a reasonable number of items? For instance, if you had six pie plates before, could you get by with just three? If you had eight purses, what would it look like if you had to pick your favorite four? What if you downsized from 23 wine glasses to just 11 or 12 wine glasses? I think you will be able to agree that in most cases, cutting your possessions in half is completely doable.
This exercise opens your eyes and your mind to the reality of your stuff, and how much of it you actually need. It can also be helpful when dealing with a collection of any kind. If you know you can’t keep it all, pick a reasonable number and stick to it. For instance:
-From your doll collection, keep your favorite 5.
-From your baseball cap collection, choose the 10 best
-Out of all your lladro figurines, select 15 which will display nicely in a small curio cabinet
This exercise gets you to prioritize your items and truly identify what matters most to you. Sure, you might really like all your sweaters, but what if you had to pick only your 12 favorites? Would that be enough? My answer, of course, is yes.