Thursdays with Deb J ~ While Making an Inventory

Deb J

Deb J

I’ve been taking an inventory of what we own. I’ve never done this to the extent I am doing it right now. It’s for insurance purposes but also because I really want to know. What do we own? Do we need to own it?

I’m not listing every little thing. For instance, I listed things like 8 place settings of Corelle dishes rather than each individual one. I listed 8 place settings of Oneida stainless. I made sure to take pictures so that I could “show” what we own. I have a long way to go to finish the list as we still own lots of things.

When I started this list I took pictures first, pictures of the big pieces of furniture, shelving units, behind doors and inside drawers in cupboards, and in closets. Now I am in the listing portion. I’m excited to say that we have two empty cupboards—over the refrigerator and the stove. Then it gets complicated. We have all these other cupboards that are full. Not full to the brim but well populated.

As I was taking pictures I realized that we still had too much. That’s when I began decluttering more from the scrapbook supplies, the books, and the shed. But still we need to declutter more. Where do I see the issues? Books. Ribbon. Plastic food storage containers. Specialty dishes we haven’t used in the 20 years my father has been gone. Clothes in Mom’s closets. “Stuff” in the two bathroom closets. Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

I am glad to report that my mother is beginning to see that we have too much. It helps to have the pictures and all the pages and pages of inventory. I realized something. Anyone can see what needs to still be done in their home without going to the time and stress of making an inventory. You don’t even need to take pictures. Oh, I admit both help. But, the big thing is just looking. Really looking.

If you open a door and something at the back of the shelf has you wondering what it is, you probably don’t need it. If the only time you open a drawer is to see what is in it, you probably don’t need that stuff either. If you were to sit down and just list the hiding spots (drawers, cupboards, other storage) in a room and you don’t know what is in each one, you might need to declutter. Think about it a while. Go through your house and do a mental inventory by taking quick mental pictures. How many new things do you see that you can work on? Good luck!!

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I think the photos and list are both good tools to see if there is more to declutter, besides being useful for insurance purposes…a good project to see if you are done decluttering or if there is more you could do.

  2. This is such a good idea. I have gotten rid of so much, but I know there is still more . . . there! See it?! Lurking in the hidden places!! Certainly a project worth doing.

  3. Deb J – I have to admit there’s something about viewing items in a photo that seems to switch on the analytical part of the brain. I need to get back onto finishing my inventory, thanks for the reminder.

  4. I like this activity. Things get overlooked sometimes because they are stowed away out of sight. If I look with a fresh perspective in closets, cabinets, or drawers, and consider how much of these things get used, especially if it is stuck in the back of a storage area, I am likely to change my mind about the usefulness of such things.

  5. And the other thing about doing an inventory is that when you actually have to write or type in the quantities you find yourself asking “do I really need 3 of ???” or “do I really need that many ????”.

    • Just another thought – I realised as I was doing my inventory that I had 4 large serving bowls when I knew for a fact that I should only have 3. My sis in law bought the same generic ones from The Warehouse and had brought something in it when they came for dinner last. She was happy to get it back and I was all wahoo cause something else went out the door!

  6. Hello from France

    I am moving to morrow and I realize I’ve have too much stuff. it is too late to declutter while packing but I will definetely use both ideas whille unpacking. I already let go of furniture and I must declutter before buying new furniture. The point is : how long will I wait before choosing a new wardrobe and a new cabinet ?

    • Nicole 86, welcome to 365 Less Things. Good luck with your move. Hopefully, you will take a while to choose anything new and give it lots of thought. Good luck with that too. It sounds like you are being smart about it all.

    • Hi Nicole 86 – decluttering while packing is a great time to be decluttering – and can I suggest that at the other end ie when you’re unpacking, to do some more decluttering as you see how things do and don’t fit as you allocate their new homes.

      New furniture – when you say wardrobe, does your new home have a built in wardrobe? Or do you have to provide one? If so I imagine that you’ll need to acquire one quite quickly, unless you can use a hanging rack or something temporary if you want to take a bit longer to decide what you want.

  7. To Moni – Hi, I don’t know if you’ve seen my answer to your comment (on the other article).
    I just went to the recycling place with my best friend, I’ve made two travels (other things to recycle. Not done yet, but we can call it a day). I’ve recycled the thing. I’m mentally exhausted. I’ll have to get used to it not being there (though I’ve kept a piece I love). I don’t know how I feel for now, but no matter what, that’s just a thing, the memories, the story will always be with me.

    About the article: I don’t have a lot but I am purging. I’m going through my stuff to see what no longer brings me positive feelings. It’s a mental process as well.

    • Cindy I – that was such a big step for you. Yes you are right, memories live in our minds and hearts not in objects. I’m glad your best friend went with you to give you the support you needed. I feel you are at a stage where you want to move forward, but don’t be afraid to seek help if you feel stuck or lost or whatever. My family went thru a major loss some years ago and professional help helped alot.

  8. Great post Deb J.
    I keep thinking I’m wining in the great household de-clutter but it never ceases to amaze me how suddenly, when I look again,I can see things for the first time that have sat in the same place for aeons.

    Another good technique, along with the photo idea, is to remove everything from a shelf/cabinet/cupboard, and then actively choose to put back only what you know you use/love.

    • Doodle, yes, to “remove everything from a shelf/cabinet/cupboard, and then actively choose to put back only what you know you use/love” is a great idea too. You can even do that to a room either by taking everything out or everything but the furniture.