To read how my first week of the #LifeOverStuff experiment went, in which I counted the items in my bathroom, click here. This experiment involves counting items in your home to compare with the American average which can be anywhere from 30,000 to 300,000 items!
If you’ve been following along with my minimalist experiment, you will have noticed that there’s a big time gap between weeks one and two.
There’s a reasonable explanation for this. I had travelled back to my hometown for a week. Upon my return I had loads of work to catch up on. As I run my own content marketing agency, it’s not work I can just delegate to other people. I’m the head honcho, boss lady, girl boss.
But after a relatively productive week in which I’d gotten myself completely on top of client work, I finally had my chance. Last night when Ben went to bed, I stayed up to count.
Truthfully, I felt a little overwhelmed at the magnitude of the task at hand. I have a very large laundry with lots of storage including a walk-in cupboard. But it needed to be done.
So there I was, freshly showered, in my op-shop bought boys pyjamas counting items in my laundry. Systematically working through one cupboard, and then another, until I counted all items in four cupboards. I then counted what was on the bench and in our laundry cupboard.
I shouldn’t have attempted a count at 11pm because I was exhausted but I just wanted to get it over and done with. After what felt like an eternity which was was probably shy of an hour, and staring at a bowling bag of old documents and tax receipts from 2005 and 2006, thinking to myself, there is no friggin’ way I’m counting all of those individual sheets of paper, I’m just going to estimate 300 sheets of paper, I finally came to the end of the count.
Can you guess how many items were in my laundry?
A staggering 2200 items (give or take a couple of hundred each way because I decided not to count those documents I found in the bag).
Shocking right? Particularly if you compare it with the 173 items in my bathroom.
Why the massive number? Read on…
What items contributed most to the total?
For starters, we have lots of storage and as we all know, us humans love to fill space with stuff. Ben and I are no exception.
The laundry room is where we keep bathroom supplies (we stock up on toilet paper), cleaning supplies, pet supplies, bags filled with clothes (we don’t have a wardrobe yet so I keep most of our clothes and shoes in the laundry cupboard) and all other miscellaneous items that don’t belong in any other part of the house.
In fact, the items that contribute the most to the total are:
- pet tablets and medications (this is predominantly Ben’s responsibility but as I’m wary of how medications are manufactured, for pets and for humans, I will have to help him buy better)
- new and used party supplies such as lanterns, paper plates, plastic utensils (from when Ben and I threw our first engagement party four years ago. I say first because we had a second one in Melbourne for my family and friends).
- clothes, bags, shoes (no surprise there as we don’t have a wardrobe)
- first aid kit
- picnic basket (that comes with its own cutlery etc)
- half a bag of 300 cotton balls
- unopened box of 100 rubber gloves
- documents (I estimated 300 sheets of paper but could be more, or could be less)
My plan for decluttering the laundry room
Here’s what I’ll be doing to reduce the number of items in my bathroom as I’m completely horrified with the number of items in there:
- sorting out that bag of documents from 10 years ago as I won’t need to hang on to those receipts given that the Australian Taxation Office only requires we hang on to them for five years;
- going through our bags of clothes and shoes and donating to charity any items that won’t be a staple part of our wardrobes (once Ben builds them!)
- not replacing items such as cotton balls, certain pet medications and first aid kit supplies
Now after that mammoth task, I’m going to cut myself some slack. So the room I will focus on for week three will be the spare room. A task that should be relatively painless as there’s not much in there. I think…
So I want to know: Are you following along? How many items did you find in your laundry room? Let us know by leaving a comment.
Remember if you want to join in on the experiment, don’t forget to use the hashtag #LifeOverStuff on Instagram and Twitter so I can find you!
And if you liked this article and want more sustainable lifestyle tips, make sure to sign-up to our email newsletters and get our bonus free eco lifestyle guide here.