It is time to scrub myself clean of all my stuff! In the Minimalism post, I wrote about the importance of only owning what is essential. Now is the time to turn the theory into practice. The aim is to keep no more stuff than will fit into a backpack. Everything else must either be stored somewhere or disposed.
To get me started, I created an inventory of all my stuff. I mean all my stuff. There wasn’t a nook or cranny through which I did not rummage. I emptied every drawer and searched every shelf. I defeated legions of dust bunnies to recover forgotten items underneath my bed. I reached behind the bookcase for the DVDs that had fallen behind it. I earned myself a pretty penny by looking under the sofa cushions. My search was so thorough that not even the most inventive of squirrels could have hidden as much as a nut from me.
I recorded everything as simply as I could by taking quick photos of them with a digital camera. This thorough walkthrough of my flat took a fair bit of time, but it would have taken longer still had I needed to write everything down on paper. Instead, I could dump the content of a drawer on a table, take a snapshot, put it all back again and move on. I recorded all my books and DVDs, nicely lined up in their shelves, with a quick photograph. Snap snap snap! — I whirled my way through the flat in a flurry of flashes.
Next, I made myself a well-deserved Cosmopolitan and sat down by my computer. I sipped my cocktail and went through the photos, adding each item to a spreadsheet. I categorized each item by what I needed to do with it: throw/recycle, send home to Sweden, give to friends, sell or pack to take with me on the road. Yes, this took some time — about three cocktails’ worth of time — but once I was done, I had a clear idea of what I owned and what I was going to do with it. I also had an easy way of tracking both my progress and to whom I have given stuff.
Are you still with me? Wonderful! I bet that how I made an inventory wasn’t the most riveting of reads, so let me make it up to you. On a first come, first serve basis, you can go through the inventory spreadsheet (via Excel or Google Docs) and ask for anything that I have labelled ‘Give Away’. It is yours if you want it. I rather prefer you to get some use out of my stuff than that it sits in storage somewhere, doing nobody any good.
I hereby declare the Gustav Give-Away open! Pick the bones clean and shut the door on your way out!