A lot of the decluttering books I have read always have a reoccurring theme, only keep what you need. I think this is a great concept but how can you tell when enough is enough? And how much is overkill? In some books, we only keep what sparks joy but do ten plates spark joy? Or five? In my home this took me a while to get my head around. At what point do I become a minimalist and throw out all my belongings? Or are 7 throw pillows on my couch to many? Whilst some items I have purely for superficial reasons, god I love my pillows. There are many items you need for functionality within your home. Of those, how many do you really need?
With this in mind, I have put together a simple math problem to try and give you some numbers to work towards, so you truly know when enough is enough. For anyone who is not numbers driven take a deep breath and hear me out. You can do this!
The number of people in your home + the number of guests that are likely to visit at one time x the items you own.
For example, I live with my partner and myself (2). We sometimes have family stay from interstate (4). Which means we would max out at 6.
What does that mean for your stuff? Well…
If everyone stays for dinner, we need 6 plates, 6 forks and knives, 6 cups. If they all remain for tea afterwards, we need another 6 mugs. See where I am going?
They decide to stay the night. OK, two people will share a bed that’s one set of sheets, we have another bed that’s a second set of sheets. That tells me I need 3 sheet sets, one for us, two for our guests. I also need 6 towels. Yes, I admit it, two of those six towels are our beach towels but a towel is a towel!
Now, if you have a household of 5 and you know at one time you would have another 5 over you’re going to have to have at least 10 plates, or are you? Can someone eat out of a bowl? Would Auntie Jess even care if she did?
Simple math really, but that has allowed us to significantly cut down the excess things we hold onto. Say we have everyone stay and need more dishes for breakfast we just make sure we wash up after every meal. Easier said than done but hey you’re here to live your best life so I am talking to super you right now.
This one principle isn't just applied to having people over. This same principle can be used with anything.
We have one stove with four hot places. However, our pans are too large to fit more than two. Which means at one time we will only use two. Hence we have one fry pan and one pot for rice. Why do we need more than that?
Every Saturday is laundry day. Thinking along the same highly nuanced mathematical lines that means 7 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of underwear and maybe a couple spare as those things tend to go walk about!
This can also be used for items that only serve one purpose, do you know for about four years we haven’t had a peeler? I mean how often do you use one? When we do need to peel some food we would just use a knife. It’s a little harder but for how often we would have used a peeler it hasn’t been a worthy investment. Sure its only $3 at Kmart but that three dollars bought me a great coffee. I haven’t had a whisk in about 6 years, need something whisked? I use a folk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge cook so you can probably forgive me for just making do, but don’t forget years ago all these gadgets didn’t exist. Do you really need them all? Will your friends and family notice if you don’t own that latest slow cooker? They won’t, but you will notice the way you feel in your home when not surrounded by so much clutter.
You can hopefully see now how this quite easily applies to anything in your house. Suddenly, it is no longer a guessing game of, 22 coffee cups is enough, right? 22 is a happy number right? The realization that 6 coffee cups is more then you will ever really need is almost heavenly, its like receiving a big hug from your mum when she tells you, you are on the right track, everything is going to be ok. Suddenly you don’t have to worry about having everyone who comes to visit sitting down to a table with perfectly matching silver wear and linens. You know you have enough and really your friends and family are just there for the good times and wine.
So what do you think? Can you take the pressure off your self to always have an overabundance of stuff so one ever goes without and instead just allow your self the opportunity to really ask your self, how much is really enough?
- Lila Marie