Inspired again, by An Exacting Life, I decided I should do a house inventory. Over a few months, I’ve share a number of posts, and this is the post that links them all together in one place.
What also prompted me to do this fiddly task was the fact that when my contents insurance came due, I asked about what the insured value was. It seems they annually increase the amount insured. A smart idea for most people. But I wondered when I first got the policy if it wasn’t a little overstated on the contents value – so I was wary when it increased again for the next year.
I worried ‘what if they know something I don’t know’. I thought I could sit down with a nice spreadsheet, and work room by room to work out what I have, what I paid for it, and what it might cost to replace. The bulk of my ‘stuff’ was purchased in the last 18 months, since I moved. In 90% of those cases, I have the receipt filed.
Some was bought prior to 2012, such as my bed, the mattress and other ‘bedroom’ stuff. I was lucky to be ‘gifted’ some appliances, and I took all sorts of things from Mum and Dad’s house (with permission of course). Where things were purchased in the past, or ‘stolen’ – I’ve worked out the replacement costs. From privacy’s sake, I’ve not shared the cost of items in my posts, but there’s lots of lovely photos.
Living room: 2 sofas, 1 wooden coffee table, 2 Ikea teal stools, 1 Ikea entertainment unit. All other items in the ‘electrical’ post
Dining area: 6 chairs and a Ikea dining room table (there’s an Ikea post)
I did not include my stationary as it was of negligible value. In the event my place burnt down, the replacement of these items would be on an as needed basis. Also, a lot of the stuff was from when i was a student, and I ‘worked’ from home. Now that I work in an office, my access to stationary is sufficient at work that I need a much smaller collection at home.
Lastly, this post is of my stuff – there’s more now that we’re two households, and I’m planning a cheeky poem to outline the duplication (in the form of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’).
What do you think I might have missed? I certainly haven’t counted all my screws, but they are pictured in my ‘buffet drawers’ post.
I love blogging! I drafted this post, and then I thought, ‘it’s a little disjointed’, ‘why this book isn’t with that book?’. So after completely reorganising my books, hopefully now they are stored in a way that makes sense to you – it certainly makes more sense to me! Oh and I decluttered two books that I wasn’t entirely proud to have listed :p
Firstly, books are largely hidden in my home, after spending a time in a room with a wall lined in books. I just find the visual too cluttery. So here’s what’s on show in my home:
Beside the radio
In the same shelves, above the radio
And on the bed ledge
These are the ‘plan to read’ books.
Israel is Real, Rich Cohen
Each peach pear plum
An intelligent life
Holocaust sites of Europe
And here’s what’s hidden behind closed doors
French Books (in French or about France)
12 steps to find a job
The game master (Le maitre du jeu)
If it is a man (Si C’est un homme)
Improve your French
Poland <- a gift from a Polish friend when I studied in France
The Bronze Horseman <- from an Aussie friend who visited Russia. I read Paulina Simons ‘The Bronze Horseman’ and so I asked for the original poetry. But I can’t read cryllic!
Honeymoon with my brother – Franz Wiesner
The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Garder
Plan B – L.R. Brown <- all about alternative ways in life. Like no flush toliets, and Chinese meat consumption and global warming
The Back Row
The holocaust odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando
Night, E. Wiesel
Eyewitness Aushwitz, F. Muller
Among the righteous, R. Satloff
Ester and Ruzya – Masha Gessen, Masha Gessen
The Seamstress – a memoir of survival, S. T. Bernstein, L.L. Thornton & M. Berstein Samuels
Auschwitz, Auschwitz, How can I forget you
Safe Passage – Ida Cook
American Heroine in the French Resistance
Mister God, this is Anna
Growing to Maturity
The mindful way through depression
Striped book – Inspirations book from 2006
Spiral bound black book – more inspirations
Photo album from high school
Blue display book (empty)
First travel journal from 2006
Second travel journal from 2006
Third travel journal from 2007 onwards
Plastic case of brochures for future employers etc
Binder of bank statements from France – 2006 onwards
Stamp collection (Australian)
Stamp collection (foreign)
Binder of floristry assignments and remaining notes
Tax envelope for this year’s receipts
Receipts of clothing spending, electrical items, scooter related costs
Writing paper and envelopes
The Sweet Poison Quit plan
Humourous check list
Journal from 2011-12 (with lists to move house etc)
There you go, I think that’s about all of the permanent resident books in my house. There’s a constant cycle of library books, of course. I pretty much won’t buy a published book now days – between the library, my mother’s house (which feels like a library) and my uncle owning a book store, I have an endless source, it would seem! I will only buy 2nd hand books when I am heading overseas, and leave them there. How do you think I did? Minimal?
If you don’t read An Exacting Life, you’re missing out! She’s inspired so many of my posts. Today, I was a little stuck on what to write. Nothing I’d drafted felt right or finished, and I just lacked the drive to know what to write (so, if there’s something you’d like to know, feel free to send me an email with what you’d like to know livetolist(AT)gmail.com). And then whoosh, An Eaxcting Life’s post comes and I think ‘oh, I could write a whole post on that, rather than just commenting!’. So here goes:
Firstly, I live alone, so my ‘stuff’ ratio is at least 1/3 of what a couple with one child would have. However, I likely earn as much as these couples, based on my rudimentary knowledge of US salaries and my salary. So I have the means to have as much as these families, if not the time in life to have bought it all (I’m 28, I’m not sure how old the respondents were).
Interestingly, if I was to participate in a program like this, I wouldn’t react with ‘Oh no, I don’t want someone poking through my house’ (probably explains why I blog!), or even ‘I need to clean first’. Sure there’s dust on the skirting boards at the moment, but overall I’m content to show strangers a few bowls in the sink.
I also have nothing on my fridge – I think the advent of stainless steel fridges has made that more and more common. No one has ever said anything about it being ‘empty’. I do have a magnetic noticeboard nearby, and that’s where invites and cards go, as well as some nice subway map magnets.
To some extent, my house is a cultural museum, almost all my ‘art’ is from my travels (I plan to catalogue all my art in a blog post in the future). Actually, I buy almost all my clothing overseas too. I plan and save for trips and have the time to shop thoughtfully. If homewares weren’t so heavy, I might also partake in buying those too (I didn’t even know there was Zara Home til I got to Dubai. I was in HEAVEN! ) I don’t display anything related to my religion. Religious art sort of creeps me out. And if it creeps me, imagine all my non religious friends’ reactions!. I don’t have any trophies at all, and I don’t display my certificates. As to photos of family: I have none! I have a photo strip of my best friends and myself from the day of my first date – but none of the said date, now bf! I LOVE making photo albums for my brother’s 21st and my grandmother’s Christmas present last year, but I don’t display photos. They age quickly. And… I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all those years at boarding school, it was too painful (at the height of homesickness) to see a reminder?
With technology, I have two phones (work and personal). The work phone tends to live in my handbag at the front of the house. My personal phone follows me around, and it charges at the foot of my bed. I watch a bit of TV, particularly when I’m home alone. But I try to pick programs rather than just watch for the sake of it. Cause I have book reviews to get too as well! And I actually quite like the radio on, and often feel conflicted when I have to turn it off!
I do not stockpile food – I don’t have the space! I have a 10L water canteen just in case, and lots of grains, so I can eat from my pantry should I have to. But I buy all my meat and fruit/vege fresh as it’s just outside my door. I can’t imagine having an additional fridge or freezer, as I grew up in a family of five without one. I always cook in my own kitchen, and about 50% of the time I cook with the bf’s help at his place. He can cook by himself, and I’ll leave him to it, but happy to help as requested. (So blessed to have a man that cooks… something I need to teach one of my brothers!)
I don’t have a backyard. I have a comically small balcony. I have one fold up chair. It’s sad – the size, but I knew I wouldn’t utilise a balcony, or bother keeping it clean and nice, so it’s probably good I didn’t waste money on a place with a bigger outdoor space. I’m lucky to have a communal rooftop, that’s super sunny with an awesome view, and soon a pool and BBQs – all of which I don’t have to maintain!
In my bedroom, I think it’s spartan, similar to a hotel. But there’s more colour than a hotel – at least in the bedding. White bedspreads are a little scary to me. In my house inventory, I spend roughly 4% on my bedroom in the past 16 months, but I don’t include soft furnishings in that (that’d add 10% or so in actual costs). When I look at replacement cost of the furniture (I owned by bed when I moved in), it’s closer to 11% of the total costs on the place. The electrical items (ie ANYTHING with a power cord: fridge, phone charger etc) and the living room are the highest ‘stuff’ costs.
My car space is almost totally for my car, and my unridden motor scooter. I have a metal tool box, with all the scooter accoutrements, and some paperwork that I seldom need, but keep.
I think I have a minimal home, mainly because I was mindful when I ‘filled’ it when I moved in at the start of 2012. It helps that it’s small, so I don’t have space to ‘hide’ stuff. I also sit around thinking ‘where do I have too much stuff’ and look to thin things out regularly. And I’m happy to defend my choices when I compare my stuff to others, such as extreme minimalists like Zero Waste Home.
How about you? (Don’t worry, if you already comment over at An Exacting Life, I’ll be reading eagerly!)