Clipper, Tweezers and Oils, Oh My


I chose my “master bath” to start with today. I have two full baths in my little house and neither of them truly deserve the title master, but it’s the one in the biggest of the three small bedrooms so it is master by default.

I counted 225 items in this space. I included every emery board, the towels and all the rolls of toilet paper. As I continue to move through my home I’ve already identified the difference between some of the items I’m cataloging.

There is a difference, for instance, between something I will use up and something that is a possession, in my opinion. I counted the toilet paper rolls but, God willing, there will always be some number of rolls beneath my sink and that will vary. Same with shampoo, lotions, etc. However, I have also noted where I tend to hoard or collect things, like lotions, so that’s good info.

I will also take furniture out of the overall total when I’m done – the big stuff especially like beds, sofas, coffee and end tables. Items that are more decorative will be counted among possessions. Then I can make the harder decisions.

Pawing through all my barely mentionables in the master bath flung me into a sort of toiletry frenzy. Beyond the master I was compelled to count and catalog the other bathroom. And if I’m going to do that, why not the linen closet? So I did.

In all, the three spaces netted me 552 items. As I write this, nearly everything is scattered about on the floor, my bed and other flat surfaces as I contemplate what to keep and what to release. (I am contemplating these things as I sit at an uncluttered community high top in Starbucks with a venti mug of decaf. Who can think with all that stuff around?!)

Do I really need 5 pairs of tweezers? Are they pairs? Are scissors pairs or is it a scissor? Whatever it/they is/are, the answer is no. I probably also don’t need a ripped open sample packet of lotion that is now hard as cement, or 3 pump bottles of scented stuff.

19 bottles of questionably essential oils will likely be finding a new home. And soap. Soap deserves its own blog. Suffice to say I have about 10 bars of handmade soap and three pumps of hand soap. In two bathrooms.

In the linen closet I became acutely aware of my penchant for incandescent light bulbs. I already knew this and hoarded all I could find when the mandate came down from on high to replace them with the sallow-making, sickness-inducing fluorescent bulbs. What I did not expect to find is so many boxes of travel toothpaste or new tooth brushes. The onus of these would be on my husband who accepts all free gifts from our dentist whether we need them or not. They do come in handy when I travel, so all is forgiven. But some may get lost in the purge. I mean, there are 14 boxes. Fourteen.

Overall this counting then purging process feels really good, almost addictive. I want so much less. I want space. But this is a process and I’m watching myself carefully and taking it slowly.

Now to put my spaces back together again. Should be easy with so much less stuff.

The numbers: After initial purge I’m down 122 items to 430. It’s a start.

If I take out the things that I’ll use up, there’s really much less. Like 173. These items include towels, linens, air mattress, baskets that hold things I’ll run out of at some point among a few pretty little things.

I don’t know that I can have a completely austere home, or want one, but I do know it feels good to know what I do have and what I don’t need. I imagine I’ll purge more throughout the year, decorative and otherwise.

Lighter and lighter.

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