How many?

tre3March 20, 2007

Do you every wonder how many things you own? Or how many things you put away each day? Yes, each Lego or Barbie shoe counts as one thing! Have you ever in the course of decluttering and organizing been forced to count the number of shoes, or lipsticks, or hammers, or scissors you own? I recently was talking with a friend when the "How many?" topic arose. She has three drawers full of pjs. I have a stack (ok it is several stacks) of fabric.

Is anyone as intrigued by this? Do you want to play the how many game? If so, throw out an item that we count and report. And if you thing I'm just a little crazy, that's ok too. PS_ Sometimes finding out "how many" is an eye opening experience that begs the question "why?".

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"Have you ever in the course of decluttering and organizing been forced to count the number of shoes, or lipsticks, or hammers, or scissors you own?"

15 (including sandals), zero, two, five (household scissors, fabric shears, kitchen shears, pinking shears and embroidery scissors).

I won't be throwing any of them out, though!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 12:08PM
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When I decluttered last year, I counted 23 pairs of scissors and DD decided these weren't the proper types for sewing so she's added a few more. In my defense, they accumulated during the years that my 5 kids grew up.

I have way too many measuring cups and spoons and am too afraid to count them for fear of embarrassing myself. They are, however, nicely organized in 2 drawers.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 1:29PM
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I'm going to have to track down all my scissors and lipsticks.
Hammers- 1 mallet, 2 sledge (one short handle, one long) 2 regular hammers all in the garage. 1 slimmer hammer: the I am too lazy, it's too cold to go to the garage hammer that resides in my laundry room tool box. 2 mini hammers: 1 in the basement to close up the endless paint cans I seem to open, the other is part of a multi-tool. And yes, I need them all!
Measuring cups: 2 new fangled, angled plastic, 2 pyrex. One complete set of graduated ss cups plus an odd 1/3 cup.
Measuring spoons: 2 sets.
Anyone else for scissors, lipstick hammers, measuring implements of the cooking kind?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 2:20PM
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I have 4 sets of dry measuring cups, and 4 sets of dry measuring spoons--1 on each end of the kitchen.

And 2 two-cup measures, and 2 one-cup measures (1 set of glass Pyrex, and 1 set of the angled plastic ones)--partly bcs sometimes I need to measure twice, and don't want to have to wash it, and partly bcs I can mix and zap stuff in the Pyrex, but not in the angled plastic ones.

Let's not talk about socks--that's where I'm way over the top.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 2:59PM
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Thank goodness someone else is knee high in socks:) We'll tackle that one later.
Still no count on the lipstick. Do I have to?
Scissors: 2 sewing, 1 embrodiery and 1 pinking shears. These top of the line shears are almost worthless but I've always wanted some. Anyone know if pinking shears can be sharpened?
3 bathroom for hair, nails etc.
2 folding great for travel and in your purse (except when flying)
1 kitchen shears
4 kid misc plus at least another pair lurking with the gift wrap. I agree with Marie26. I blame it on the kids.
3 outdoor for tape,twine and grass and pesky kitty litter bags.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 4:26PM
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I like the socks idea - approx 18 prs of mostly wool knee highs - these get me to work during the winter via bus and train and the waits for each. Then for fall/spring, I have about 40 prs of short colorful and solid color non-white socks. Then for summer, I only wear white very short socks with tennis shoes - have about 24 of them. I don't wear socks with loafers and other shoes like loafers. Then I have a few pairs of ski socks and a few prs of cotton tights. Once the elastic at the tops of any of these starts to go, out go the socks and new ones come in.

Talleysue and tre - your turns!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 6:46PM
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As a matter of fact I think about it too often! It makes me feel ridiculous about my buying habits. On the cooking forum, we did an exercise recently in counting vinegars--I won meaning I am a loser--I had 38 bottles from cranberry vinegar to fig balsamic.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 6:46PM
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Hello all. I'm newish - have been here before, but haven't posted in a long time. I'm feeling it's time to get back into some organisation and have started reading here again. This is a good place for me to start :) Hope you don't mind!

shoes - nine - covering all seasons
lipsticks - two
hammers - two
scissors - four
Measuring cups - one set
Measuring spoons - one set
Socks - Long black winter ones - three pair
- Short white ankle ones for sneakers - five pair

Guess I'm not doing too badly LOL

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 7:53PM
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Patser please tell me how you store all those socks. TIA

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 7:53PM
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UGH! I counted 14 lipstick/lipgloss/chapstick things. And it required me to go digging in my car, a major hot spot. I tossed 4. I was feeling quite virtuous with 10 until I read Denise's post.
An accurate count of sock means going thru the dead sock bin and seeing if mates have shown up!
Where else can having the least make you feel like the best?
No offense Mustangs! Having seen previous posts I know your vinegars are beautiful organized. How (not HOW) do you use them all? I need to kick my cooking up several notches.
Procrastinating on socks, don't want to explain shoes! T

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 10:09PM
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I went through my socks tonight while slowly attempting to finish the mbr closet. I keep my undies and socks in baskets in there. I am happy to say that I only had a handful on singles. But I do have 2 drawers of socks, one with those that I will wear and the other are those that are thick and waiting for a very cold winter day. I'm hoping that the match to those singles will still show up as I continue in the closet.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 10:35PM
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A girl I worked with married someone in the Australian Army. When he was advised of his next posting she had to count everything in preparation for the move.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:45AM
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Tre, My dresser has 2 drawers at the top that are each about 14 inches wide and 4 inches deep. All knee socks are squeezed into one of them. I forgot nylons/pantyhose - they're in the other drawer but I haven't bought any of them in about 10 yrs (used to buy by the dozens when I had to wear them daily). Then there's a drawer that's about 28 inches wide by 4 inches deep and it's divided into 3 sections. Two of the sections hold short colorful socks, 1 is short white socks. Ski socks are in the drawer below the large sock drawer in one of it's 3 sections.

I'm still using the dresser that mom and dad got me when I was about 12. I've been on the lookout for a new dresser for a couple of years but I've not seen one that has the storage space that the current one has. It's a solid piece of furniture that no longer matches my taste, but I'm living with it until I can justify having a new dresser custom made - and that may take a long while.

The thing that I strive for is not having single socks. I usually end up with pairs at the end of laundry and if not, the places I look are inside the fitted corners of bottom sheets and/or behind the washing machine!

My other "too many" thing is sets of dishes ... but this "too many" is by other people's standards. I'm at 6 sets of service for twelve with serving pieces - 4 of which came to me through inheritance. Women in our family have collected dishes for 75+ years and men marrying into the family are warned of this "problem" during engagements. I sort of change dishes like others change their shoes. I surprised myself this week in that I turned down, yes I said "no thank you" to a service for six of what would have been a new pattern for me and which is really pretty. I started by saying "yes" but knew that DH would give me too much grief if I came home with more dishes - I've been out of town visiting family this last week.

I frequently remind DH that I have no other vices (LOL!!) so he should be happy that I only do socks and dishes!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 9:47AM
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OMG! This is funny! I do not dare to go here! LOL!


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 11:41AM
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I claim list record for number of bicycles. I have 5: a road bike, a mountain bike, a tandem (2 person bike), a commuter bike (ride to work on it everyday), and a loaner mountain bike. I am not giving any of them up, and I'd like a few more! A recumbent bike, a touring bike, a cruiser ... mmmmm!!!!! Of course at that stage, I would have to think harder about where I was going to keep them.

Yes, I actually do ride them all. ;) Some more than others.

I actually did give one away last year. I gave the "garage sale special road bike" to one of the Hurricane Katrina evacuee students who relocated here.

Jean Marie

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 1:15PM
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6 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of boots, zero lipsticks, 8 hammers, or 5 pairs of scissors of various types. We buy all the same socks here. All of DH's socks are the same, except for dress socks and wool works socks and all of mine are the same, exept for nylons and knee highs. I don't do pairs, lol. The kids' are all the same, too.

2 tweezers, 5 nail clippers. 5 hair brushes, 4 hair clips. I keep all these in baskets in the WC (water closet) cupboard.

I have too many sets of dishes too. DH doesn't complain, as I store them in rubber bins and take them out as a whole set, and put the other set away. I have winter, spring summer, and fall sets. I also have a blue glass set, which is always out, as I love blue, and holiday sets.

Measuring cups glass - one 4 cup, and one 2 cup
Measuring cup sets one set metal
and one set plastic

Measuring spoons - one set plastic,
four sets metal

I use the measuring stuff all the time so need them all, even if they take up some space in my house.

Don't ask me about books. I have space for them and love them, but won't count them! If I did I might have to get rid of them, lol. Just kidding, I wouldn't get rid of them as I re-read all of my books, many times.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 3:52PM
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I admit that I am avoiding counting my socks. My excuse is that I was too busy today helping a friend spend major money on furniture and bathroom remodel items. The bonus is that I not only didn't spend any $, except a few beverages, but I also didn't acquire anything! Hooray. I'm going to count--soon!
Dishes I understand too! We have 2 sets of everyday. DH is interested in adding a new set. If so, in an evil plot, I'd consign one set to one of our quasi adult children.
I have 3 sets of 12place settings of fine china, one wedding, one gift, one inherited and seperate set of dessert. At some point I will probably be the caretaker of 5 more sets. Three of these sets were aquired by children's grandmother for them as future wedding gifts! Obviously this is a problem on both sides of our family. No warning was issued. Please don't start on glassware. I think silverware should also be barred from discussion.
I guess if you have a passion (obsession?) for something you make it work for you. I can't conceive of owning 5 plus bikes but then I don't ride much. It isn't my passion. I'm not sure I feel passionately about all the dishes I own. Maybe this is an area I need to address.
Ok, ok, I'm going to count socks!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 4:08PM
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Patser thanks for the sock storage info. I've got to do something about all these things.
It wasn't as painful as I thought. Four singles in the dead sock basket.
Summer ped like things and intriguing toe-ies:9 I think these all might be able to go. Will evaluate over the coming months.
Garden: 9 black footies. Excellent color for disguising the fact that they are horribly stained and well worn.
Ankle brown: 7 of different weights, textures and patterns.
Ankle black: 13. Remember this includes nylon like trouser socks.
Ankle other:2
Knee Hi brown: 5 again different wieghts, etc
Knee Hi black 11--includes nylon styles too
Knee Hi navy 1
In case you aren't keeping count, total: 57 pairs of socks. Can this be right? Let me do the math again. Yep, 57.
Mustangs do I win, er, lose?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:22PM
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Thank you for starting this thread. When we redid the master closet and I had to assemble all my socks I was concerned with how many there were. Where did I find the time to shop for them all? Who bought the ones with little monkeys on? How come there are 15 single socks--are they escaping? The total pairs are 23.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:48AM
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Yes tredoing a closet is an eye opening experience. I'm putting a ban on sock purchases. When a pair wears out, I'll toss.
What shall we count next? Please not writing implements!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:08AM
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Dishes--man, those get my knickers in a twist real quick. For some reason, my grandmothers didn't own any good china. But these great aunts by marriage, which I never even knew, had big sets. They died. And those dishes ended up in my mom's kitchen. Now, we all know you must keep dishes in the kitchen, right? Even if there is no room for items needed on a daily basis? I had one decent set when we got married. I had to get those out of the house. You'll just have to eat off of our everyday stuff when visiting. I'm trying to be a bit classier, but I just cannot have extra dishes around or my anxiety level goes up, up, up.

I can't count things (although I want Marge's monkey socks.) I just know if I fill up the space given to a type of item then it's time to get rid of some. Last time I had to smush my socks in the drawer I pulled out 5 or 6 pair and pitched them. Same with the kids clothing.

I could actually use more of some kitchen items like measuring cups. I just have one set because I don't like for things to get to the back of drawers, but it would come in handy not to have to stop and wash them as I cook.

Now, craft items tend to get out of control on me. I know I probably have at least 40 bobbins for my machine. I don't remember ever buying bobbins, so I'm not sure where they came from.

We can count rocking chairs. I'm not sure what my problem is with those. At one time I had seven. I'm down to five now. Sometimes I feel like we look like Carol Burnett and Tim Conway sitting on those rocking chairs. Especially when we try to get up. I never met a rocking chair I didn't want to take home with me.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 4:04PM
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Only one, on screened in porch, used seasonally.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 5:48PM
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I love this string...and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with socks. I know exactly how all mine made it into the house - I HATE shopping so when I do buy things, I buy in quantity so I don't have to think about that item for a long time to come!

I do another weird thing and it's resulted in some quantity counting, too. When I am buying socks, if I find a pair of shoes that I love...and I mean really love, I'll buy a second pair of the identical shoe so that when the first wears out, I'm not without my shoes. I have 2 pairs each of 4 pairs of shoes. One of each has never been worn but they are ready to go at a moment's notice!

When I was a kid, and it got to be late summer and time for new school shoes....every year my parents would argue about the need for spending money for the 3 of us to have new school shoes. My dad's favorite saying was "why do you need 2 pairs of shoes (or socks) - you only have 1 pair of feet! I'm convinced that hearing him annually for about 12 years damaged my psyche for life - at least that's what I tell myself! Thus the socks, thus doubles on shoes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:52PM
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I don't know Patser. There have been many times when I 've mourned the fact that I only have one of my favorite shoes/jeans/pjs/tshirt. Usually by the time I've decided I want more, they are gone. I have trained myself to buy multiple white tshirts ever spring. But how do you do this--make the decision so quickly and only have 4 pr of shoes? I only have 4 pair of winter shoes, but what about summer, evening or most important gardening? I'm no Imelda but I'd rather count rocking chairs cuz I only have one!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 9:20PM
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No, no, no - you misunderstand! I have 4 prs of shoes of which I have doubles. Then I have all the rest of my shoes/boots...and I won't be a-counting them!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 11:41AM
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Whew Patser, what a relief. And, oh, please count. Perhaps your pain will make some one (me) feel better. After all I did have more socks! And I did finally count them. Today I got rid of two pairs of socks. Unfortunately neither pair belonged to me!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 12:20PM
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Patser thanks for counting. Sometimes "Silly" things like this can occupy your mind and give you space from your grief.
I'll try to count today.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 9:02AM
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Four pairs of boots, one pair of tennis shoes, 2 pair of everyday winter, 2 pair dress winter.
Six pairs of sandals, 1 pair flip flops for summer.
Five pair evening.
Two pair gardening.
TOTAL: 23 for all seasons and occassions.
I have a hard time spending $ on me. It may not seem that way by the sheer number of shoes but most are several years old, cheap and worn. And when I do spend money it isn't usually for things that I'll wear the most. That seems backwards!
The few shoes/boots I have agonized over buying because of price, I love the most.
I am hard on shoes. Several must be replaced because cleaning and polishing will no longer cut it.
I have alot of shoes that were good buys but aren't comfortable! Not such good buys:(
I' don't have a HUGE need for evening shoes. I need them several times a year but it almost my largest category. THis is in part because they don't get as worn.
I need to spend some time and money and buy shoes/sandals/boots to replace worn or uncomfortable ones. Between those two categories I need to get rid of 9 pairs!
Do I buy first and then toss or toss and then buy?
No wonder I was avoiding the count.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 1:18PM
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I've been reading this thread, but I haven't been able to face the counting. This house has lots of storage room, so things have, er, accumulated to a shameful degree...

Shall I guess first? Ouch, this will be bad.

Shoes 35?
Lipsticks 15?
Hammers 4?
Scissors 10?
Measuring spoons 4?
Measuring cups 2 sets plus 3 larger pyrex/plastic?
Socks - yikes - 60?

Did someone suggest pens/markers - double yikes - 150?

-Celtic (skulking off shamed, to count and cull with curiosity and courage)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 10:50AM
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I said to DS the other day I'm giving up and just having a "junk" box in each room. We gather up all the scissors, nail files, pens and pencils and put them in one place and then you go to reach for one and can't find it. I need one by the couch, by my rocker, by the bedside, the computer, the kitchen sink, the bathroom, etc.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:14AM
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Well, THAT was eyeopening. I think I win, or lose, or whatever.

My guess was dead on about measuring cups (2 sets metal, 2 pyrex, 1 plastic), measuring spoons (4 including the one in the laundry) and hammers (4: sledge, large and small claw, but a missing ballpeen). So I guess I am OK and disciplined and aware enough in the utilitarian tools area. I like having measuring sets both in baking and main kitchen areas. So far so good.

On to the horror - where the counts get admittedly sloppier. Both from sheer volume and the fact that I don't think counting is what I need to be doing here....

SHOES... guessed 35, got 52!!!
(the 13 boots include: Frye laceups, hiking, garden, 2 cowboy, 3 motorcycle, 2 dressy, 3 snow)
(the 14 casual include: 7 sandals, 3 sneakers, 3 running, 1 golf)
(the 14 dressy include: 2 formal, 2 semiformal, 10 kinda dressy/professional)
(the other 10 are clogs, moccasins, loafers, etc)

LIPSTICKS... guessed 15, got 39!!
(includes 7 chapsticks and a stash of 6 burt's bees. Sick thing is, I don't even usually wear lipstick! Some are ancinet. Yuck)

SCISSORS... guessed 10, got 21!!
(includes: kitchen; 3 desk at the three desks; my mother's 4 sewing - large and small cloth, pinking, embroidery; 3 for DH haircutting -large and small and thinning; and an inexplicable 10 assorted small pairs)

SOCKS.... guessed 60, got 70!!
(plus what are in the washer and the orphan basket!!)

PENS/MARKERS...guessed 150, got 275!!!
(Can I say in my defense that writing is essential in my work, and that DH has a bit of a pen fetish. Most are his.)


I definitely have a problem with the lipsticks, socks, shoes, pens, and small scissors.

On to the culling!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 1:14PM
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Oh Celticmoon thankyou. You do win or lose:) And I haven't been brave enough to count pencils, pens and markers. We are a secret breeding ground for writing implements. We also have too many rulers!
I agree with Minnie TX in that I need scissors, pens/pencils, lipsticks in several places. Oh, and rolls of scotch tape! I just get grumpy when I have to search, or even walk, three different floors to come up with some of these "essentials".

39 everyday
17 coffee mugs
196 other: wine (red, white, acrylic, crystal) champagne (flute and tulip) margarita, martini, low and high balls and many, many others. This doesnot include china coffee cups or demitasse.
TOTAL: (groan and shame, getting the calculator out again)
@%@ or 252
HOLY GUACAMOLE! The shame is that I can think of about 30 "I" would be willing to give away without blinking.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 1:53PM
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tre3, you are making me laugh because I was going to suggest counting tape rolls and glasses next, from the tippy cup to the champagne. Do not fear. I'm guessing I can beat your 252.

Half the lipsticks and small scissors are gone after a quick thinning. The socks and shoes will be a larger task. And the pens and glasses, well....

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 2:33PM
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Whoops tre3. Spoke too soon. 158 glasses/mugs. You win (?)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 2:47PM
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Half the socks - also gone now.

Though 35 still seems like way too many pairs....what am I thinking? That my washer will break and I'll have to wait for a replacement? - wait, that just happened 2 months ago and we did fine with a trip to the laundromat. That I will somehow wear all 10 black pairs and be in need of another one? Am I channeling some deep Irish famine fear via socks??

This is crazy. I'm ditching more.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 4:44PM
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Now wait a second you guys - with glasses/cups/mugs I'm not going to count. I know I don't have anywhere near 17 coffee mugs, but I do have 4 insulated ones for carrying in the car. I might have 6 others - I do give them away. We've probably got around 35 glasses for every day use. Wine - I'm not counting. I can honestly say that I haven't bought any glassware in about 4 years.

Celtic moon - I thought I was bad with shoes - you have me beat! Don't go lower with socks - unless the last 35 are all the same color. Keep that group for variety.

I don't wear lipstick, but I have 1 for "just in case" and 1 chapstick.

This string is wayyyy too funny!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Thank you seriously, kec01. for permission to keep my socks!

I dumped 18 pair shoes (6 professional, 1 snow boot, 1 ouchy dress boot, 3 nasty sneakers/workout, 2 sandals, 1 golf shoe, 4 battered clogs/slides). 8 pair were so nasty that I won't even give them to Goodwill: they are in the garbage. BUT I found 4 more sandals- ooo, comfy pink polka dot slides, yum!, so a net drop of 11. I'm good with that for today. All are off the floor on the back of the closet door in the rack. That's progress.

Especially after turning my eye to DH's socks. HE HAD 150+ PAIRS!!! That's crazy!! Half are now ticketed to Goodwill. Odds are he won't notice or care.

-Celtic (streamlining and feeling lighter by the minute)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 10:48PM
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LOL. DH notes that his pen fetish is likely a p*nis fetish!!

(even funnier considering he is a shrink)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 11:02PM
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Oh it feels good to laugh at ourselves! Oops I forgot about insulated coffee mugs, add 4 more to my total!!!
Socks: Celticmoon I've been spending way too much time assessing socks these days. I'm trying to pick socks I normally pass over. If I won't wear them out they go. Here in the midwest (snow one day, high 70's the next) I've had a chance to try out my toe-ies. I like them and may end up getting more!
Pens and pencils: I don't have enough time to count them!!
I'm pretty sure our bounty has nothing to do with any fetishes:)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 8:07AM
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I didn't count them but DH had way too many unread magazines. I'd just keep putting them in the open bin but it got to the point that we'd need a bigger bin. He got tired of having to pick up those that would fall off the top so he threw out about 1/3 of them the other day. That amazed me!

About a year ago when I was cleaning the bathtub, I stupidly laid a huge bunch of the magazines on the bathtub ledge for a moment. They all fell in and got wet. I threw them all out (fit into a large garbage bag) and he's not once ever noticed that they were missing.

I don't think he realizes that we have another (closed) bin of magazines. I'm thinking of sneaking some of those into the open bin. Maybe he'll keep throwing them out.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 9:06AM
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You can't count what you can't find. Mean't to count glasses but didn't get around to it. I could've managed that. Scissors, you must be joking. I know we've recently bought four more pairs so we can find one when we need it. That's the theory.

Interesting story on tv tonight made me think have we counted handbags? Apparently you can rent handbags. What would cost a couple of thousand can be yours for a week or a month for a couple of hundred. One interviewee said she owns about twenty bags and rents bags too. I feel boring and inadequate. One sensible multi-compartment bag for everyday use. One spare. One small clutch bag for dressier occasions. One bumbag. No wait, I don't feel inadequate. In one area of my life I feel uncluttered! (Though the idea of a nice big shallow shelved cupboard full of handbags and shoes does appeal to me.)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:19AM
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