At the time I began dating my wife my house was on track for airing on the TV show "Hoarders". During one of my stabs at paring down the junk cluttering my house I discovered that I had nine fully functional bicycle locks, because when I couldn't find a lock, I'd just buy another. It was easier than finding the locks I already had. The photo at the top of this article is a "before" shot from one of my clutter control attempts.
After twenty or thirty attempts to get things in order and pared down to a sane and manageable state, I employed what I regard as the "nuclear option". I picked through and found everything I thought I needed or wanted, and hired one of the junk hauling services to take everything else away.
I instructed the workers to haul everything off without asking me about any item. My theory was that anything I didn't deliberately identify as essential in my first pass was not critical to my well-being.
I haven't regretted that approach even once over the years which have passed since I called the junk haulers, and now I plan on taking it to the next level. I'm revisiting the 100 thing challenge, described by David Michael Bruno in the book The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul.
The first time I considered trying to pare my belongings down to 100 items I decided that was an unrealistic number for me after I inventoried my current belongings. I'm not a clothes horse by any means, but when I began counting socks, shoes, underwear, pants and shirts, I came up with 100 items rapidly, and hadn't even finished with clothing.
I'm going to adopt 100 items as my goal for personal belongings, however. I may never reach that number, but focusing on it will serve the same purpose as the nuclear option I employed for junk removal. It will prevent me from making excuses and procrastinating.