Using a Home Inventory to Declutter (with printable checklist)

Did you know that the average American has 300,000 items in their house?!?

It’s common for stores and warehouses to do inventory, but what it look like if we actually took an inventory of everything that’s in our house??

And what if we took it a step further and also categorized it?

Dawn taking inventory of cupboard under sink

When stores are doing their inventory, they want to know what they have but they also pay close attention to the items are people buying and NOT buying.

man taking inventory in warehouse

And what do they do with the things that people aren’t buying?

They put them on clearance to move them out!

clearance section in store

If we took inventory and categorized the stuff in our house, we’d have a much better idea what needs to be put on clearance – what needs to exit our house.  

If the average home has about 300,000 items, how long would it take go through and inventory every single item in our house?!

Of course, it’s not actually practical, but it’s an idea to use as a filter when we’re trying to declutter and simplify our home.

Think of your home like a store, and it can help you decide if your things are adding value to your life or not.

I came up with this home inventory checklist with six different categories that we could assign to our stuff to get a better idea of what we actually have. Every item has to go into one of these categories.

home inventory checklist on clipboard with pen

1. Essential

This is the easiest category. Essential items are things you use every day, like coffee mugs (but the extra coffee mugs on the top shelf that you never use are NOT essential!).

2. Used in the past year

We’re creatures of habit. If we haven’t used something in the past year, chances are we aren’t going to use it in the upcoming year.

3. Enjoy having it

There are some things that we want to keep just because they’re beautiful to look at, or we enjoy having them, like decor. We still want to keep stuff to make our house feel nice and cozy.

These first three categories are fairly easy! It’s totally okay to keep these things because we’re using them!

But for these last three categories, we need to seriously consider whether these items are adding value to our life and our home.

4. Someday

These are things we keep just in case or I think I might need it someday.

The Minimalists have a 20/20 rule. If you have something that you’re not using that you could replace for under $20 and in less than 20 minutes, you should let it go.

It might sound extreme, but you’ll find that you rarely, if ever, end up replacing it because you won’t miss it.

Over the course of the last seven years, I’ve ONLY regretted getting rid of about $32 worth of stuff! (Watch that video here!)

5. Sentimental / Guilt

We hang on to a lot of things just because someone gave it to us or we spent money on it.

Ask yourself, if this item spontaneously combusted and disappeared right now, would you feel a sense of relief? If so, it’s a good sign that you should not be keeping it in your house anymore.

Life is too short to maintain stuff that has no meaning to us, and instead is keeping us from having a meaningful life.

On the other hand, if it disappeared and you would be sad, that’s a good indication that you do like having and maintaining it.

So ask yourself, is this a burden? Is it contributing to my mental clutter and sense of overwhelm? Or do I enjoy having it?

6. Fantasy Self

These are things we keep hoping we’re going to develop new or different habits. We’re going to better ourselves or lose weight or learn new skills.

This could be anything from clothes that are too small, Vitamix, smoothies, treadmill, exercise equipment, craft supplies

You’ll feel better about yourself if you get rid of it. Maybe in this season of your life it’s just not practical. You don’t need stuff in your house that’s taunting you.

With 300,000 items in your house, you could easily get rid of two thirds of them. Not only would you not miss them, but you would feel so much better about yourself and your house!

We like to think there’s no cost to keeping our stuff. But why do stores put things on clearance? They’re not going to keep stuff that’s not adding value.

So why do keep these things in our homes? Why would we continue to inventory and care for things and organize we don’t use or need?

If anything, it’s costing us. It’s costing us our emotional well-being, our peace of mind and how we feel about ourselves.

Or watch this video on YouTube here!

If you want to print out this inventory checklist, it can be really eye-opening! Take a serious look at the things that fall into the last three categories and consider whether it’s time to pass them on.

print your home inventory checklist

Side note: One thing you DON’T want to get rid of is your bundt pan!! Check out our new lemon bundt cake recipe!

Getting the stuff cleared out that’s not adding value to your home will help you feel so much better about yourself — more confident, more capable, and life will be so much easier to balance!

I know I say it all the time, but decluttering our house of the things we don’t need or use is literally one of the best things we have ever done. We don’t miss the stuff at all, and I’m confident that you won’t either!

What percentage of stuff in your house do you think you could get rid of without missing it?

All our love as you continue on your decluttering journey!!

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Need more decluttering help? Check out these posts!


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