Book inventory

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

Radio - with CD players and a retro tape deck!

Radio – with CD players and a retro tape deck!

In the same shelves, above the radio

Ring binders

All my paper filing is in these two binders

And on the bed ledge

These are the ‘plan to read’ books.

These books have been there for at least 1 year.  Maybe they'll never get read?

These books have been there for at least 1 year. Maybe they’ll never get read?

  1. Israel is Real, Rich Cohen
  2. Each peach pear plum
  3. An intelligent life
  4. Holocaust sites of Europe

And here’s what’s hidden behind closed doors


Some French novels, and some texts.  Even a 'how to get a job in 12 steps'

Some French novels, and some texts. Even a ‘how to get a job in 12 steps’

French Books (in French or about France)

  1. 12 steps to find a job
  2. The game master (Le maitre du jeu)
  3. Objectif Paris
  4. If it is a man (Si C’est un homme)
  5. Bonjour Tristess
  6. Bonjour tristesse
  7. Improve your French
Books that don't fit the other categories!

Books that don’t fit the other categories!


  1. Poland <- a gift from a Polish friend when I studied in France
  2. 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!

Other books

  1. Honeymoon with my brother – Franz Wiesner
  2. The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Garder
  3. 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

To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health

To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health

The book end to the back row - all holocaust themed

The book end to the back row – all holocaust themed

Holocaust Books

  1. The holocaust odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando
  2. Night, E. Wiesel
  3. Eyewitness Aushwitz, F. Muller
  4. Among the righteous, R. Satloff
  5. Ester and Ruzya – Masha Gessen, Masha Gessen
  6. The Seamstress – a memoir of survival, S. T. Bernstein, L.L. Thornton & M. Berstein Samuels
To the left, there's mainly holocaust books, to the right there's spirituality/mental health

To the left, there’s mainly holocaust books, to the right there’s spirituality/mental health

Holocaust Books

  1. Parrallel Lines
  2. Hiding Edith
  3. Mosaic
  4. The Messanger
  5. Auschwitz, Auschwitz, How can I forget you
  6. Human Smoke
  7. Safe Passage – Ida Cook
  8. American Heroine in the French Resistance

Spirituality/Mental health

  1. Mister God, this is Anna
  2. Affluenza
  3. Growing to Maturity
  4. Finding happiness
  5. The mindful way through depression
  6. The invitation

Linen/pantry closet

The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books.  There's 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes

The top left hand shelf on my pantry/linen closet hybrid holds all these binders and books. There’s 3 travel journals, two stamp collecting binders and all sorts of university and floristry course notes

  1. Striped book – Inspirations book from 2006
  2. Spiral bound black book – more inspirations
  3. Photo album from high school
  4. Blue display book (empty)
  5. First travel journal from 2006
  6. Second travel journal from 2006
  7. Third travel journal from 2007 onwards
  8. Plastic case of brochures for future employers etc
  9. Binder of bank statements from France – 2006 onwards
  10. Empty binder
  11. Stamp collection (Australian)
  12. Stamp collection (foreign)
  13. Binder of floristry assignments and remaining notes
These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too

These are the more readily used books, living in the linen closet too

  1. Tax envelope for this year’s receipts
  2. Receipts of clothing spending, electrical items, scooter related costs
  3. Writing paper and envelopes
  4. Lists book
  5. Atlas
  6. The Sweet Poison Quit plan
  7. Humourous check list
  8. Journal from 2011-12 (with lists to move house etc)
  9. Emergency

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?

My household contents vs 21st century US houses

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)  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:

Inspiration behind An Exacting Life's post.

Inspiration behind An Exacting Life’s post.

An Exacting Life’s post is about a book she recently read, Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors (Jeanne E. Arnold et al., Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, UCLA, 2012).  She used images and the texts to compare to her life.

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.

Noticeboard takes clutter off the fridge

Noticeboard takes clutter off the fridge

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!

More colourful than a hotel room.

More colourful than a hotel room.

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!)

Categories of Clutter

Thanks to Cindy’s post at (which I love, and happy to have ‘worked out’ how to get the emailed posts now that I can’t read the blog at work), I’m inspired for another LIST!

She mentions categories of clutter, and I’m going to go through each one, and see which I could work on more.  Then I’ll share my little list of identified things to thin out

– things from put off decisions: a little bit,  I do have a ‘use it or lose it’ list (also to come)

– craft supplies: don’t really have any.  I have brown paper for wrapping presents, and a few sheets of white and yellow tissue (the white is reused from a brand that wraps stuff I buy).  I have three types of ribbons (leftover from weddings I did) to make florist style bows on the brown paper.  I have coloured pencils (since I was 12 I think I’ve had those, how much I wanted that 72 set of Derwent Water Colours).  But I don’t have any scrapbooking decorative stuff or the like.



office supplies: worked hard to thin out the biros I don’t like (yes, I WANT people to ‘take’ my pen when I loan it sometimes….!)

toys and games: I move most puzzles on as I do them. I have two lingering – one a gift from my mother for Christmas (from France) and one I never did that I got from freecycle. Might need to rehome both of those!

books: again, anything that’s not a library book, I try to rehome once read. Mum gave me a book she’d read, Leon and Louise, not sure where that’s got to. And when I’m finished the one I’m reading, I’ll need to pass it on to someone, or donate it somewhere. And I really must decided on the few books on my bedhead – the one about Israel is tiresome reading, and I may never crack it!

papers left over from school: I have a container for ‘school’ and one for ‘uni’. The school one is not 100% closing, cause I have an old uniform and a jumper passed from all my siblings to my God daughter, and I want to keep it (as it’s still 100% usable!).  So I need to thin out that box.  The uni box is rather emptier since I moved my 3 travel journals downstairs, to somewhere more accessible when I want to show someone something.  My thesis paperwork is now all stored in the garage as I never want to access it regularly, but I feel it’s important to keep proof of such a major amount of work.

technical books: I always sold my textbooks from semester to semester to fund the next batch.  I also inherited some from a friend.  Pleased to say, I have NO reference books for my field.  Perhaps this isn’t ideal, but it is what it is!

– career related magazines: don’t have any, but I am fighting my professional organisation to STOP sending me them monthly, as they just end up in the recycling (or making me feel guilty!)

– electronic this and that: I have a drawer in my kitchen for there – charges for AA batteries and  Li Ion battery, plus some international adaptors, earphones.  I also have 2 HDD (at the moment, one I bought last week).  I work INCREDIBLY hard to have a minimal amount of electronics.

– garage items: I have one length of wood leftover from a project, and a caulking gun with silicon.  Both of them bother me, as they aren’t in active service, however it’s rather minimal.

outgrown clothes and toys: I don’t grow out of stuff anymore!  And I’ve mentioned toys above

art supplies: just the Derwents, above, really!

things girls collect: I have some Indian bangles that I seldom wear (they make too much noise), so they could go.  And too many hair clips (and no hair now), so they are in the ‘declutter box’ now.

– unwanted gifts: as soon as I open them, I tend to know.  So the vanilla scented stuff gets passed straight onto my mother (two items recently!).  But mostly, I get cheap jewelry and wine, both of which I use.  Anything that doesn’t suit me, I move on – such as tolitieries not to my taste, books that are… inconsiderate.  There is a travel souvenir from a friend that’s just collecting dust, it may move on v v soon!

– impulse purchases  I am the QUEEN of returns (and store’s policies).  Anything that doesn’t suit/fit goes back for a full refund (even unopened groceries)

THINGS TO DECLUTTER – the strike through items have found new homes since I drafted this! 😀

hair clips (still in packaging)

– excess bubble wrap: why does no one want this when I put it on freecycle?

– two lamp shades: can’t be returned as they were part of a set

– 4 wine bottle gift bags: I never give wine, but I get a fair bit!

– broken (cheap) jewelry: not sure if the bin is the best way, or if there’s hope of fixing them

– travel souvenir from a colleague