I thought I had a decent grasp on the number of things that I owned. But then I moved, and it became clear that I did not. Here is an inventory of my perceived possessions before I moved and what I realized I actually own.
Before: A reasonable amount of kitchenware.
After: Way too many pots, five pans, a blender, a thirty-knife set, some fine china (from my grandparents, maybe), nearly three dozen old wooden spoons, and four ceramic chopstick sets.
Before: A few books that I re-read often.
After: An entire library of books, some of which I’ve never seen before in my life, on subjects that I didn’t know I was interested in or even existed.
Before: Two sets of sheets.
After: Two sets of sheets, but also seven beach towels underneath them.
Before: Toiletries that I use on an everyday basis.
After: The toiletries that I use on an everyday basis, the toiletries that I used on an everyday basis about a year ago, and thousands of free samples that I’ve hoarded in the past four years.
Before: Five jackets, max.
After: Fifteen jackets, minimum.
Before: A few T-shirts.
After: A T-shirt from every fund-raiser, half marathon, bachelorette party, work conference, festival, family reunion, high-school reunion, and concert that I’ve ever attended.
Before: A plant that could easily fit in the front seat of a nine-dollar Uber Pool.
After: A plant that has grown to five times its original size and will require a separate trip in a forty-nine-dollar Uber XL.
Before: One iPhone charger.
After: Eight iPhone chargers, which have banded together and now get better at hiding from me with each new charger they recruit.
Before: Three boxes of cereal.
After: Three stale boxes of cereal that I packed, drove across Brooklyn, unpacked, poured into a bowl, and immediately realized were inedible.
Before: A swimsuit.
After: Actually, I don’t have a swimsuit.
Before: A couch that I could probably lift with my roommate’s help.
After: A couch that is probably filled with cement and which only the Rock could lift.
Before: Not Monopoly.
After: Monopoly (missing half of the pieces).
Before: One plastic bag full of other plastic bags, under my sink.
After: An entire city (and surrounding suburban sprawl) of plastic bags under my sink, populated by smaller plastic bags. They are ruled by Trader Joe’s paper bags, and their bible is the Fearless Flyer.
Before: A few picture frames scattered throughout my apartment.
After: Enough picture frames to fill a wing of the Met, and not nearly enough packing tape to keep them all from breaking in the move.
Before: A few knickknacks, which have fond memories associated with them and which I could definitely throw away if I really needed to.
After: A few dozen knickknacks, which I seem to be physically bound to and cannot part ways with, no matter how hard I try, for fear that if I throw away the physical manifestation of memories then those memories will be thrown away, too.
Before: No hats, because I’m firmly not a hat person.
After: Six hats.
Before: A few necessary paper documents in a folder labelled “important.”
After: A large drawer full of loose, largely unimportant papers—ranging from my 2016 tax return to three copies of my birth certificate, from when I studied abroad—that I will probably get rid of only when my grandchildren are rooting through my garage in fifty years and ask, “What’s this?,” and I respond, “Please, I beg of you, help me get rid of these Ikea receipts from 2013.”
Before: Too many decorative wine corks.
After: Still too many decorative wine corks.
More Info: newyorker.com