positive inventory

When I went to Asia, I had about forty pounds of gear including eleven pounds of photographic equipment. Now I am moving to Oregon and the moving company estimates my household goods at 15,000 pounds. For two months, I lived with gear weighing less than my body weight and really didn’t miss anything, yet I intend to move over seven tons.

I learned something packing for international trips. I can’t take everything I need out of the closet, stuff it all in my suitcase, take a few things out and hope it is lightweight. I needed a positive inventory, meaning a list of things I need to take. Before I even touch anything physically, I need to challenge myself if that item is absolutely necessary.

With the exception of fishing equipment, I have gone through every room in the house and found something to purge. I don’t intend to create a positive inventory for my entire household, but I have focused on my wardrobe. How many ties does a guy need? Especially if he is retired? OK, then, how many pairs of khakis, blue jeans, shorts, etc. Here’s a good one: how many T-shirts? Even that gets complicated because there are T-shirts with letters and prints commemorating places I visited, then there are T-shirts to work out in, and then there are T-shirts to wear under a suit and V-necks to wear under a dress shirt and long-sleeve T-shirts. Not to mention thermal T-shirts and synthetic travel T-shirts.

Anyhow, I went through everything and parted with any number of items that were somewhat old, worn, poor fitting or off-color. This produced several bags of clothing for Goodwill. But, I also have some clothes that are too new or too nice to just get rid of; but they exceed the limits of my positive wardrobe inventory. So, I came up with the supplemental concept. I put them in a box that I will move. Now my wardrobe fits in my dressers and closet. When the clothes in my wardrobe start to show wear, I can replace them with the “supplemental.”

Somehow, I’m not at all sure this will work. A year from now, the supplemental box may go to the Oregon Goodwill.

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