less.best

The big cut

Once you’ve made your inventory and got your first score on the Ghalimi scale, it is time to make your big cut by further reducing the number of items that you own. You really want to do it now, because this opportunity won’t present itself again anytime soon. The reason for it is very simple: you’ve already made the hardest part of cutting things down, and while you might think that you have cut everything down to the bone, just sleep over it, then reconsider. When looking again at your inventory, you will find further opportunities for reduction, and you are currently in the very best frame of mind for it.

I did just that this morning on a flight from Singapore to Narita. Starting from my initial inventory, I went down the list several times, removing one thing after another. When everything was said and done, I had removed exactly one third of my items, going from 243 to 162. This took my score from 5 down to 4, and just 39 items from the 123 mark that would give me access to the exclusive realm of level 3 reductionists. Here is my current inventory.

To get there, I had to remove 81 items. The biggest gain came from cutting my number of changes for socks, boxers, and t-shirts from 14 down to 7. In other words, I’ll have to do my laundry once a week, which should not be too much of a challenge. This very simple adjustment saved me 21 items altogether.

Another gain came from tweaking some of the original rules that define the Ghalimi scale: form now on, the case and power charger that came with an item are not included in the total count, because the item cannot be used without its charger, and the case usually cannot be used for anything else but wrapping the item. Another justification is that such a set (item, case, charger) came as one unit, through a single purchase, therefore the emotional contribution resulting from this purchase is limited to a single item. Finally, the ecological footprint calculated for this item usually includes its accessories. But there is no denying that as author of the scale, I managed to improve my score with a little bit of a cheat…

Yet another gain came from removing my bedsheets, comforter, and pillows. The reason for it is a bit tricky and deserves some detailed explanations: for most people, the Reduce, Rent, Refine process will be a very personal endeavor that will usually not involve your loved ones (partner or children). Nevertheless, while you go through your reduction process, you are still living with them, sharing the same home, and within it the same household items. Therefore, your count should be limited to the items that you own personally, either because you are their single user (ie. clothes), or because you are their primary user (car, tools, etc.).

Granted, this distinction can be tricky at times, and you do not want to put yourself in a position where you could take advantage of it for artificially lowering your score. For example, if you are eating at home, you might want to include a certain number of dishes and silverware items to your count in order to reflect your pro-rata utilization of these items. As a result, I have included a comforter and a pillow as linen pro-rata.

What is next? Checking that I did not cut too deep.

To be continued…

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