Do You Know What You Own?

Do you keep track of what you own in a list, or in your mind? I've tried both and while interesting for the initial understanding, they never proved useful long-term. How do you track your consumption?

. 2 min read. Minimalism.

Like many people, I’m drawn to challenge. Whether that’s the 100 Things Challenge, or Project 333, there’s something that draws me to have a benchmark to measure against.

In both these cases though, you’re measuring against someone else’s idea of how you should organize your life — albeit great advice. What would it look like for you to set your own measure of success?

A Personal Catalog

In going through items for my monthly goal in June, I’ve given a bunch of things to Goodwill. I started asking myself “How can I measure this progress?”.

This morning an answer hit me — a simple Google Docs catalog to track over time. Something where you could

The Idea

So, here’s what I’m thinking about trying for this. Creating a basic spreadsheet in the following form, and doing a massive inventory of my house.

After this doc is created, I’m planning on creating a super basic site to analyze and visualize these stats to understand possessions over time, which areas could use improvement.

The Website

I randomly registered a domain for this project this morning:

The idea, in short, is that someone could:

  • Create a Google Doc in the above format based on a template & make it public
  • Login to
  • Paste the URL into their Google Docs spreadsheet
  • See cool charts and insights; especially items over time, which categories you love the most, which areas you have a bunch of things you don’t love.
  • Be able to embed these charts into Medium or other publications to spread.

It’s a pretty basic idea but could be a neat one. I like that this would allow people to continue on with things in their own Google Spreadsheet, and I wouldn’t need to do any kind of crazy input system on my own.

I’ve recently done some fun Google Spreadsheet integrations at Pluralsight, and this would be a quick and fun use of that knowledge. I have no clue how the embed into Medium part would work from a technical level though. I imagine that would involve integrating with one of the providers but that would be something I’d need to look into.


I’m genuinely curious about feedback on this. I don’t see this as a product that would have a large audience, but it could be a niche tool.

  • What would you want in a system like that that would cause you to use it?
  • What would stop you from using it?
  • What would help you keep using it?
  • How would you hold yourself accountable to goals?

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