Three years ago I quit my job and began to take inventory of my life. It was a literal inventory, starting with all my electronics. I read somewhere that keeping track of your serial numbers was good for insurance purposes if your home burned down. But once that was done I started adding my furniture and other high ticket items that were scattered around my apartment.
It wasn't much. Just a crude spreadsheet listing the product name, store, price and date. All obtained from scanned copies of receipts and credit card statements. But with this list I was able to total how much I had spent on most of the things in my home and have a handy list of where I liked to shop in the process.
I knew I could go deeper. And began to look at the things in my apartment as question marks. What is your purpose? Why do I own you? When did I last use you? What are you worth?
I was already used to selling things on eBay, but my newfound love of removing unnecessary objects from my life turned me into a machine. I purchased a scale and a tape gun and began to save the boxes and bubble wrap from my amazon purchases. I had a system.
As I added to my list and further refined the data I began to see trends that prompted me to make simple, but financially beneficial decisions. The more information I added, the more information I was able to extract. It then became my goal to maintain a complete and current list of everything that I owned. (Which sounded substantially easier at the time.)
I have studied myself through the lens of my purchases and it has been fascinating. On the most simple level, I know exactly how many items I own and how much everything cost.
Every year I buy the appropriate amount of rental insurance, it takes about five minutes and I never worry that I'm not appropriately covered. If I ever personally lose or break an item I simply look at my spreadsheet and repurchase it when possible. By having this list I've realized how often I need to review it prior to business decisions. And by simply getting into the process of logging my items I have become a more informed consumer.
On a more advanced level I can see what the future will look like when every single data point on a person is not just trackable, but willingly displayed with affiliate gain.
I believe that we now live in a digital/analog world where if you don't have a website, you don't exist. If you have the data, it only makes sense to use it. And with it I can see a new world where every individual is their own shop. Everyone has something to say, and on the world wide web that information is valuable.
This is me.
- Matt Manhattan