Silly question, isn’t it? Most of us don’t know exactly, although we might have a good idea of how many towels we have. What difference does it make? Maybe more than you think.

If you know how many towels you have, you will know when that number gets low and when you should start looking for new ones. You might want to watch for sales or for hard to find color, so knowing ahead of time will help.

Boring? Maybe. It’s called managing a household and like most management positions, it has its ups and downs. Knowing what you have, what you need and what you might need will help keep everything on a more even keel. I’m not just talking about towels, either.

Most parents deal with work, kids, meals, doctors, dentists, extracurricular activities for the school kids and daycare and babysitters for the younger ones.

Add to that, shopping, cleaning and sometimes, a little time with your partner, and what do you have? Busy and often stressful lives and how much time do you have for organizing and managing?

Probably not much and that’s what makes it so important. When things are organized and managed well, they run smoothly. No more “We’re out of milk!” Or “That sheet is suddenly so thin I could read through it!” No “Where did you say the winter boots are??”

Wouldn’t it be nice to run a household where those words are never spoken? Here’s how to get a start on it:

Use a weekend to take inventory, but first, write down categories like linens, clothing and food. Then start checking. Do you need new towels? Is your stock of peanut butter running low? Do your kids need new socks? Take stock, too, of things like the age and condition of your computer or television and personal needs.

Write it all down, then analyze it. Can you afford to pay for everything you seem to need all at one time? If not, prioritize. Do you have the time and ambition to buy everything at one time?

Prioritize. If your kids’ socks have holes in them, that might be more important than replacing a half dozen cloth napkins and toilet paper trumps getting your nails done every time.

Once you’ve inventoried and prioritized, the rest will fall into place. Go ahead and buy what is most important right now and make solid plans on what you’re going to replace or add next.

Once you have your plan rolling, don’t quit. Take an hour on a regular basis to go over your list and prioritize again if needed. At least once a month, take another inventory and adjust your list accordingly.

You’ll find the entire household runs better with less effort. That’s not a bad return from counting towels, is it?