47 Things

Human beings have the capacity to learn to want almost any conceivable material object. Given, then, the convergence of a modern industrial culture capable of producing almost anything, the time is ripe for opening the storehouse of infinite need! … It is the modern Pandora’s box, and its plagues are loose upon the world. – Jules Henry

Right now, I own 47 things. Say what?!

Looks like I’m headed towards owning less and less, getting down my possessions until I’m in the *gasp* 30-things! Right?

Like I’ve written before here, it’s about having the things that are necessary to me now in order for me to be happy and to do my work.

If I got rid of my laptop, I certainly would find it much more difficult to do all my writing. Writing is my passion and love. So the laptop stays. And as for the other things?

The same idea applies for each thing. Everything I own must be weighed with careful consideration of the following 2 requirements (remember, these are my own rules because it’s my minimalist life and one can make up such rules as it applies to your own life):

2 Rules for the Things I Own

1. It must be useful. Which means, I must be using it to some degree. “Using it” means I need to be wearing it, writing with it, creating my art with it, carrying things around with it, and so forth. If I don’t use it, I get rid of it. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it.

2. If I haven’t used it the past 60 days, I re-evaluate why I have that item here in the first place. Then, I make a decision right on the spot: (1) Donate, (2) Sell, (3) Recycle, or (4) Trash. This helps to keep my things from accumulating over time. Train yourself to be a master of elimination.

Naturally, things will accumulate over time unless you consciously make an effort to keep it as simple as possible. Of course, many people who would like to be more simple or organized say, “I wish I had more time! If I did, then I would certainly be able to have less junk around here.”

Notice the “if, then” part of the sentence. A lot, and I mean a lot, of people say to some varying degree something similar to the above “if, then” reason of why they simply cannot find it within themselves to be more organized, simple or minimalist.

If you are having a difficult time paring down your items, might I suggest first evaluating why you feel this is the case. Discover the root cause of your problem. Don’t just try to mask it or put it off to the side. Dusting a desk with papers, folders and wrappers strewn about without ever eliminating the excess junk won’t help you be more minimalist.

You can read my ebook The Radical Minimalist as a starting point, if you need more inspiration to get you going. Or, Leo Babauta’s is an excellent resource for the how-to’s.

Too easy for you, you say? Burn everything, toss everything, throw everything off the roof, with Everett Bogue’s . That ought to do it!

Things I Do Not Include In My List of Things

You’ll see the below list won’t include my toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, shampoo, etc. This is because those items I just mentioned fall into the “consumables” category.

Consumables are those items which are used up on a daily basis, much like the fruits, vegetables, cereal, rice, bread, coffee, tea and soymilk I have in the kitchen. I don’t count such items because this list is only comprised of what I personally own.

Every minimalist will have his or her own rules. These are simply my rules.

If you want to count every cracker in your box of Ritz crackers, then that’s your business.

Here is everything I own, as of today, December 10, 2010. Every item here can be found in the above photo collage, reading from left to right, top to bottom.

47 Things

01. Netbook, Acer Aspire One 10.1″
02. Backpack, Patagonia
03. Journal, Moleskine
04. Art supplies (grouped as 1 item)
05. Shotokan Karate Kata book
06. Karate gi
07. Karate gear
08. USB Flash Drive
09. Important documents (Passport, Birth certificate)
10. Car, Silver, 2007 Honda Fit Sport (Selling this and going car-free in January, thanks to Tammy Strobel’s )
11. Headphones
12. Sunglasses, Brown
13. Eyeglasses
14. Bikini, Purple
15. Belt, Black
16. Linen gym bag, Green
17. Messenger bag, Green
18. Wristlet
19. Scarf, White
20. Winter coat
21. Jacket, Black
22. Hoodie, Gray
23. Tank top, Black
24. Tank top, Green
25. Bras (grouped as 1 item)
26. Winter Cap, Black
27. Earmuffs
28. Gloves, Gray
29. Gloves, Black
30. Sandals, Brown
31. Flats, Black
32. Sneakers, White
33. Vibram FiveFingers Classic, Black
34. Socks (grouped as 1 item)
35. Underwear (grouped as 1 item)
36. Jeans
37. T-shirt, Natural
38. Polo, Turquoise
39. Shorts, Black
40. Sweatpants, Gray
41. Khakis
42. Sweater, Red
43. Sweater, White
44. Work out capris, Black
45. Work out pants, Gray
46. T-shirt, Black
47. T-shirt, Gray

Life is simply better with less stuff, more love. There’s no way else to describe it. It just is.


Do you count your things as part of your minimalist life? If you do, what surprises you about the amount of things you own?

And if you don’t, how do you ensure your possessions don’t start overtaking you?

Authentic Art In Action

This Saturday, I’m heading to a small town in Illinois for the Illinois River Winery Artist In Residence Program I got accepted into to paint for 3 days straight, then snowboard my brains out in a ski/snow resort out West. Jenny Leonard of Where Is Jenny would be proud. Rest assured, I’ll have new posts published even while I’m gone.

The power of the digital age = amazing.

What’s Holding You Back?

A highly provocative, steamy post is next. You’ve been warned. Receive free updates by subscribing today with or . Are you my friend on and ? If not, what’s holding you back?