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How Much Crap Do We Really Need?: A List Of Our Possessions

in Sell Your 'Stuff', Travel

Master List

Let me start of by admitting that this isn’t EVERYTHING quite yet.  This is currently our list of what we are actually taking to Australia.  We have a little bit more than this still, but are rapidly in purge mode.  If it’s not on the following list, it’s being sold, donated, or thrown away. Period.

I don’t want to sound like a washed-up hippie, but selling all of our stuff and gradually having it shrink smaller and smaller has been so liberating.  I can’t put my finger on exactly what the feeling is, but it’s amazing.  I’m not sure if it’s a control issue or a simplicity issue. Maybe both.  The only thing I wish is that we had done this sooner.

I guess I should take this time to inform anyone who might be new to the blog that my family (daughter included) is moving to Australia in 2.5 weeks now.  We’ve decided rather than buy a storage bin, that we would just get rid of all of our belongings.  We aren’t opposed to coming back, but we want to be free to choose our destination without being influenced by a ton of crap back here.

Enough already.  Lists are easier to read!

Important Items [11 items - TOTAL: 11]

  • Wedding Ring
  • Wedding Ring
  • Wallet
  • Purse (small)
  • Wallet (Courtney)
  • Essential Documents Folder
  • Backpack (Courtney)
  • Backpack (Adam)
  • Car Seat (free on flights)
  • Pack ‘N Play
  • 2 Pillow Cases

Adam Clothes [29 items - TOTAL: 40]

  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Undershirt
  • Undershirt
  • Undershirt
  • Undershirt
  • Undershirt
  • Socks
  • Socks
  • Socks
  • Socks
  • Socks
  • T-Shirt
  • T-Shirt
  • Decent Non-Collar Shirt (green)
  • Decent Non-Collar Shirt (brown)
  • Collared Shirt (blue)
  • Collared Shirt (black)
  • Dress Shirt (blue)
  • Khaki Shorts
  • Khaki Pants
  • Jeans
  • Swim Trunks
  • Pajama Pants
  • Running Shoes
  • Multi-Purpose Sandals

Courtney Clothes [32 items - TOTAL: 72]

Keep in mind Courtney will be interviewing for a professional job as a teacher.  This means she has to take a couple “nicer” clothes we normally wouldn’t.

  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Underwear
  • Bra
  • Bra
  • Sports Bra
  • Socks
  • Socks
  • Undershirt (white)
  • Undershirt (white)
  • Undershirt (white)
  • T-Shirt
  • Tank-Top
  • Tank-Top
  • Tank-Top
  • Tank-Top
  • Tank-Top
  • Swimsuit
  • Shorts (Blue)
  • Pants (Black)
  • Pants (White)
  • Dress Shirt
  • Dress Shirt
  • Dress
  • Dress
  • Casual Jacket
  • Dress Jacket
  • Running Shoes
  • Dress Sandals
  • Flip-Flops

Milligan Clothes/Gear [23 items - TOTAL: 95]

  • Onesie
  • Onesie
  • Onesie
  • Onesie
  • Onesie
  • Dress
  • Dress
  • Skirt
  • Skirt
  • Pants
  • Pants
  • Pants
  • Tennis Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Monkey Backpack/Leash
  • 20-pack diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Blankie
  • Sippie Cup
  • Baby powder
  • Rash Cream
  • Baby sunblock
  • Hair ties

Toiletries [12 items - TOTAL: 107]

  • Toothpaste (small)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush
  • Nail clippers
  • Shampoo (small)
  • Conditioner (small)
  • Deodorant
  • Hair clippers
  • Q-Tip
  • Sunblock
  • Misc (small baggie)
  • Small medicine container

Electronics [18 items - TOTAL: 125]

  • Laptop
  • Charger
  • Mouse
  • Headset (Skype)
  • Jump Drive
  • Jump Drive
  • Webcam
  • Digital Video Camera
  • Charger/USB
  • Awesome Digital Camera
  • Charger
  • Small Digital Camera
  • Charger
  • All-in-1 Card Reader
  • MP3 Player
  • Headphones
  • Walky-Talkies
  • Courtney Watch

Entertainment [11 items - TOTAL: 136]

  • Travel Book
  • Courtney 1 Book
  • Adam 1 Book
  • Deck Of Cards
  • Flux
  • Phase 10
  • Harmonica
  • Pen
  • Pen
  • Yellow Pad
  • Journal

Scuba Gear [6 items - TOTAL: 142]

A couple years ago, I spent way too much money on premium scuba gear.  Even though it takes up a ton of room, I just can’t bring myself to get rid of it when our destination is one of the scuba diving capitals of the world!

  • Scuba Gear Sack
  • Flippers
  • Water Boots
  • Face Mask
  • Snorkle
  • Weight Belt

So as of now our list is 142 items deep.  This certainly isn’t the end-all-be-all of lists, however it’s a great guide for us.  We also know, whether we decide to settle into one place or not, that there will be several things we need to purchase once we arrive in Australia.  We are going to make an earnest attempt to keep these to a minimum though.

What about you?  Could you make a list of all of your possessions?  What do you think it would reveal?  Is there anything that we blatantly forgot? What could you not live without?

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com May 19, 2009 at 8:46 AM

I don’t document (and have never documented) everything I own.. but I can tell you that I can move on a moment’s notice with 3 suitcases, 2 carry-ons and the clothes on my back :)

Does that help?

I know I don’t need much. We rent, we don’t have much furniture, we already have pre-set buyers for our bikes and speakers when we finally move… and the only reason why I have 3 suitcases is because I love everything in my wardrobe — it has taken me years to get to a wardrobe that works for any situation, any time I need it to.

I literally.. have it all, while being able to fit it into 2 suitcases (the third suitcase is for a few books and my electronics of course).

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 9:00 AM

That’s awesome! The list isn’t important in and of itself, it just has helped us visualize. Frankly, I know how big of fashion buff your are (i follow the blog), I’m surprised you don’t have even more!

I’m a little scared we will have to cut down on things even more. We will see in the next few weeks!

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David May 19, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Awesome post. If people truly knew what they owned, I am sure they would start to panic about the amount of crap they carry around with them! Very inspirational, I might make a list as well.

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 10:01 AM

You definitely should, man, it’s eye-opening. Let me know if you do, I’d be interested!

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Kevin M May 19, 2009 at 9:55 AM

We’ve pared down our stuff in the past year via garage sales, donations and Amazon.com sales but we still have a lot. It has certainly grown since we had our son in August 2007, but we are trying to keep it manageable. I would guess 90% of the stuff we use on a weekly basis – but the other 10% is seldom used (some of my tools, Christmas decorations, old photos, etc.)

I can see what you mean by feeling liberated, but at the same time some things make home feel like home – a comfy sofa, the blanket my great-grandma knitted for me as a baby, the bookshelf I bought for $5 and refinished that is now one of my favorites.

Question:
What was the hardest thing for you and your wife to get rid of? And what did you do with old photos and other personal items? I can’t imagine getting rid of that stuff.

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 10:06 AM

To be honest, we have a small fireproof safe that has our wedding album and like 1 or 2 things from when our daughter was born. It will be at a family members house.

Most of our other pictures are digital now. We are relatively young, so we don’t have a ton of old standard pictures that we wouldn’t part with. We’ve been digital for a while.

I’d say the hardest thing for my wife was getting rid of a lot of her clothes. She’s never been obsessive about her clothes, but it’s just harder for women to dress minimally than it is for guys. It’s just the truth.

Some of our other hardest things were probably some of Milli’s first clothes and trinkets. We kept 2 total, but got rid of another 10-20. I’ve never been the sentimental-trinket type of person. I’ve got a couple things I like, but I try to keep it minimal.

Lastly, I completely understand about what you’ve said about making your house a home. I definitely agree. Obviously, we don’t have a home right now, so it’s easy for us to make this sort of list. However, even for people that do creating this sort of thing can help differentiate between those things that truly make the home and those things that clutter it!

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Dana September 3, 2009 at 6:56 PM

I know this is an old post, but I thought I would share an idea of mine because I have tons of old photos from my pre-digital days.

I have been fascinated by the concept of scrapbooking for quite a while now. I was into it before it was a fad, although I didn’t use all the decorative stuff. I just liked being able to put photos on a page wherever I wanted them, throw in some clippings from various events of note, and then be able to write on the page itself. Heaven. I hate pocket pages, and “magnetic” pages are evil too.

So at some point I wanted to be able to sit down and scrapbook all this stuff. But I’ve been pretty low-income for years now. I also don’t have the room to keep a lot of scrapbooking supplies. And one problem with any form of sticking photos to a page is that it’s never permanent. Eventually, pockets tear, corners fall off and glue comes undone. And what if I want to rearrange something? Egads.

It was when I was putting together a photo book of my daughter’s first year at Lulu and cursing the limited display and layout options available there that it hit me: Why don’t I just make up my own photo albums electronically, then print them through a POD publisher?

I have OpenOffice, which can turn text files into PDFs. Usually, the POD publishers want you to send your stuff to them in PDF format. And it’s nothing to take a Word-style text file, add photos to it and arrange them however you want. You can even make textured backgrounds.

So that’s what I’ll do. And then I will seriously pare down the physical photos I own to the ones that are most special to me and that would mean the most to my kids if I were to pass them down.

I collect books anyway (and need to pare back!), so I’d just as soon have printed photo albums as part of that collection as anything else I could possibly buy at Half-Price Books.

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No Debt Plan May 19, 2009 at 10:03 AM

Awesome man. That seems like a lot, but I bet when you lay it all out it isn’t much.

A piece of me wants to join you down unda!

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Come visit anytime!

I’m thinking we might have to cut this by at least another 20%. I’m really worried about the flippers and scuba gear. But once again, they are top of the line (mistake from years past) and it almost seems retarded to sell them when moving to the Great Barrier Reef!

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Mama Bird May 19, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Wow, you’ve really parred it down. Great job. There are just a couple of things I thought of looking at your list right off the bat is your shoes, but I’m guessing you probably won’t be going out to nice restaurants or clubs that require more smart, casual shoes? Otherwise, if you didn’t care much about quality, you could pick up a cheap pair there. You PAY for quality shoes in Australia, though here you can get nice shoes fairly inexpensively. My inlaws always buy shoes when they visit us.

The other thing is the plug converter for all of your electronics. I’m assuming you made sure they all have switching power supplies, but you will still need a plug converter, which you can get at a luggage store.

You might also want to throw in a few blank CDs to download things onto as back-ups. If you are going to download/upload photos off your camera, I recommend doing it at an internet cafe since the limits on home plans are generally lower and can get eaten up by this. Also, Snapfish is both is the US and Australia, so you might want to look into them for photo sharing.

I mean, really, you can get anything you need there, it’s just that stuff is more expensive there in most cases. But, the reality is, if you forget something and need it, it’s not like you have to go without.

Oh yeah! Sunglasses! You MUST have sunglasses. It’s way too freaking sunny there not to. And a hat for Milligan if she already has one. She must have a hat. The sun is VERY harsh there.

If I had to drop something, it would be the scuba gear. There are so many rental places and boat trips that provide you with everything you need. You could always put it in a box ready to ship and if you end up staying, have someone ship it to you. That is what I would do.

Good luck!

Mama Bird’s last blog post..Sunday ER Visit

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MLR May 19, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Great point! People often forget about the bandwidth caps in Australia.

To us it is ridiculous. Over there it is ordinary.

In fact, Baker, your videos… how large are they? That may cut into your b/w allotment quite a bit!

MLR’s last blog post..How to Get a Job with the Federal Government

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 2:59 PM

You are joking about this internet crap right? Oh dear god, that might be a big problem! I guess it’s something I’ll have to deal with once I get there.

We’ve thought about the plug converters, but haven’t gotten any yet. I need to seriously look into that soon, so thanks for the reminder.

Sunglasses did come up, but in reality we jsut don’t have any. I was kind of thinking about waiting til we got there and just buying a cheap pair.

Milligan does have a hat we just forgot to put it on the list! Good suggestion.

We are strongly considering the scuba gear. I just spent way too much on it. Although that doesn’t matter now, it’s still hard.

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Jeff@StretchyDollar May 19, 2009 at 11:31 AM

That’s a pretty amazing list, if you think about how much you started with. I think you did a really good job of analyzing your priorities and cutting down to just what you needed. Knowing what’s essential for the task(s) at hand can really force us to focus on what’s important, which is a good thing. Most impressive!

Jeff@StretchyDollar’s last blog post..10 Phrases That Will Sink Your Budget

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Yeah, we are always going back and forth on what’s essential, but we’ve gotten it down to what we think is a good balance. We will see once we start packing!

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Ashley May 19, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Don’t forget lotion and washcloths. Are you sure that just 5 days of underwear is enough? I would at least bring a full weeks worth of undies.

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Well, we know we will have to do a load every two to three days, but think this is worth it. It might not hurt to take an extra two days. Our theory is we can always buy some more if we need once we get there.

The washcloth is a good suggestion, which makes me remember we forget to mention towels. We are taking two chamois thingies. I think that’s how you spell it!

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MLR May 19, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Oh, another thing. How much would it cost to bring the Scuba Gear, and how much did it cost to buy it?

J/w if paying the extra luggage fee is better than paying to ship it via FedEx or just selling it off…

MLR’s last blog post..Save Money On Gas By Knowing Your Cars Cost Per Mile (Thanks Fuelly!)

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:04 PM

The gear was several hundred dollars for all of it. We plan on actually packing it into the bottom of the largest backpack though, so it won’t be an extra bag. If it doesn’t fit, we are going to look into shipping rates for sure.

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Courtney Baker May 19, 2009 at 7:05 PM

We could carry the Scuba gear in it’s own bag and still not pay. Since we only have two bags and a pack n play, we haven’t met our luggage caps.

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Chrissy May 19, 2009 at 12:04 PM

I like Mama Bird’s idea about shipping the scuba gear after you get there.

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 1:55 PM

We are strongly considering this.

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Bible Money Matters May 19, 2009 at 12:14 PM

All I need is this ash tray. And this thermos, and that’s all I need.

But seriously, there aren’t a lot of things that i can think of that I couldn’t do without. There are a lot of things I’d prefer not to have to do without, but if it came down to it, i could probably get rid of 90% or more of my stuff. Our lives aren’t defined by the things we own. (or shouldn’t be!)

Getting nervous for the big move yet?

Bible Money Matters’s last blog post..10 Dumb Ways Of Wasting Money

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Actually, we aren’t nervous at all. Probably naivety blocking nervousness, haha!

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Stephanie PTY May 19, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I’m working on my own list right now, as well – in preparation for moving out of my parents’ house and out on my own. My list is split into things that would go into a moving van (which I’m hoping to get down to the bare minimum) and things to go with me in my car (well, ok, that should also be pared down to the minimum). My main problem is books. I’ve collected so many, and they’re hard to let go of. I have yearbooks from every year of middle/high school and most of elementary schools, which makes for a heavy box of stuff that I look at once a year, but couldn’t ever bring myself to get rid of. I guess that one’s going in the moving van!

Stephanie PTY’s last blog post..SmartyPig Walkthrough: Setting Up My “New Car Fund”

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:06 PM

I had a ton of books, as well. I just finally had to dump them. I don’t know what happened but one day I just listed them all on Amazon and donated all the ones which wouldn’t sell. I’ve given away teh rest of my PF collection on the site over the last couple of weeks!

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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer May 19, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Random thoughts:

- You seem to be cutting pretty close to the bone, and there are still 142 items on the list. It makes me wonder how many items I own … I’m sure I don’t want to know.

- Harmonica? Will we be having the pleasure of listing to Baker’s Outback Concerto in MP3 in the near future?

- What sort of range do the walkie talkies have in metro areas? Do you get any interference from other wireless devices?

- I’d totally thump you in Phase 10.

Kosmo @ The Casual Observer’s last blog post..Raising the roof

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Yeah, well I’m pretty proud of the 142, especially for 2.5 people.

I just started teaching myself the harmonica a couple months ago. Admittedly, it’s taken a back seat to the blog recently. But maybe I’ll record a private concert sometime ;-)!

We haven’t bought the walky-talkies yet. We have to do some more research first.

My wife is the big Phase 10 player. I prefer games that you know… take skill ;-)!

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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer May 19, 2009 at 3:36 PM

What, trash talk and deception aren’t considered skills? :)

Trivial Pursuit’s my game of choice, but Phase 10 is the game I can con others into playing.

Kosmo @ The Casual Observer’s last blog post..Sunday sports section

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Sarah Mae May 19, 2009 at 12:31 PM

This list is hysterical! Underwear, underwear, underwear… hahahaha!!

Your blog is growing like a weed…um, flower…how exciting! Love it! :)

Sarah Mae’s last blog post..Blogaversary Party, Day 7 – New Things Brewing!

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Haha, weed or flower, I’m having fun!

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David May 19, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Huh, I hadn’t even thought about doing a list like this. Will come in handy if Peace Corps picks me up. Having free storage for all my crap (on one coast) and car (on the other) tends to make me keep stuff, and that storage won’t be forever. I don’t have a lot, but still, it’s a lot more than 2-3 suitcases worth!

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:29 PM

Try it man, it’s awesome!

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Brad @ enemyofdebt May 19, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Boy do we ever need a list!!!! haha! Actually we are in the process of simplifying our life by getting rid of non essential crap! A lot of it too! We have just begun but plan to rid our entire house of stuff we don’t use. I can tell you, after doing our bedroom and our son’s bedroom, once we make it through the entire house we will have gotten rid of so much stuff. It’s unbelievable! We are even going to minimize our sons toy collection which has grown at an unbelievable rate in the almost three years he has been around. Brian Tracy (motivational speaker) says that if you go 6 months without using, reading, or picking up something…you don’t need it, get rid of it! I need to use this advice more regularly and maybe even shorten that 6 months to 6 weeks! LOL

Brad @ enemyofdebt’s last blog post..As Seen On CNN.com

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Baker May 19, 2009 at 3:30 PM

6 weeks would be a much better time frame for us. I usually use something for like a month straight and then never touch it again. I’m kind of A.D.D. about things like that!

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Ralph May 19, 2009 at 9:40 PM

This is an awesome blog. Congrats on the move to Australia. I know some people there and they are wonderful people.

I’m almost afraid of taking a tally of my possessions. I like to be clutter free but tend to hold on to things for much longer than I should.

So what I’ve started doing is reducing the amount of stuff I accumulate that way there is no backup I begin to remove the unnecessary things subconsciously. Its like going on a fast. When you fast, your body has time to digest the food that has been building up because there is no new food coming in. If I can avoid bringing in new things to my place, I can work to remove the things that were there for too long.

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Don’t be afraid man, just do it. It’ll suck up front, but once you’re done the feeling is awesome. Really, do it and let me know how it goes!

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Matt B May 19, 2009 at 9:58 PM

I also have never listed everything I own, but it would probably take MONTHS, especially if I included the girl’s stuff.

Matt B’s last blog post..Finding Money for College, Even if your Credit is “Ruined”

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Oh, c’mon, it wouldn’t take months! Once you get rolling it goes pretty fast. Take your time and go room to room ;-). You won’t regret it!

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half May 20, 2009 at 7:25 AM

After living on four continents in the last four years, we’ve kind of gotten the packing and moving bit down. I think that is a good list to start with especially for an initial move. However, I’d contemplate shipping yourself a couple of boxes of stuff once you are setup. That’s what we generally do (2 full suitcases each on the way there and then 2-3 boxes that arrive later). Having only a weeks worth of underwear/socks and barebone supplies are great if you are constantly traveling/moving. But, if you are going to find yourself living in a place for 6 months or a year at a time, you’ll probably want to double your amount of clothes/shoes and have a little extra stuff to make yourself feel more at home.

Plus, if you are moving to a more modern area of the world (Europe, Australia, Japan) it is generally cheaper to ship stuff you already own than it is to re-purchase stuff when you get at your location. You don’t appreciate how much cheaper many things are in the USA until you live elsewhere. And buying all the little stuff really does add up. I still use my trips back to the USA to replenish supplies because it is so much more cost effective.

As far as the power converters, I find them to be to much of a nuissance. Fine for travel, just not for living. I’d buy any electronic devices that you need, that aren’t already dual voltage, when you get there.

Congratulations on making the move. Enjoy Oz

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Mama Bird May 20, 2009 at 8:43 AM

He doesn’t need a power converter (I agree about these), but he does need a PLUG converter for his electronics with switching power supply that he is taking.

Mama Bird’s last blog post..Cloth Diaper Repair

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 1:58 PM

I really haven’t given much thought to the power situation if I am being honest. Can either one of you be more specific with what I will need? I would appreciate it!

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generation millionaire May 20, 2009 at 9:09 PM

My grandfather was a true minimalist. He literally had 1 fork, 1 spoon, 1 knife, 1 dish and coffee cup. A couple of shirts, shorts, pants. basic furniture in his little 1 bedroom beach house.

my aunt would come and buy him a set of silverware – he would say “how many forks can you eat with at a time?”, when she left he would donate the new silverware and be at peace in his world. I work to follow his path – but i am not quite down to 1 fork!

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Man, I can totally feel that attitude. Right after are done using dishes we wash them and put them to dry, every time. So essentially it wouldn’t be that hard for me to get by with 1 of everything per person. Maybe 2 sets extra for the occasional guest!

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Chase May 21, 2009 at 2:36 AM

yes, it’s official: I love this blog.

I’ve been in Taiwan for 9 months, and have haphazardly been learning much about minimizing my life. I’ll be returning to the States in September, and have decided to begin a war on my debt. Looking forward to this camaraderie in the battle!

Enjoy Australia. You’ll no doubt have an incredible time.
-Chase
The Taiwan Drift[er]

Chase’s last blog post..Creative Opportunities

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Thanks for the love!

Taiwan sounds exciting, but the language barrier would be too much for me right now. I’d like to ease into some countries like that, but for now we are going to stick to English!

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Lori May 22, 2009 at 5:15 PM

This is really helpful as my husband and I are moving to a small apartment in a few months. Then in a few years we plan to move overseas to somewhere with fewer amenities (like hi-speed internet). We are trying to live light now in preparation for traveling light later, and it’s great to see your example of how to actually get ready for such a change.

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Baker May 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Awesome, Lori. Sounds like your situation is very similar, just with a different timeline! Please continue to keep me informed with whats going on. I love hearing stories about other’s travels.

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Russ Smith June 1, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Wow, what a list? When i first started reading, i didn’t know you were going to go down to the underwear – very complete. I like that. I have wanted to make a list like this too, and morph it with a list called “What I use” if we can mold the 2 “What I Own” and “What I use” and subtract the difference, we could end up with essentially “What I need”. a smell a post. :)

Russ Smith’s last blog post..How’s your job security?

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Travis July 18, 2009 at 10:58 AM

It seems our society has an issue with working more hours than they need so they can continue to buy more crap that they also don’t need. I agree with the “liberating” feeling that getting rid of it all gives you. I recently went on a big spree and COMPLETELY cleaned out and got rid of a lot of my old junk and items that I once considered important, and despite having less, I actually feel like I have a lot MORE.

Now I focus my time on things I truly enjoy, whether it’s playing guitar, going for a run, or spending time with good friends, and less time in solitude with all my “stuff.”

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Katie August 9, 2009 at 10:00 AM

So is your family not going to cook at all? You need dishes and pans and cooking supplies. What about school supplies, office supplies, entertainment, cleaning supplies, supplies for hobbies. It’s cheaper to buy things in America and ship them than buy them all in Australia. Australia isn’t cheap. Good luck with the move.

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J.N.Urbanski August 11, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Streuth! I came to New York ten years ago with two bags of clothing and now I couldn’t even begin to list all my possessions. I went through a photography phase while I was working for a magazine and had a gallery and sold work so I have thousands of negatives and boxes of images. That’s just for starters. Why I need to keep all the magazines I buy I don’t know. I’m aware of Nexis Lexis, yet I persist. I’m really good with the laundry, so my clothes last forever. I also have a pile of Mac hardware and wires, software, equipment, a darkroom, books to fill a library. My god, it goes on forever…
.-= J.N.Urbanski´s last blog ..Chicks & Ammo =-.

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BigDave August 14, 2009 at 8:27 PM

Hey mate…I live in Australia in an area close to awesome coral reefs, islands etc. Just interested to know where you will end up?? The Great Barrier Reef is a rather large formation….LOL

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MSQ September 13, 2009 at 4:53 PM

This is awesome.
When I was about 14, my family moved to Venezuela… the moving company had us inventory everything we were packing in our 6 wooden boxes (1cubic meter each) for insurance purposes and also customs paperwork. We made an Excel list of everything we packed and it was 23 pages long!! I still remember helping my mum pack, unpack and making that list… We took so much stuff!!! I can’t really tell what part of we took we actually needed.
I suppose when you move with teenage kids the picture is different, but still… I deeply admire your approach!

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Steve in MA September 14, 2009 at 3:54 AM

This is an intriguing idea. I might try making the list just to see what it tells me or if somehow it helps me organize things.

If I listed all the stuff I own it would be like 1,142 items long though, not 142.

To tell the truth I don’t see this as a problem necessarily. It’s not only my personal stuff but stuff my family has acquired over generations. Eventually it will all wear out and 200 years from now my descendants will start shopping again. It could take longer because I repair my stuff when it starts to break.

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jean September 16, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Great post. Just discovered your blog. I’m late to this party but my inner Librarian is curious to know: Which books (of one each) did you and wife choose to include in the great adventure.

Jean

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Sarah September 20, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Just found your blog and I love it! You remind me of, well, me…I moved to Berlin 8 years ago with my backpack. I didn’t have a job or a place to live or any contacts but 3 months was all it took to get settled. I had sold or given away all that I owned before leaving NY and it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever known. Now, 8 years later I’ve accumulated quite a bit once again; it may just be time to do it again.
.-= Sarah´s last blog ..Here’s How… =-.

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Mary Hall October 22, 2009 at 12:13 AM

Sadly, my list would be infinitely longer. But! I am trying to get rid of old stuff that I have been holding on to for a while now. I find that it helps to actually bin something really quick before I hesitate and change my mind.

Like Sarah, I’ve just found your blog a couple of days ago and have been doing some reading. Really enjoyable entries :)
.-= Mary Hall´s last blog ..Holding on to Your Dream Home =-.

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Piko Neal October 29, 2009 at 8:29 PM

I took you challenge. Two days agos, I finally posted on craigslist some items I was no longer using and got rid of 200+ items. I went to my apartment last weekend and look around and saw stuff that I have accumlated and I did not use in the last two years, so I gave it to some needy families. It felt as if a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Thank you for challenging my thinking.

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Mara November 20, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Wow, I could NEVER list all the things we own! Our house is so full of junk it would be impossible to list everything! That’s it, I’m going to throw it all out. I’m SO inspired by your post. Thank you!

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SavingDiva December 31, 2009 at 3:02 PM

WOW! There is no way that I could document every item that I own. However, it is eye opening about the number of things that I own and don’t actually need.

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Honey January 26, 2010 at 10:14 PM

While I in no way own only 140ish things…I figure the only place in the world that’d be as proud as me about this…

We’ve 3 children, 2 girl, 9girl, 10boy…after 10 years of clothing from them…their toys, baby equipment (which was still tons even though I breastfeed, cosleep, cd’d & ec’d), our clothes & the 10 years of homeschool crap we’ve accumulated in our quest of littering the childrens paths we have currently taken 56 bags of clothing to Goodwill, 2 truckloads of boxed books to Half Price Books, donated baby gear & such to a friend who is basically raising his stepdaughters baby, donated tons of parenting, birthing,breastfeeding, pregnancy books to a group I use to work with…& there’s still a garage full….but we’re still going. We’ve another van load going tomorrow which will then be reloaded with a twin bedroom set & donated. My husband is really starting to worry we’ll be audited….so I’m taking pictures! ;)

We are looking up to you as we thin, thin, thin, thin, & thin down some more. My problem isn’t my clothes…it was the newborn clothes…now those caused some tears! :)

Honey
http://www.mondorment.blogspot.com

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Rodican January 29, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Its amazing what you´ve done!
Right now my wife and I are packing our stuff to move to another city… 2200kms away! Sooo i really envy you right now… really… But this past few weeks have been liberating, i actually never thought of all the excess clothing, wires/cables, and many more redundant stuff around me, until now. As Piko Neal, i gave away a looot of stuff!!! And it feels even kinda selfish to say, that it felt good… but still im ashamed of myself, because the stuff would have stayed there if i wasnt moving out : S !

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Sandy January 30, 2010 at 8:02 PM

I’ve been itching to do a purge – have spent time thinking about it and making notes of what I want to get rid of but my problem is, I don’t know where it should go. I don’t have a car right now and I don’t want to throw it all in the dumpster. So what kinds of things should I sell and where can I sell it and what kinds of things can I give away and who can I give it to? I’d love to have a yard sale but I have no yard (renting an apartment). A lack of car is a big one as I can’t really transport boxes of stuff by bus or walking.

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Violet Pammy April 11, 2010 at 10:15 AM

i saw this link, ‘how much crap do we actually need?’ around a couple of months ago, and have just come back to it, and now feel quite relieved in a way, to read all the post contributions; as for me, a few months ago, a seed was planted in my mind, that i want to go LIVE abroad, and then i began to feel outfaced. i started considering backpacking, alone.
So, for a start, thankyou to Baker for creating a place online, where the prospect of traveling and living somewhere other to what is already known, can be shared here. The subject of posessions itself has been consuming me, and it is feeling very bizarre, in terms of how the mind works in relation to posessions, and it feels to me, an occupation itself, to clear out the pre occupation, with things, which i would rather just leave alone!
One of the keywords i found, is, LIGHTWEIGHT. The thing with this, is that even a piece of paper, which is light itself, – with heavy words on it, can feel like a lump of lead. This applies to posessions and INNER junk. The quest to free oneself of posessions, in itself, i am finding to be a big thing, let alone how everything else unfolds. So, i agree with Baker, that yes, it’s both about control, and also simplicity, although it i am not finding any of this easy.
For me, the whole thing about travelling and moving, brings up the subject of being alone, and it is really testing my inner strength.
My car is SORN, and now, it doesn’t even feel worth getting it on the road, to do a Car Boot Sale, so i’ve asked someone with a car to help, and yet, that in itself isn’t an easy option. I’ve put all the items, which doesn’t even amount to much yet takes up alot of space, in a storage space in my flat. I’ve categorized things into binliners such as, miscellaneous, clothing, footwear.i have electrical items, like lamps, and an old scanner, and things which is taking up mindspace, which selling at a Car Boot Sale is chancy in that what will sell is unknown, and i’d end up carrying the whole load of **** back with me. So, appears to be quite futile. It’s not going to be of financial gain, and i would probably need to do a few CBS’s. It’s cuz i find it hard to simply just let go. And just like i read in an earlier post, i came to this flat with hardly anything, and i have accummulated, just cuz of the ‘buyer’ mentality, and ignorance. Why i don’t take some of it to a Charity Shop, is beyond me. It’s as though i spent money to get it, so now i want money for it … and actually, all this mindset does, is keep me prisoner. There is even a Charity Shop locally, near a Supermarket, and i could use a Supermarket trolley, and gradually transport it that way.
The larger items, can be put on Ebay for pick up only for someone with no transportation. It requires having a computer and finding your way around selling in Ebay, and the attention required with this is also consuming.
So yes! Sandy, i hear you.
It’s challenging on different levels. It’s hard to put sentiment in the bin, and even in a local skip which someone else hired, which is in walking distance.
A trip by bus to cash converters is on my mind, for jewellry.
At first, i was thinking i would ship the appliances, i.e washing machine, fridge, and my bed. But now, i’m i’m thinking that would hardly amount to more in £ than the flight back itself. Do i call in house clearance service? And it is an issue of confidence, to do with what i feel i can live with and without. Visiting the launderette where ever that is, without transport, or having a new washing machine delivered?
I have no one i could ask, to ship anything even though i agree with one of the posts here, that for traveling, reducing everything, to what you can carry on your back is something in itself to arrive at, although, very probably, with the prospect of finding somewhere to actually stay for any length of time, with me, … i wouldn’t want to start clothes hunting all over again, even though this may not even be an issue for somebody else.
So … i’m gonna be coming back to this site, to hear how others are going about all this, because it can be isolating with all these considerations going on, which i’m not used to, and it’s good to see, that i’m not the only one, and thinking that i’m crazy for even putting myself in this position, and feeling like i’m heavy and going nowhere.

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Red July 2, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Oh, geez! For a second y’all were making me feel really bad about my own list. Then I realized you weren’t including things like Courtney’s makeup or kitchen goods. I’m feeling much better now. :-p

I agree though. Once you list out what you own, what you can get rid of becomes much clearer. I didn’t know you did this. I may need to start reading your archives! :)

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MattieB5 September 16, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Okay, so we are not like most of you with how far we went, but I still feel liberated by our move.

For various reasons we chose to walk away from our 4,000 sq ft house, but it was our choice. As a Family of 5 (newbie to 16), we decided to downsize considerably. In the process, anything not used in the last 60 days was gone. Holy cow, what a difference! We kept essential clothes, kitchenware, and basic tools. Once we arrived to our new place, we made the second and final round of cuts for now.

What a great experience. We find we are focussed more on Family. We are active around the dinner table. The kids are more involved with each other. We all agree this was the best decision we have ever made, and would NEVER go back to our previous life.

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Anny July 9, 2011 at 6:11 PM

I’ve considered making a list of all my possessions, and there would definitely be a lot more items on it, particularly because I would be counting furniture, kitchen stuff, books/papers, plants. I’m trying to figure out my minimum and then stick with it as best I can. Some hobbies seem more stuff-intensive than others, e.g. if you want to do art, there are often a lot of supplies involved, and then once you finish the art, it gets added to your stuff list. Music, not necessarily so much.

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shirley October 7, 2011 at 6:20 PM

I’ve noticed, you didn’t even mention CELL PHONE. Nobody has. I can rid myself of a lot of clutter, non used household items, but a CELL PHONE… or a PHONE BOOK.

My favorite motto is, “You spend the first half of your life obtaining things, and spend the second half of your life, getting rid of it all.”

I have bedroom furniture that I just finished paying off, and hope to have this furniture well into my 90′s. Queen Bed, 2 nightstands, 2 dressers. 2 lamps. All this and ONE artwork in my bedroom along with a mirror.

My home office consists of all my electronics, photo albums, important documents. All my books, DVD’s, CD’s, VHS tapes have been sold to Half Price Books. I have a computer, scanner, printer, digital camera, mp3 player, jump drives, etc., but can’t live without my scanner. I scan EVERYTHING into my computer. Bank Statements, letters, correspondance, etc… and throw out the original. If I need it again, I can view it or reprint it.

My dining room consists of 1 table, 4 chairs and a wine rack. My kitchen is fully stocked with all that I need for one person – up to 8 people. I love to cook and entertain.

My living room has a couch, a love seat and a recliner. I live alone… but I bought the couch/loveseat as a set. It’s nice, but I’m not in love with it. If it were up to me, I would just keep the one recliner, but like I said, I like to entertain. I have friends come over, it’s a place for my guests to sit. sometimes I lay on the couch, instead of my recliner. I have options. I have lots of photo frames in my living room on the bookshelves, from where I have traveled. I print my favorite pictures and put them in frames.

My garage is another story. I can park my car in there, but i’ve got my sporting goods, golf clubs, tennis rackets, skates, skis, both water and snow. I have camping gear and such. I have my washer and dryer and I shop for groceries in bulk to save money, though I am one person. I store it in the garage. I have christmas decorations and 4th of July decorations. I have my dad’s entire train set, which I refuse to part with. I only have ONE piece of exercise equipment.

All this, and I still find that I purge every 6 months, shoes, purses, clothes, etc.

The greatest items I have, are my mp3 player, which holds 5,000 songs, which would be 500 cds, and my e-reader has 150 books which I couldn’t imagine carrying 10 with me at all times.

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