216

Pictures of every single item we own…

Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, Man Vs. Debt’s founder.

Nearly three years ago, Courtney and I posted our first “list of everything we own” as we were downsizing and preparing to travel with our backpacks through Australia.

Since then we’ve gone through a lot of change. Down to almost nothing for a while, back to a rented house full of crap in Indiana, on the road in our RV and stopping for about a year in Asheville, N.C., before moving to our current home of Portland, Oregon, where I work for filmmaking and storytelling company Stillmotion since retiring from Man Vs. Debt.

Here’s our most recent list of every item we own – with pictures courtesy of Courtney Baker. Some items are linked to websites with more information and/or Amazon affiliate links.

Note: We update this list when we can. This was last updated toward the end of our RV tour in 2011.

*****

Baker’s Gear – 14

Everything I need to work on the go. Stuff Courtney and the kids aren’t allow to touch.  My preciouses…

Brenthaven Prostyle II-XF Case
15" MacBook Pro
Apple Magic Mouse
iPhone 3GS
iPhone headphones
iPhone arm band
Jawbone ICON bluetooth
Virgin Mobile MiFi
Flip Video camcorder
Sunpak Flexpod tripod
Blue Yeti USB microphone
Moleskine notebook
Pilot G-2 Pen [5]
Slimmy Slim wallet

Courtney’s Clothes – 48

Courtney’s wardrobe – not too shabby for a woman…  ;-)

Charlotte Russe jeans
Gap jeans
Black Mischa tights
Grey cotton pajamas
Black running pants
Black short-legged pajamas
Black short-legged pajamas
Grey spaghetti strap tank
Black spaghetti strap tank
Blue spaghetti strap tank
Green halter tank
Black long tank
Tan Gap cotton shirt
Black Gap cotton shirt
Grey short-sleeve cotton shirt
Brown button shirt
Red Gap pullover jacket
Black Gap zip-up jacket
Black knit sweater
Green North Face hoodie
Black striped button blouse
Brown striped formal dress
Bras [3]
Women's underwear [8]
Women's socks [5]
Black North Face Denali Jacket
Black Ralph Lauren Vest
Black winter scarf
Black fashion hat
Blue Adidas tennis shoes
Keen Newport women's sandals
Black Aldo Voller boots
Grey Crocs Olivia flats
Green Arizona galoshes
Minimalist Knitter slippers

Baker’s Clothes – 41

My fabulous wardrobe. No really, the items below are all it takes to look this good…

Dark blue jeans
Light blue jeans
Khaki shorts
Black gym shorts
White Tony Hawk swim trunks
Black and brown reversible belt
White Hanes undershirts [10]
Grey button-up collared shirt
Black Arrow polo shirt
Grey long-sleeved cotton shirt
AE maroon zipper hoodie
Orange zipper hoodie
Nerd Fitness tshirt
Red Anytime Fitness tshirt
Green Riley tshirt
Men's underwear [6]
Pairs of socks [5]
Black winter coat
Black neck warmer
Large black gloves
Keen Newport H2 sandals
Brown Sketchers Ultimatum
White running shoes

Milligan’s Clothes – 35

Milligan gets a bit of a free pass since she goes through like 9 outfits a day…

Brown Love zip-up jacket
Pink zip-up jacket
Striped hooded sweatshirt
Black striped dress
Pink heart pocket dress
Pink cherry print dress
Blue heart long-sleeve shirt
Green Hello Kitty shirt
Black striped long-sleeve shirt
Purple rock star shirt
White fairyshirt
Blue polka-dot shirt
Pink polka-dot shirt
Black ruffle stretch pants
Black Children's Place knit tights
Children's Place jeans
Blue cotton capri pants
Green cotton capri pants
White striped shorts
Black Jumping Beans fleece pants
Pink jeweled capri pants
Pink lacy ballerina skirt
Kids underwear [6]
Pair of socks [5]
Brown Carter polka-dot vest
Pink knit hat

Outdoor/RV Equipment – 33

Outdoor gear, automobiles, and the stuff it take to stay on the road…

1998 Fleetwood Tioga
1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
Non-binding telescoping towbar
Foldable sports chairs [3]
High Sierra Compass 3 in 1 Backpack
Kelty KID Transit 2.5 Carrier backpack
Magnetic flashlights [4]
Stanley 2 Mile Solar flashlight
Squeegee mop [2]
White fresh water hose
Water pressurizer
Blue water hose
External shower hose
Blue 100ft extension cord
Orange 100ft extension cord
Brown 15 ft extension cord
Leveling tool
Rubber mallet
Window fan
Yellow cage lamps [2]
Electrical hookup adapter
Sewer hose
Toolbox
Car Seat
Milligan Bicycle
Jogging Stroller

Entertainment/Learning – 67

Games, books, puzzles, and other things to help keep us sane…

Dominion plus expansions
Bohnanza
Ticket to Ride Europe
Wits and Wagers
Carcassonne
Agricola
1000 piece puzzle
Puzzle Stow and Go puzzle mat
Phase 10
Electronic Catch Phrase
Crayon/ Marker box
Coloring books [2]
Piggy bank
Baby and accessory bag [2]
V-Tech US Explore and Learn Map
Geography jigsaw books [2]
Recorder
Leapfrog Tag Junior and books [11]
Lonely Planet Thailand
Lonely Planet New Zealand
Lonely Planet Queensland
New Believer's Bible [2]
1000 Places to See - World
1000 Places to See - USA
Art of Non-Conformity
RV Vacations for Dummies
The 4-Hour Body
Three Cups of Tea
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM
A Game of Thrones
The Total Money Makeover
The 100 Thing Challenge
Your Money or Your Life
Chloe Does Yale
$5 Dinner Mom Cookbook
Chronicles of Narnia 7-book set
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Maybe a Bear Ate It
If I Ran the Circus
Wee Little Bunny
I Love You, Grandpa
Love You Forever
Silly Tilly
It's Christmas, David!
Scrapbooking boxes [2]
Photo paper variety

Kitchen Stuff – 102

Everything it takes to put yummy-yummy in our tummy-tummy…

Plastic red plates [6]
Sip-pie cup [2]
Red canteen
Silver canteen
Silver coffee thermos
Pink Minnie Mouse canteen
Pyrex bake dish set [2]
T-Fal Nonstick cookware set [6]
Silverware set [17]
Cooking utensils [2]
Measuring cups [4]
Measuring spoons [4]
Metal souffle cups [2]
Metal flat shredder
Black vegetable peeler
Manual can opener
Oxo Good Grips measuring cup
Firestarter
Cutco Galley plus steak knives [11]
Black rubber trivet
Green dishtowel & oven mitt set [3]
Hamilton Beach slow cooker
Digital food scale
Oxo Good Grips collapsible colander
Igloo lunch bag
Oxo Good Grips No Slip mixing bowl
Rubbermaid containers with lids [20]
Bamboo cutting board
Chef'n Salt grinding ball
White 10-Quart trash can
Vine plant
Rubbermaid Produce Saver container
Broom and dustpan
Collapsible Salad Spinner
Slap Chop

Living/Bedroom/Bathroom Stuff – 42

Essentially everything else we live with – that’s not in one of the other categories…

Brown door step rug
Gold's Gym resistance tube kit
Free weight dumbbell set
Office supplies
Clothes pins
"Around the House" box
Red hot water bottles [2]
Kids II stepping stools [2]
Honeywell Surround spaceheater
Plastic clothes hangers
Leopard print body pillows [2]
Puppy pillow and sleeping bag
Bed pillows [6]
Queen sheets set [3]
Green twin sheet set
Milli's blankets [3]
Blow dryer
Bendable measuring tape
Four light brown bath towels
Blue shower crate
Vanity bag
Yellow Electric heating pad
Personal hygiene items [4]
Conair Deluxe haircut kit

General Electronics – 13

More electronics – but Courtney and the girls have free use of these!  ;-)…

Toshiba Laptop
Computer discs and manuals
Logitech M305 wireless mouse
Logitech USB 350 headset
Epson Stylus NX410 All-in-One printer
Canon Rebel Xti
Samsung PL50
Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens
SanDisk ImageMate 12 in 1
Lastolite grey/white card
Loewpro EX 140 camera bag
iPhone 3G and case

Personal Keepsakes – 22

Essentially, stuff Courtney can’t part with (all right, I’d keep a few of these as well)…

RV travel binder
Black accordian wallet
Fireproof Safe
Black transition lens glasses
Green glasses
Courtney's wedding ring and band
Honeymoon in Puerto Rico album
New Zealand album
Milligan: The First Year album
Guatemala album
Baker Wedding album
Wedding portrait
USA Today article
Milli on Magnetic Island
Milli Camps at Mt. Cook
Travel Journals 2004-2010 [4]
Elephant
Pooh Bear
Sheriff Woody

*****

The ball is in your court, now. This list is useless if it doesn’t help inspire action.

I hope this encourages you to take stock of your own possessions and find areas you can simplify.  It’s not the number that matters, but rather making sure that we stay on the offensive against clutter and overwhelm!

{ 176 comments… read them below or add one }

Glen Allsopp September 28, 2009 at 6:54 AM

I look forward to seeing how you compress this down. I honestly cringe at the thought of listing all the junk and clutter I have collected over the years. As far as technology goes I have:

1 Home PC
Surround Sound Speakers
1 Sony Viao Laptop
1 Apple Macbook Pro Laptop
Macbook Pro Remote
Spare Laptop Mouse
Ipod Nano 8gb
Samsung P1000 Digital Camera
Technics 1210 Turntables
Mixer
Speakers for Turntables / Dj’ing

I could keep on going. I do hope to simplify that massively once I leave the country though. Thanks for the inspiration!

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 3:49 PM

Yeah, obviously taking on a big project such as moving or traveling overseas is the perfect opportunity to take stock and simplify. Have fun in Amsterdam!

Reply

Mrs. Money September 28, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Personally, I love that you have done this! I also think you should have Courtney guest post too!

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 3:51 PM

I’ll try to prod her into guest posting. She’s tossed around the idea, but hasn’t gotten the drive to really dive into it.

Reply

Matt Jabs September 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM

You’re such a pack rat! 5 pairs of underwear… c’mon man – who needs all that? ;-)

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 3:50 PM

If you turn them inside-out, that’s 10 days!

Reply

Toby October 2, 2009 at 1:07 PM

If you turn them front to back as well, it’s 20 days!

Reply

Robin Barr August 19, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Roflol! Too funny! I was thinking ‘upside down’ but I guess that would miss the point of wearing underwear to begin with.

Reply

Toby August 20, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Hey, good idea…that would be 5 (or 10) fewer items on the list!

Laura @ move to portugal September 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM

Hi Adam, awesome list.
I’ve been gradually decluttering over the years, so even though we aren’t over run with items, I still feel like we have to many. Inspired by you, I’m now on a massive reducing drive; we’re relocating to Portugal in 1006 days (not that I’m counting!) and we’re not paying any more shipping than we really have to.

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Laura, you won’t regret it! Even though 1006 days is still a while (Kudos to you for such advance planning), if you gradually stick to it you’ll knock those shipping costs down to almost nothing.

I’m interest in hearing more about your move and will be checking out your site!

Reply

prufock September 28, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Maybe a dumb question but… no silverware or drinking containers? Or are those included in the furnished apartment?

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 3:52 PM

Included, for now!

Reply

L September 28, 2009 at 10:49 AM

I have more than 200 items in my cars trunk! (I am a hospice nurse so I need a large amount of supplies on hand, they fit in 2 boxes.) I thinks its so great that you can list everything you own and the lifestyle you guys have choosen. I am learning to be simple…I have bad allergies to to make dusting easier I elemiated lots of surface clutter. What a difference! I have narrowed down my “holiday” contains from 20 to 6. I have always replace an item, never add an item. Good luck to all.

Reply

Dad September 28, 2009 at 12:26 PM

HAHAHA!! There is no way I’m listing everything in the boy’s toy chest… That would take me a year! :) And the girls! ugh…. Maybe I’ll start small with our bedroom and build up my courage as I head down the hall…. haha!

Good for you guys!!

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Well, 1 is much easier than 6 ;-).

Reply

Richard Byrne September 28, 2009 at 12:45 PM

This is a very timely article for me as my partner and I are moving this week from a large condo to a much smaller apartment for the cost savings. Part of the process of moving is taking an inventory of what we need and don’t need. The rule of thumb for us as we got rid of things (mostly given to Goodwill and the Salvation Army) was if we hadn’t used it/ worn it in the last year, it could go. Just getting rid of three bags of clothing and shoes made it feel like it we had simplified things already. It’s amazing how much stuff two people can collect.

Reply

Lakita September 28, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Well, I’ve been putting this off until I move….and I still might save “The Grand Purge” until moving day…whenever that is. I’ve been in my current location for a little over 7 years and I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.

I probably more than 200 items in my living room! How long do I really need to hold onto old trophies? Books I haven’t read in years? DVDs and worse….VHS that probably won’t ever see the light of day.

You’ve definitely given me something to think about…

Reply

Tyler Karaszewski September 28, 2009 at 1:19 PM

I appreciate the sentiment behind this sort of thing. I too have gone out of my way to try and limit the amount of stuff I own, but I’m not going to catalog it all like this, because I don’t think it’s useful. If your interest is in mobility, then you should do this by weight and volume, not count. I mean, do four pens really count more than say, a piano (which isn’t on your list, but could be)?

I’m just very careful when adding new things to the body of stuff that I own. I went back and looked through my purchases for September. I made lots of purchases. Only one of them was for permanent stuff that will stick around my house. I bought a new backpack and some hiking clothes at REI. Everything else I bought was consumable (food, gas, travel) or non-phyiscal (software).

I do have a few things I don’t use. I have three bicycles for instance, and I really only ride two of them. One’s just been sitting most of the time since I bought the newest one, which has become it’s replacement, and I haven’t gotten around to getting rid of the old one. I also have a Nintendo DS I don’t play. I tried to sell it on Craigslist, but the number of flaky people to respond turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.

I specifically *don’t* have boxes of trophies won in sports I played when I was nine years old, or every receipt for every purchase I’ve made going back for ten years, or the legos I played with as a child, or the boxes that every electronic item I’ve ever purchased came in, or a bunch of knick-knacks and souvenirs acquired on trips or as gifts just sitting a shelf doing nothing. This stuff alone fills half of a lot of people’s homes.

I also make a point of getting rid of things as they go out of use or get replaced (there are a few exceptions, like the bicycle). I don’t have my last three cell phones sitting in a drawer with the delusion that maybe I’ll need them one day, or old wood-panelled televisions sitting in the garage because “they’re still perfectly good”, or a drawer full of clothes that are too worn to wear because “I can wear them for painting or working on the car.” These things pretty much just all go in the trash.

But still, keeping count of everything doesn’t seem useful except maybe to chart your own progress. I try to avoid getting into competitions based on who can have a bigger or smaller number on a computer screen. I feel the same way about net worth calculations.

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Tyler, it’s partly for mobility and partly just to open our eyes. As far as mobility goes, you are exactly right. For example, my new BJJ Gi takes up a crap-ton of room. It might add another 50% onto the amount of space my clothing takes up. This is much harder to easily measure (compared to just counting), although I would consider this if we continue to maintain a high level of mobility.

I think you already have the right mindset. That is trying to consciously stay away from hoarding trophies or old cell phones, etc… The commitment to constantly reviewing what you surround yourself with is what we ultimately want to foster. It seems like you already do this well.

Lastly, this isn’t a competition. The only person we are competing with is ourselves. Each person’s life is different and will have different limits. The list IS about charting our progress, keeping us accountable, and providing a cool spark of inspiration for those who do need it ;-).

As always, appreciate your insight, man.

Reply

Leszek Cyfer March 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM

I found that simply making photos of rooms in your house can open your eyes on amount of junk you hoard. There’s some filter in mind that screens that stuff out when you look at it, but when you watch a photo that filter comes off and you can see it as it is.

I make paper models and similar thing happens when I photo my models for modelling forum posts – often when looking at he photos I find things to fix – which I didn’t noticed before.

Something to consider.

Reply

Margie September 28, 2009 at 2:51 PM

OMG Way to go! I am proud of you all for doing this. I have over 25 years worth (mostly junk) of things. Both myself and my husband were packrats. I say were because I have been decluttering for a year now. He has moved away and I am getting rid of stuff. Keep up the good work and thanks for the inspiration.

Reply

Kevin M September 28, 2009 at 3:00 PM

While I see the point for Baker to do this, it’s not something I’m going to try.

I kind of like Tyler’s view – what “stuff” did I buy last month and why? Our family is selective on new things that we buy. Period. I like this method since it prevents unneeded purchases in the first place and saves us the time and energy of having to get rid of “stuff” later on.

We moved in July – that was a good time to gauge our progress on how much unnecessary stuff we actually had. We did pretty well – I think we had a couple bags of trash and a couple boxes of stuff to donate – most of which was old gifts we never got around to returning. I’m sure there is stuff we missed, but it’s not causing any stress or costing us any money so we’ll hang on to it for now.

Reply

Diggy - Upgradereality.com September 28, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Well Adam, quite a list you have there.
I enjoyed this post, it made me think. I have a gigantic amount of stuff in my house, most of it which I don’t need, but a lot of it I like and has sentimental value or is just pretty to look at! :)

I’m going to be travelling in december for a few months, and then everthing I own will fit into a suitcase and one backpack. I think when travelling it is very easy not to have a lot of stuff, but as soon as you settle in a location, it becomes hard not to go into ‘collect’ mode :)

Thanks for sharing!
Cheers
Diggy

Reply

Baker September 28, 2009 at 4:02 PM

Diggy, that’s exactly what we are going through and why I wanted to step back up and create this list again. It was super easy when we left, but ‘things’ gradually started creeping back in.

Do what you can to prevent that once you leave for your trip. I know you and Glen are going to have a blast!

Reply

Sean September 28, 2009 at 4:10 PM

200 items, I would be ecstatic if I could get to that number. Seriously, as much as I am trying to downsize my life, the thought of getting rid of some of my “stuff” terrifies me. I guess thats what years of being a packrat will do to you. However, I am slowly making progress!

Reply

Corbett Barr September 28, 2009 at 4:11 PM

It’s impressive that you’re able to actually list everything you own. Having recently moved overseas no doubt must have reduced the amount of things you own considerably. The average suburban dwellers probably have at least 20x the number of things you listed there. We’ve cut down considerable on what we own over the years, mostly from downsizing from a big suburban house to a small city apartment. I couldn’t even attempt to list everything we own, though. Just our books alone would be a much longer list than your complete list. I appreciate the sentiment and exercise though.

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:31 AM

Books were by far the hardest things for us to part with. Now that they are gone, I really only miss 1 or 2.

Reply

J. Money September 28, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Very impressive Mr. Baker. I believe I have 200+ things in my side of the closet itself, not to mention the other 3 fully furnished floors of our place ;) I’m working on my own list as well, but first I have to get rid of all the extra stuff before I start counting…I’ll be back in a year.

Reply

Nancy L. September 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM

I am very jealous of the brevity of your list. I keep purging at my house, but it’s a bit of a losing battle. My husband and I are both professional artists, and just the paper and current projects alone probably weigh more than all of your belongings, never mind the reference books and art supplies. I am slowly making headway though!

Reply

Jason @ MyMoneyMinute September 28, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Amazing! I couldn’t even come close to listing all my possessions. It is a great idea though to keep an inventory. It makes you consciously think about what stuff you’re acquiring. Thanks for making me think!

Reply

Financial Samurai September 28, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Wow, nice inventory you got there Baker! There’s no way we could list all our stuff… it’s just too much! Aiieee :)

My 1940-1960′s baseball card collection alone has over 1,000 cards for example. Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, and Roberto Clemente rookie anyone?!

We have a goldfish syndrome, where we grow into our environment unfortuntately. We promise to stop though and don’t need more than 800 sqft / person in our next abode!

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:32 AM

I like that term ‘goldfish syndrome’, it’s one of the reason we really don’t mind having a smaller apartment, right now.

Reply

Robert September 28, 2009 at 5:12 PM

For insurance purposes, I instruct my readers to put together a “home inventory checklist” of their personal items. That way if their home is lost during a fire or other disaster, they can give the insurance company a list of all their items to be replaced. It’s very helpful.

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:33 AM

Ooooh, a nice tangible reason for doing the list. Didn’t think of this!

Reply

Ben September 28, 2009 at 6:08 PM

This is a great concept even though I find the thought of tackling it intimidating. Do you have a specific goal in mind or just overall management of the monster?

I like Tyler’s point about weight and cube as it brings some more descriptive dimensions into the challenge. Although I’m not sure if I’d shoot for specific numbers (i.e. cubic in/cm or lb/kg).

I’d see myself orienting the goal more around an actionable event such as being able to pack everything we own in less than an hour and carry it on our persons. Or perhaps be able to take everything I own with me on a domestic US flight without having to give them my first-born child (from checking multiple bags).

The definition will most likely be unique for everybody, but the underlying concept of the benefits of simplifying is universal. I wish you persistence.

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:34 AM

Yeah, Ben, this sort of thing is appealing, too. Depending on how hardcore we keep our mobile lifestyle, I’d be much more interested in a volume concept. Right now, though, this provides an awesome start for us.

Reply

Jeanine September 28, 2009 at 8:01 PM

Wow that is great! When we moved 5 years ago we pared down to half our house. Somehow we have accumulated a bunch of junk. This is really a reminder that less is more.
Reminds me of if you had 5 mins. to leave your house what would you take with you.
Thanks for getting my fire started with purging!

Reply

MoneyEnergy September 28, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Love the list, can’t wait to do my own. It’s hard when you have to keep a personal library, though:) Also, Milli’s possessions are really cute. Wonder which ones she’s most attached to:)

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:35 AM

Blue Puppy… not even close ;-).

Reply

H Lee D September 29, 2009 at 12:33 AM

How often do you do laundry? I’m in the process of cleaning out (bedroom, kitchen, office done), but I don’t want to *need* to do laundry every five days, or even once a week.

There is an attraction to having a short list, though…

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:36 AM

We do a load every 3-4 days probably. Because we have much LESS clothes, it’s usually only a load or two max. We aren’t super picky, so we usually just throw everything in together. Might not be the best strategy, but it seems to work right now.

Reply

Victoria Vargas September 29, 2009 at 12:37 AM

I scaled down to 440 sf for a year and a half and was amazed how few possessions I could pare down to effortlessly. Then I bought a house and I forgot the “one thing in means one thing out” rule and a few categories of stuff have started creeping up again. My weakness has always been books, which I’ve purged numerous times (they keep coming back!!!). Your post has given me new resolve to go through my stuff again and do a repurge (not regurge :) Like MoneyEnergy’s post, I just loved the list of Milli’s possessions. I too have a rubber duck in my personal stuff inventory. She’s obviously a classy gal. I love this concept and look forward to your updates.

Reply

Gwen September 29, 2009 at 12:41 AM

I’m curious about the specific of the stuff in the wallets, purse, and essential document folder. I’m thinking that at the very least, if any of those items is lost or stolen, it implies you need to take some immediate corrective action to prevent identify theft or worse.

Then there is the stuff that was useful and then expires/become irrelevant/needs to be tossed.

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:38 AM

Gwen, this is one area where I talked to Courtney about expanding. I’m about *this* close to ditching my wallet all together. She definitely doesn’t need all of her crap in her purse (although she’s very minimalist compared to many women I’ve seen).

Also our ‘essential’ documents have kind of grown since we started the trip. Not all of them are really essential anymore. I think we’ll try to expand these categories over the next week or two!

Reply

Gwen September 29, 2009 at 12:45 AM

Another question:

What do you do for a travel-sized/minimalist office? Stamps, envelopes, tape, stapler/paperclips, scissors, temporary holding for receipts/paperwork?

Reply

Baker September 29, 2009 at 4:40 AM

Um, nothing. If we have to post something we just buy at the post office. We are 80-90% digital and don’t tend to use many paper clips or staples these days. If we feel receipt is essential we throw it in the one folder we have for our documents (another reason we need to sort this a little better).

Reply

Jeff September 29, 2009 at 12:10 PM

That’s not that much stuff, congrats. I’ve been attempting to consolidate and I found out that I have waaaay more kitchen utensil’s than is necessary. I’ve trimmed my kitchen down to 3 pots & pans, 5 knives, 2 cutting boards. I have yet to get to a bucket full of spatula’s and other utensils’ that I thought necessary when purchased, but now are just hogging up minimal counter space.
My goal is to eventually get a house that’s 750 or less sqft. Doing this will free me from debt (It wont be as expensive as a traditional house) and force me to keep only what is needed.
Thanks for (another) great post.

Reply

L September 30, 2009 at 2:27 PM

I agree with the smaller house idea 100%. My husband and I live in a 730 sqft “starter” house. Last year we almost bought a 3600 sqft house with 3 car garage, large pool, and 800 sqft “work shop” with AC. We thought if we where going to have a family we needed the bigger house, which was very affordable on our income. We thought about how long it would take just to clean the bigger house, about 5 times longer than our house! Thankful we have choosen to stay in our little house, and pay of our morgate in the next 4 years!

Reply

Steven@HundredGoals.com September 29, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Could I list all of my possessions? You bet I can! I’m working on reducing my personal items to 100, which I recently discussed in an article aptly titled 100 Things Challenge which was inspired by David Bruno.

For those who are interested, here is my list of 100 Things:
http://hundredgoals.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/my-100-things2.docx

I fully intend to further reduce that list as time goes on. I have been doing very well at restricting incoming possessions. The only thing that I’ve since added is a t-shirt which I purchased after my skydive this weekend. It seemed like a suitable bit of memorabilia from the experience, and since I could actually use another shirt, things worked out.

I don’t think it is that difficult to reduce the amount of personal belongs an individual has. The largest hurdle is seperating yourself from the emotional attachment involved with your possessions. Once you are able to do that, it is simple to simplify your belongings.

What I struggled with the most was an old box of letters from my highschool sweetheart & travel trinkets & postcards from all over. I had photos upon photos of my life in that box. The problem with it was that it was so disorganized and packed full of all of this sentimental stuff that I just could possibly part with. It sat in my closet for years, having things added to it regularly.

Finally I had enough with this box and decided to do something about it. I tossed out all of the old love letters (and in a way this was a way of seperating myself from the last of the emotional strings still attached to this old relationship). All of my travel memorabilia ended up being tossed as well…except a few things which I actually keep displayed around the apartment.

The photos of my life, my family, my friends, my travels were next. Everyone always says that photos are the most important thing in their lives, and mine included. How could I possibly get rid of these? If I had to guess I probably had thousands of photos.

I took the project head-on and started sorting the photos, sifting through duplicates, photos of “nothing” and the ones which actually held some sort of memorable value were then scanned and saved to my computer. Then they were tossed along with the rest of the photos. I will be uploading all of the scanned photos to an online host in order to protect them from loss due to a faulty computer.

I managed to reduce the amount of Stuff in my Sentimental Box to practically nothing. I kept my Diploma & my Degree and a few random things which I was unable to part with but I managed to entirely eliminate all of the clutter and reduced the emotional baggage that box held. It was a lot of work & I seperated myself from a lot of memories, some good & some bad but in the end I feel free from my past, more able to live in the present rather than constantly clinging to the past.

Our apartment is much less cluttered, as a matter of fact, with exception to the closet which houses our holiday decorations & camping equipment, I would say that our apartment looks very nice. It is clean & decorated in a style which borders on minimalism yet maintains a feeling of home. I like it alot.

Reply

Baker October 2, 2009 at 12:40 AM

Wow, dude, you rock. One of the best comments in a while!

Reply

Sarah T September 29, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Oh man. Your list is completely admirable! I’ve been inspired by you and Leo of ZenHabits fame to take my current move as an opportunity to seriously pare down my stuff, but I still have a lot of genres of things that you don’t.

Did you decide not to count really small things? I feel like even you must own, you know, a pen :)

Reply

Teejay September 30, 2009 at 12:26 AM

I believe I saw that post on mnmlist.com. 100 things he owns.

I’ll probably follow suit on this on my blog… and I will probably stick to 100 items like Leo.

Reply

Teejay September 30, 2009 at 12:24 AM

Hmm… Do we really need to count personal finance, career and personal development books as stuff?

Reply

Bender October 1, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Congrats on downsizing to, what seems to me, a very short list of necessities. I have been touring for the past 8 years or so. Each time, I pack 2 suitcases, buy a ton of clothing on the road, usually buy another suitcase, get off the road, get an apartment, buy stuff, book a tour, put it all in storage, and start again. The last time, I came back to a 10′ x 15′ space filled with furniture, a motorcycle, junk, and clothes I haven’t used or worn in years!!!

No more. I have donated about 5 suitcases of clothing, sold the bike, sold what other stuff I could, and just gave the rest away. I still have some things I am hanging onto, you know, just in case, but it feels so good to not be overwhelmed by “STUFF.”

I would love to downsize even further and eliminate the debt I’ve accumulated just from furnishing apartments. Your blog is giving me the inspiration to do just that. Thanks.

Reply

Erin October 8, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Wow…just wow! My first reaction was “Wow”. My second reaction was wondering about how much stuff that the apartment came with (towels, bedding, pots and pans, etc.). My third reaction? Ugh…we still have too much stuff and so much of it isn’t WORKING FOR ME. Thanks for the inspiration to continue purging. The less we have the less we have to take care of and the more freedom we have for experiences.

Reply

Michelle Traudt October 9, 2009 at 10:30 AM

This definitely encourages me to pare down even more. I realize now we have way too much stuff. I’ve become obsessed with minimizing our things. This post was a great motivator. Thanks!

Reply

queenstuss October 9, 2009 at 9:40 PM

Wow! That is awesome. I’ve spent the last three years dramatically purging my crap. It’s been very hard.
My husband and I went overseas for two years, five years ago. We were allowed 40kg worth of stuff on the plane, and then waited for the three or four cubic metres of stuff that was being shipped over. Then I came home, and lived with Mum for six months when our son was born, and brought back about 25kg worth of stuff. It was all I needed.

Until everything else came out of storage. We had paid $2500 to store our crap while we were overseas, then $4000 to shift it all from where we were storing it to where we were moving to.

The whole experience has taught me that I don’t need it. It’s a waste of money and a waste of space to keep stuff that I don’t like. I’m inspired by your list. I’m off to make one of my own.

(btw: glad you liked Townsville – it’s my hometown and I love it)

Reply

scottdot October 13, 2009 at 5:37 PM

I love this article. This sounds way nerdy, but I’ve had this concept for a while of “living your life like it’s an RPG videogame.” Focus on leveling up/achieving goals, mainly. But those games all have inventory systems where you can only have so much stuff at one time!

Your list really makes me want to go home and downsize. What do you do about books and other media (CDs, DVDs, etc)?

Reply

Emily-Sarah October 16, 2009 at 10:24 AM

One of my book project gigs a few years ago involved a couple who had whittled down their belongings to fit in the back of their (compact) car. Going even beyond that, they decreed they’d own no more than two of any item jointly used (ie. two spoons, two plates…). It’s such an extreme to our (the U.S. specifically) industries that have sprung up as a result of too much stuff (storage units, organizers, decluttering frenzies, etc.). Sadly, my written inventory would be super long, but I *am* working to shorten the list. (No storage units for me, but I am guilty of needing too many organizational helps.)

Thanks for sharing your list — for de-owning more items to maintain and claiming more time for living. It’s a great incentive for all of us to pare down what we have (or, more aptly, what has us!).

Reply

H Lee D October 18, 2009 at 12:27 PM

What do you clean with? There’s no soap or washing agent on there at all except for shampoo. Bodies, sink, floors, toilets, etc. get cleaned? (I also wonder about a broom or vacuum or dustcloth.)

Why are “diapers” and “medicine” “changing pad with wipes, powder, cream” and “bag of small stuff” all lumped together but pens are itemized separately?

Reply

Baker October 18, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Great questions, H Lee.

First, remember that this is just a rough guide. It’s a process we’ll be refining and updating.

As of now, we’ve chosen not to list disposable household cleaners. We have a few. Some rubbing alcohol, windex, and spray. Disposable/resuse stuff is a hard topic. Obviously, it’s of little benefit to put Paper Towel or toilet paper (for us at least). While you could make a strong case for cleaning product should be added.

We usually have between 20-50 diapers and, again, it doesn’t seem practice to list them separately. I do feel like the should be listed, because it’s such a major part of our stuff (even when we are mobile). Medicine is one category for the simple face that we have very little, it’s in one container, and I’m not sure it’s of any benefit for people to know the specific types of medicine.

The changing pad issue is also hard. It all fits in the one nice little pad w/ attached zipping bag. I think this is one area that I *will* expand for sure in the next update.

Thanks for bringing this issue up! It’s a tough call, but I’ll look more closely at it during the next update. (btw, broom, dustpan, etc… are furnished)

Reply

H Lee D October 18, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Thanks!

Reply

Mia October 18, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Hi
I only stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago, but already its fast becoming one of my favs. When I saw this post about listing all your ‘stuff’ I was inspired to do the same.
For the last 12 years I’ve owned enough furniture and ‘stuff’ that I needed a 20ft container to move me from one country to another, I cringe now when I think how much I have spent on moving costs over the last decade. But 5 months ago I downsized my life, gave away or sold 90% of my worldly ‘stuff’ sent one piece of furniture with a friend’s shipment to my sibling in the UK and left the country I was living in. I posting myself 13 small cardboard boxes and carrying 2 suitcases and one carry on bag to my new destination.
Sitting down with my spreadsheet to make a list of the contents was great, it also showed me that I still have lots of room to whittle down even more. 4 of the boxes are unpacked and counted, 1 has gone missing on route and the last 8 should be arriving with me in the next month.
Thanks for the great posts.

Mia

Reply

Greg - LiveItWithLess October 18, 2009 at 7:10 PM

There seem to be a lot of sites around now listing the amount of possesions and trying to fit into a certain magical number of “100″ or even seen a blogger listing 10 items. No matter what number you are trying to achieve, I think its great that more people are starting to realise that we dont really need as much to live life more. Baker, I think your list is very realistic considering you are in N Zed travelling with a small child.

Reply

The Almost Millionaire October 29, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Man, this is a great idea, it is amazing how out stupid “stuff” can often overwhelm us and stress us out! Bravo brother!

Reply

LobotoME November 8, 2009 at 7:47 PM

tell courtney i’m glad to see breaking dawn on the still own/still in her hands list!!! that would have been the first thing my husband would have wanted GONE! ;) jenny

Reply

Lillea Woodlyns November 15, 2009 at 10:36 AM

I feel much better when I get rid of things that I don’t need, so this is great to see.

After moving several times in the last few years, I am more determined than ever to keep things simple and compact. Now, whenever I get anything new (purchased by me or given to me as a gift), I look around and find something to get rid of to ‘make room’ for the new item. There’s always something, even if it’s just paper that should be recycled.

Often people have a lot of books that they’ll never read again, and books are heavy and take up a lot of space. A great nice thing to do is to donate them to the local library. That way other people can enjoy them (not just one person who buys from, say, a garage sale), and if you regret getting rid of any of them you can borrow them for a few weeks to see if you really need to replace them.

Reply

Alison Moore Smith November 20, 2009 at 5:38 AM

We have eight people in our family. No way am I going to count all our stuff!

But we are improving. We just moved from our 12,000 square foot house and are building a 6,000 square foot house! Don’t laugh. It’s all relative! When you take a family and cut the “collectibles” in half, that’s serious progress!

Reply

Jackie @ Internet Marketing Strategy for Beginners November 20, 2009 at 9:01 PM

OMG I probably have 185 things on or around my desk. How amazing. It must be so freeing to not have all this stuff. I’ve thought many many times about living more simply ~ but find it hard to part with all my “stuff”. Kudos to you!

Reply

Irene Suwarno November 26, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Hi Adam, nice post! Before I list my own personal belongings I think I should get rid half of them first since it will take less amount of time than to list them all in here! :(

Reply

Currently 356 things January 6, 2010 at 5:23 AM

Congrats Courtney for getting your clothes down to 24 items. I’m doing my own 100 thing challenge right now and I’ve realized I’ll have to reduce my clothes to about 30 pieces. I think this is going to be really difficult as I have many different social situations to attend, but I’m going to give it a go. Some part of me feels that with limited items and more mix and match stuff I might even eliminate the horrible ‘i have nothing to wear’ moment.

Does this moment still happen to you? What killer pieces do you have?

Reply

Bridgette January 20, 2010 at 8:37 PM

How is it possible to function with just one pair of socks? And your wife only has one real bra. That seems like a bit of a stretch. Maybe you can get away with wearing a lot less clothing where you are – but when it gets cold during the year, you can’t wear tank tops everyday!

Reply

Baker January 21, 2010 at 1:53 AM

I don’t wear socks right now! (Since maybe September-ish).

I wear Keen Sandals, which suffice for everything but working out. I intended to buy more socks once we got here to Thailand, but we don’t need them and I’ve only been swimming + body weight exercises (and not that much).

If I started running again, I’d need 3 more pairs at least, but for now they’d just be collecting dust!

Reply

Bender January 21, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I’m curious about the sock thing myself. I invested in 2 pairs of the quick dry boxer-briefs and they’re great, but socks just don’t dry that quickly!!!

Update from my prior comment: I needed to send a box of tools ahead that will travel on the truck while I’m touring, BUT I will only be carrying my backpack, a small carry-on sized duffel bag, and one rolling duffel. Sounds like a lot, but it’s a major improvement from tours past!

Reply

H Lee D January 21, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Wicking socks (socks not made from cotton) dry very quickly. I have bamboo socks that I exercise in. Check your local sporting goods or running store.

Reply

susiebee January 21, 2010 at 12:01 PM

I just don’t get it, I guess. I’ve come across many blogs and articles that relate to this thing of people paring down their possessions to a certain number. But the more I read about it the more it all sounds like so much holier-than-thou stuff. It also seems quite silly to give any thought at all about how to categorize diapers, or to feel that toilet paper and cleaning products are an “issue” and a “tough call”, or something for which you could “make a strong case”. Huh? Maybe your life would indeed be simpler if you didn’t obsess over such things.
I am also dumbfounded by some of the reactions here, especially those who are envious of your short list. What’s the reason for the envy? Is this the new trend now, to be jealous of people who have fewer things than you do, rather than the other way around? Comparing yourself to others, regardless if it’s because of what they have or what they have gotten rid of isn’t indicative of a simplfied life. One person who commented is actually sad that their particular list is long compared to friends who go so far as to own only 2 spoons and 2 plates, etc. Again, huh? Why the sadness? The friends sound like extremists, and extremity in either direction is neither healthy nor simple. And, finally, why the congrats to your wife for only having 24 articles of clothing? I ask this, because the person who congratulated your wife said it would be difficult for her to pare down to 30 pieces, since she has several different social situations that necessitate owning more clothes. By comparing herself to your wife–or rather, the amount of clothes owned–she’s making her life more complicated.
Really, could someone ‘splain this to me?

Reply

Alix March 17, 2010 at 9:20 AM

I’m right with you. An obsession with minimalization is do different, really, from an obsession with material things — you’re owned by your possessions either way (from from them or to them). And minimal does not always equal “simple”.

Reply

Svitlana April 12, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I don’t think this is a “contest” at all. I think that the vast majority of people in the West have far too much unused, unnecessary stuff that they never use and don’t even realize is wasting space and money. This “paring down” activity is an excellent way for people to see what they actually need and use, and what they don’t really need or use (and can pass on to those who need them or sell them).

This not about how few items you have and can you survive with just a Swiss army knife and a pair of socks, but rather this is really about only keeping what you really use and not holding onto things which you don’t use, which waste money buying them and not using them, and space to store them. I don’t think people here are obsessed about being ultra-minimal, I think they are just excited to see that they can free up the clutter and off-load unnecessary items. It’s a healthy way to live and to learn to be wiser and more responsible with how one uses one’s resources.

Reply

Brian February 1, 2010 at 3:41 PM

This page inspired me to make a list of everything that I own. Part way through the process of cataloging everything. I keep yelling to my roommate in the other room “TOO MUCH CRAP!!”

Reply

Baker February 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Haha, awesome Brian – keep up the charge!

Reply

Ellie March 3, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Intriguing. My experience wasn’t quite as ‘simple’ as yours… but close. I’m a grandma now, but when my son was 8, my husband and I traveled for 3 months in a ’68 Valiant, lived in an 8×10 Sears tent. We each had a duffle bag of clothes plus one more for winter type things when we were in the mountains (even in summer we would have frost on our tent). My son had a shopping bag of items for rainy days. We had a portable radio, but rarely used it. Most of the time, important info came to us when we visited the campground showers. :-)

We traveled 10,000 miles. Had 2 milkcrates for all of our eating utensils, a coleman stove and lantern. I only missed a few things that you would need an oven for. (Since then I’ve learned how to make those on an open fire) We stayed out of air conditioning, realizing that we adapted better that way to the 112 degrees in Kansas than most of the RVs coming in. And we became quite adept at noticing small changes in the weather that would tell us we should pull up stakes and move on – one time missing a very major rainstorm that would have washed our tent away.

Every now and then I would get a part-time job as a data entry operator thru a temp agency. Yes, I had some mix and match items in my duffle bag that I could manage to wear to an office. And before all was said and done, we landed a unique job on Fishers Island (off coast of New London CT) working as domestics.

We could pull in to a campsite, be set-up, showered, and sitting down to eat within an hour. Campers all around were amazed. I had one long cotton dress when I got tired of jeans and shorts. We were a team. My son and I often would try to pull up stakes and be ready to go when dad came back from his shower.

Why do this? Because we had become tired and disillusioned with the corporate world. We needed time to regroup…. re-create ourselves. The experience was wonderful. It was very grounding, kind of a balancing, so to speak. I missed very little of the so-called ‘comforts’. Shake out a tent…. spend a couple hours at the laundromat, and we were set to go. I learned to embroider during the rainy days that summer, putting designs on all of our denim jackets.

We met amazing people and enjoyed every mile. I love technology today. And in some ways, it makes staying connected much easier than when we set out in the mid-70s. One of the cute responses to “Where are you from” that we had was a young girl in Missouri. I told her we were from Pennsylvania. She looked up at me with wonder and said, “Oh my, one of the 13 original colonies!” I was startled at first, then realized she must have been studying that in school I laughed and said, “Yes, but I’m not quite that old!” ;-)

My bones would be a bit less accommodating now. But I’m enjoying your adventure. No matter where you end up. I believe an experience such as this gives you a real sense of your own ability to adjust and thrive. Considering that many folks are absolutely lost today when the electric goes off…. I give you great kudos for trusting your instincts. As for your daughter, you can’t get much closer than your lifestyle is right now. Enjoy… be safe…breathe and savor the moments.

You sound like sensible young people, who will make the right choices as you go along.

Reply

Linnea April 26, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Ellie, what a beautiful story. Thank you!

Reply

Jessica February 25, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Thank you for your story. Also a very inspiring one! I would love to connect to my kids in this way, living outdoors and away from the computer and tv. I miss them dearly when i’m at my 9-5.

Reply

Stan Hartmann March 12, 2010 at 9:49 PM

Good stuff. Keep up the good work. Very helpful, practical advice right from the trenches of life experience!

Reply

BenQ March 18, 2010 at 12:40 AM

I love this list! Amazing. I just found your blog today and subscribed. Very inspiring to see people living the life they want to live!

Reply

runi March 27, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I have gotten my stuff down well (92 items=household and me)–EXCEPT that doesn’t include the cat’s stuff. Who would have thought? She has 1 harness, 1 leash, 2 bowls, l litter box, 1 large carrier, 1 compact carrier, 1 furminator(comb thing), 1 nailclipper, cat food, cat litter, several catnip mice. I think she has more stuff than my daughters did when they were at home.

Reply

Gaia March 30, 2010 at 12:31 AM

This is an inspiring list-
Taking it as a jumping off point for our probable move in a year to NZ.
:-)

Reply

Rose April 1, 2010 at 5:49 AM

Greetings!
Thank you for this post. It inspires me to continue my current path.

Last fall I returned from a year’s travels in Ecuador. I contentedly lived abroad with one backpack. I came home and refused to go into the attic to unpack my dozens of boxes.

18 months after storing them, I finally brought my wardrobe down. I decided to get rid of 1/3 of it without blinking – I had, after all, lived an entire year without it.

I got rid of over half. But I started with almost 250 garments, underwear not included! I’m now down to 110 (cringe), but these include a pinstripe business suit and a few items needed for my lifestyle when I’m not abroad. I usually just want to give it all away, but that may cause societal problems. Sigh. In three months I’ll pare down again.

Thank you for all you do. I look forward to spending more time on your site!
I heard about you from Mark Powers – Powerspercussion.com

-Miss Rose
rosebark.blogspot.com

Reply

Rose April 1, 2010 at 5:52 AM

And…
I COMPLETELY respect you and your beautiful wife for the lifestyle you lead.
Rock on!!!
- Miss Rose

Reply

Paula April 17, 2010 at 4:24 PM

What do you guys eat off of? Your wedding dish set?

Reply

Tiffany April 24, 2010 at 11:22 AM

I just came across your blog and find it so interesting. I don’t think I could ever do what you and your family do with traveling and not having so much “stuff” but it has inspired me to scale down. Look forward to reading more about your journey.

Reply

Sunshine Conkey July 23, 2010 at 6:47 PM

I’m on a 3-day weekend right now, so I’m getting serious about weeding out my room starting tonight.
Seeing as I’m single & live alone and don’t have anything with family, I assume my list could be smaller then yours when I’m done.
But your list did help get me started as I have already written out categories of what I wanted to keep. On paper in black & white I’ve listed everything I want to keep (for the time being).
I hope to only have 8 boxes in my room when finished. 1 box for each category, if an item don’t fit in the box then it don’t fit in my life.

#1 Bathroom stuff
#2 Kitchen stuff
#3 Misc Household
#4 Tech Stuff
#5 Important Stuff (got that idea/term from you
#6 Clothes
#7 Books
#8 Pictures (until I can scan them onto my computer..taken before I got a digital camera)

Reply

Lauren August 12, 2010 at 6:06 PM

I LOVE this. Ive just started my own personal development blog, and this is the exact thing I need. I have to have that widget!

Reply

Ira September 9, 2010 at 1:59 AM

Definitely inspirational!!! After reading this, it run on me to check all that I have in our humble abode, and OMG..countless and pointless stuffs abound. I have taken’ action already.. ‘just realized how much maze I’ve set up for all the pests in our home…hehehe.. I am really grateful you created MVD… again it has proven its relevance. Keep your feet grounded for the success. God bless and super thanks for the shared knowledge.

Reply

Brett | Investing Part Time December 2, 2010 at 6:06 PM

It’s impressive how few possessions you are down to. I constantly struggle with materialism and wanting to have more, but I often find that I can do just find without going shopping at all. Since starting a job after graduating recently, I had to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Not the most fun thing ever, but at least now I should be good to go for a few years!

Reply

jody wissing December 4, 2010 at 11:30 AM

4 years ago I downsized from a 3,300 sq. ft. house to 1,780. I’m an artist, so I see everything as a blank canvas. In the process of de-cluttering and simplifying my life, and in efforts to be green and to stay debt free, I started a no retail shopping for a year challenge. I’m blogging it on trashsociety.com. Do you have a reseller program for “Sell Your Crap”? If you do, send me the info. I would LOVE to feature this on my blog.

:) Jody

Reply

Bearie December 31, 2010 at 5:16 PM

I believe in simplifying the wardrobe, but when it comes to underwear more is better since you want to change it every day. I guess some people might not have too, but that is one area where I would actually want more items. When it comes to a car I do not own one and I walk everywhere, so in many ways I have a lot less stuff than many people.

Reply

Michelle January 4, 2011 at 12:26 PM

How do you cook anything? Your household items don’t include anything related to food!!!

Reply

Krisenkindt January 30, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Hi!
Wow, crazy how “little” stuff you really need! I mean, I am feeling a mix of “wow great” and “oh, how sad”. I moved around a lot and lived in furnished places where I only arrived with two suitcases and later realized: wow, I really don’t need all the clutter I have. But at the same time, when I then moved again to my “own” place I realized how much it means to me to live in my own furniture. How much it makes a new place somewhere in a new country feel like home. I try to regularily clean out my stuff and give a lot of clothes for example to church or other organizations that give it to people who actually use it. But there is also stuff that I don’t use everyday yet would never ever let go off: My collection of CDs and Vinyls, my musical instruments, my massive amount of books (I actually dream of one day having my own little library room in my home) and my pictures (although you didnt get rid of yours either, so they don’t really count).
Great blog by the way! Been looking through it since I found it this morning :)
Anna

Reply

Dr. Laura @ WhoIsLaura February 1, 2011 at 8:31 PM

Awesome list Baker! Thanks for sharing. Glad to see you have my favorite book… I Love You Forever. Both my children love that one :) And it’s one of my all time favorites too.

Dr. Laura

Reply

Baker February 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Yeah, my mom read that to us as kids – and gave it to Milli as a gift. :-)

Reply

Momma Jorje February 1, 2011 at 9:31 PM

I’m already working on minimalizing to fit our family into an RV as well. I can not believe some of the crap I thought I HAD to have! I literally felt I had to have a stapler because I had a staple remover. Seriously??

I’d like to take a similar inventory, but not until I get rid of more stuff. I’ve been working on it for a couple of months and we keep moving into smaller spaces. :-)

Reply

Joan February 1, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Awesome job. Courtney, the photos are a huge help and, in my case, I’d be more inclined to think critically about my “stuff” if I knew I had to share a photo of it!

(A side note: Psst, Baker. I think your jeans are switched. The lighter picture is with the label “dark jeans.” Sorry. Can’t take an editor anywhere, can you.)

Reply

Baker February 2, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Hehe, I saw that too actually (believe it or not) – I’ll get on that change! :)

Reply

Joan February 2, 2011 at 3:14 PM

The funny thing was, I almost wrote “Change your jeans,” but that seemed… awkward. In all seriousness, thanks for documenting this. Very inspiring.

Reply

Freedom | Rethinking the Dream February 2, 2011 at 9:17 AM

I like the updated list. It’s good to see a realistic list. We’re also on a path to reduce our consumerist lifestyle, and your list is a good reminder of what items are essential.

Reply

Mercedes February 2, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I absolutely LOVE this! I’ve been working on decluttering, but I know that I am NOWHERE near 100 or even 400 items. I chalk it up to the fact that I’ve just recently (7 months ago) moved into my first house! But I can say with some certainty that I’ve cut my items by half after moving in.

One thing I did note, most of your clothing have no patterns and are black. This is definitely a theme I’ve seen among minimalist wardrobes. Black is so classic, and goes with everything! Plus with solid colors it is a lot easier to pair items together to make an outfit. Just an observation!

Reply

Brian February 2, 2011 at 9:57 AM

It would be nice if there was a site where everyone could do this. post their pictures of their stuff. I must admit that I am tempted. I am a recent Dave Ramsey convert and on baby step 3. I would like to sell all non essential stuff, but then I think that misc electronic cable I have that I may use in the future would it be cost effective to keep it or just sell it now while I can. What do you think are the cost/money implications of getting rid of the stuff you don’t need.

Also something I think if you spend very little on stuff and more on consumables like experiences, food and travel, is it somehow wasted because you have nothing to show for it, just a thought.

Reply

Aidan Cooper February 2, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Great list, nice to see we don’t all have to strive to get down to 100 things and feel good! Also it’s nice to see what you class as stuff (I would have been tempted to ignore kitchen utensils to keep the list down!)

I plan on going through my own things and getting that lower, I’m finding more and more that I need less stuff to be happy. I’m not sure I’d be able persuade the wife and kids yet but I’m working on it!

Reply

Steve February 2, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Dude this is awesome.

Just be careful when driving while wearing your Nerd Fitness shirt. You might accidentally rip the steering wheel right off. It’s been known to happen.

-Steve

Reply

Andrea February 14, 2011 at 12:43 AM

Impressive! Before ever hearing about minimalism, I had already been reducing the things I have, but inspired by your blog and some others I am making more (baby) steps towards less stuff although nowhere close to where you guys are. We’ll see where we are when we want to travel the US in an RV towards the end of 2012.

One thing, I have to ask is how do you manage with such few pieces of underwear? Just curious…
Happy travels!

Reply

Plascid February 27, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Wow what a list! After reading your story and seeing all of the things you own, it got me to think about all of the things I have that are just sitting around and not being used. So I looked around the house and found out that I had several Coach handbags that I could sell. Coach bags are a “hot commodity” on Ebay. All in all, I will be selling 7 handbags ( 3 which are coach bags) a Coach wallet, two Liz Clabourne skirts, a vinyl Trench coat, 1 Ann Taylor skirt, a Porcelain doll and 4 books. If all sells, I think I’ll have enough to payoff one of my credit cards which is $250.00. One down and one more to go. Thanks for the inspiration. Wish me luck!

Reply

brittany March 14, 2011 at 8:39 PM

How do you not bring new clutter into your life? I mean, even the little thing… people give your children etc… T shirts with memories..etc?
Good for you, life is short.

Reply

Jessica March 21, 2011 at 12:07 AM

Love it. The DH and I are considering RV life for our family of almost 5 and nothing has made me happier than getting rid of all the “stuff” we have been dragging around for years. Feels so great to reach the point of realization that we really only need each other and a few necessities to make life a fantastic adventure with real meaning!

Reply

Jasp April 5, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Valuable quest, enjoyable blog. Kudos to you for publicising. Useful to note this is a stage of life choice especially good with small kids, contrary to common assumptions. But perhaps not forever: when is it time to stop and do something new and radical like live connectedly in one place ? My story: husband and I left the country as newlyweds, with 2 bicycles and 2 backpacks, and returned 12 years later with 2 culturally nomadic kids approaching teenagehood and a lot more stuff. We loved the family closeness you get from being reliant on each other for everything and the stimulated learning we all did together whilst travelling in the world. Our kids are now adult and consider it a mixed legacy (as ‘Third Culture Kids). At some point divergent personalites might make it healthy to consider individual’s needs over the family unit’s?. Also endless movement can become vacuous. Nevertheless, your minimalism is inspirational. Easier when living simplistically on the road than when juggling multiple roles in sedentary living. Your posession inventory photos inspire me: is time to pare back my incremental acquisitions. Thanks!

Reply

natalie April 7, 2011 at 6:19 PM

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how black, white and grey our possessions are? Mine are the same monochrome collection.
I wonder if we had more colour, would we get more joy from what we have?

Reply

Jeff April 8, 2011 at 5:33 PM

You only have ONE button up collar shirt? Are you going to be wearing the same shirt in every YvD vid we watch? lol… Just messin witcha.. u know I luv ya!

Reply

Carol April 9, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Amazing! This is the life I only dream about… As it is, after seeing this post, I’m afraid to answer my door for it might be “Hoarders” TV show on my front porch cramming an intervention down my throat! :-)

Reply

Untemplater April 15, 2011 at 2:14 AM

This is so awesome. I have a lot of work to do donating and selling stuff before I’ll be able to photograph everything I own without filling up my memory card! But at least I’ve stopped shopping for new things except for essentials and try to donate a bag or two to Goodwill each quarter.

Reply

Ben Mordecai April 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM

You don’t have furniture?

Reply

Lindsey McDonald June 2, 2011 at 1:45 PM

They live in an rv, furniture comes pre-installed.

Reply

S.G. April 26, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Why don’t you let your wife touch your best items and electronics? That’s a little demeaning, if not misogynistic. I understand not letting your baby play with them, but she’s a grown woman and if you married her, you should be able to trust her with fancy pens or a Flip camera.

Reply

zhana May 2, 2011 at 7:22 AM

Thank you very much iam not from america and i think God through you guys showed to me how to manage the everything what we had been given.
Thanks a lot.God bless you and family!

Reply

Nico May 18, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Cutting down to the strictly neccesary things is a great way to save and get out of debt! There are so many unnecessary things people think they should own for being happy … they are so wrong! Congratulations guys!

Reply

Tabby June 2, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Maybe it’s just me, but as a mother of two little girls I just can’t believe what you are doing. It’s so out of the norm it’s hard to even think about. Personally I couldn’t do it, it would be living in tight quarters and that’s not something I can handle.My husband and I have 1 credit card that we use for gas and pay off monthly. We’re trying to improve our credit scores enough to eventually buy a house.

My daughters Andriana is 3 and Abigail is 2. They are very inquisitive and I can’t imagine not having permanent roots for them. They’ll be going to Preschool in September and it’s just… I don’t even know how to tell you how baffled I am.

I’m not here to judge you or tell you what you are doing is wrong, that’s not for me to decide. If you are happy and this works for you, more power to you. Parts of it are incredibly awe-inspiring being able to travel the world, it’s something I would LOVE to do. But we don’t have the means to afford that kind of lavish lifestyle.

My husband works in a factory and I’m a stay at home mom who donates plasma twice a week. Though I will be getting paid to watch my sister in laws daughter 5 times a week.

How do you earn your income? From your blog? It’s pretty incredible to have so much money to travel, I can’t even imagine. My husband and I are lucky enough that we don’t live paycheck to paycheck, we have a little extra after bills, however we have no where near enough to afford a vacation.

Tabby

Reply

Jenny June 2, 2011 at 11:56 AM

This is totally awesome. I can’t imagine living on the road and not having a “conventional” job or a closet full of clothes. My family has had a saying for as long as I can remember: “Home is where your family is at.”

It sounds truly liberating. : )

Reply

Brittany June 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I’m glad to have found your blog Adam! I think it’s funny how you have a picture of everything you own, do you have to take new pictures when you get new stuff, like gifts from friends? You have a beautiful family by the way, you all look so happy and cute together!

Reply

SP June 2, 2011 at 12:25 PM

what an example! I have a long way to go before even coming close to a doable list but this is inspiring.

Thank you for sharing this info.

Reply

Susan Brown June 2, 2011 at 1:08 PM

I think it is absolutely wonderful what you are doing! I see my husband and I doing this someday when our kids grow up. We are in the process of paying off bills (just paid off every credit card!!), and we have three boys ages 12,14, and 17. I can’t see cramming in an RV while they are the size they are, but someday!!! I am inspired and in awe what your family has done :)

Reply

Lindsey McDonald June 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM

I love the concept of reducing the amount of material crap. Not having so much clutter really simplifies life in many ways. I’m in my second year of college and have been living in a travel trailer for the past year. Because I have such limited space its necessary to keep tabs on what I own, what to get rid of, and what’s really worth keeping. The hardest part is clothing and shoes though, but I’ve learned that if I no longer wear it, donate it.

Another issue is stupid knick-knacks and figurines I keep receiving as gifts. I tell people I have no room, but I still receive them. I hate figurines; they are nothing but pointless clutter.

Reply

Anne N June 3, 2011 at 11:18 AM

@ Lindsey-A lot of ppl like figurines as a way of marking important times in their lives or 2 remember important ppl in their lives. I also know a lot of other ppl that would agree with u on that point. Might I suggest 2 donate them or regift them 2 sum 1 that would appreciate them more than u? Just a suggestion.

Reply

Liz June 3, 2011 at 2:53 AM

Love your website. I just moved overseas for two years and am basically living out of 2 suitcases and in a sparely furnished apartment. I threw out tons of stuff decluttering and I only wish I had thrown out more ! And I am able to do everything I want to do with some many less things. It has really been an eye-opener. When I go home I plan to sell or throw out at least 1/2 of what I have in storage.

Reply

Julie June 3, 2011 at 8:39 AM

This is very inspiring! As a parent of a 7 year old, I am becoming keenly (and sometimes painfully) aware that we are passing on the values of our economy to our son…not the values of our family. Why?! Because we have sold out. We have bought into a materialistic lifestyle. There is a certain comfort in doing what “everyone else is doing.” There is also sort of a mind-numbing complacency that comes with it.

I can say that I live pretty much debt free, with the exception of my mortgage, 1 car payment, and 1 small school loan. My mortgage is 15 years at 3.75%. Better than some. Obviously, not as good as it could be. I gave up the credit card deal about 10 years ago. I have one card that I pay off monthly and earn points. I feel like I am sort of beating the system this way.

But, I think about our dreams. We are not living them. We are tied to jobs that are designed to support a materialistic lifestyle. Thanks for the inspiration. Your words are powerful and cut straight to the heart.

Reply

Anne N June 3, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I would just like 2 compliment u 1st of all on ur beautiful family! U r truly blessed! I would also like 2 thank u 4 enlightening me (and 4 free!) on so many ways I can get rid of a lot of my “stuff” in ways that I would not have otherwise thought of. I admit that I have been caught up in the “in case I need it” rut 4 awhile now. U have inspired me 2 take a serious look @ all my “stuff” n seriously consider what I need/what I don’t need. My parnter is always complaining that we don’t have enough “room” 4 things. I think if I can convince him 2 look with me @ our “stuff” maybe we can sell/donate/give away/throw away/gift n regift a lot of the “stuff” we really don’t need thereby giving us more “room” 4 the things we really want n will use. I’m hoping that we will really be able 2 take a look @ the things we really want n figure out if we really “need” it.

Good luck on ur adventures and may God continue 2 bless ur beautiful family!

Reply

Dave T June 3, 2011 at 1:36 PM

My wife and I have been contemplating selling all and going on the road. We have been looking at a little more luxurious lifestyle though. We have looked at what is called “Destination” RV’s. This type of RV you don’t pull down the road everyday, but leave it parked for a while because it is so big. The thought behind this is that we can go where and when we want. Spend time with grandkids in different parts of the country at different times. The only problem we would have is some type of work to sustain the necessities of life, in other words WORK! While retirement for us is just a few years away, it is still a FEW years away. LOL. That is the only thing holding us back from starting this new lifestyle. I have just found your website and blog, and so far am impressed. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future.

Good Luck!
Dave T.

Reply

Teresa June 3, 2011 at 9:23 PM

I am fascinated by your story. I’ve been reading “living simply” books forever and have tried to scale down what we have—my 6 year old loves “things”, though, and that’s a struggle. She wants to keep everything forever. I have no problem getting rid of most things, though. What I do struggle with are photos, art/crafts/school papers my kids did, and some sentimental items (antique glass, etc.) that were my grandmother. Also little gifts my kids gave me over the years. Pretty much everything else is fair game, though, and you’ve inspired me to do a more intense declutter. I need to figure out how to deal with my daughter and her stuff thought.
Two questions—- (1)what do you do for health insurance (e.g. do you have it, are you able to get group insurance through someone, etc.) and (2) How do you do laundry? Does your RV have a washer/dryer?

Reply

Amanda June 6, 2011 at 4:32 PM

What about a pet? Are they considered clutter?

Reply

Teresa June 6, 2011 at 6:05 PM

I wondered the same thing—they certainly have quite a bit of “stuff” for being little creatures. We have two cats and a dog…but they’re the kind of clutter that I (usually) wouldn’t want to get rid of!

Reply

Cal June 26, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Absolutely Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. You and your family are truly a real inspiration.

Reply

Cal June 26, 2011 at 4:02 AM

This is truly amazing. You and your family are a true inspiration for myself and my wife. Thank you so much for sharing.

Reply

Mark and Ping June 27, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Hi, Baker, Courtney and Milligan! This is a great site. A friend of ours brought this to our attention since we’re downsizing for a move to Taiwan. We did quite a bit of downsizing after 10 years together in Oregon, but even then it took a moving van. Since the company paid for the move, there wasn’t the urgency to downsize too much. We were amazed at how much stuff there was. Ping’s been going through her things, making key decisions about what matters.

She spent a couple of hundred hours scanning all of our photos (1,000s!) and documents, and ripping all of our hundreds of CDs down to high res mp3s. We have two walls full of books that will be reduced to a couple of boxes; from now on we’re e-readers! The Kindle has been terrific.

My music and art tools are being reduced to the necessary items also. I’m selling all the frames and transporting only the originals, those that are not sold by the time we leave. Fortunately, most of my work is pastel on paper, so they can be sandwiched carefully between stiffening sheets of foam core and boxed together.

One of the coolest things about this experience has been meeting some great people who respond to our craigslist ads. We’ve had very happy people pick up shop tools, the television, a chair, a mirror, both my instrument amplifiers, and we’re just getting started. Not everyone who shows up buys something, but they’re all unique with their own stories. The young couple who bought my bass amp had always wanted to play the instrument and happened to win one on “Let’s Make A Deal,” of all things! They needed an amp that was as good as the bass, but didn’t have a whole lot of cash to spend on it. The guy who bought the trusty old guitar amp that I’ve used for more than three decades (the amp I didn’t sell when everything I owned fit in my Pontiac hatchback) was thrilled to get the sound he’s always loved. The young family who bought the TV were happy they could watch movies that night–and the ice cream truck showed up just as they were getting ready to leave! Happy kids.

Watching this energy flowing both ways, out of our home and into people’s lives, in exchange for currency that we can now use for other creative endeavors–this is how the universe takes care of its own. It’s good to be in the flow, not just a backwater where stuff accumulates.

Thanks for setting up your site and putting this out there. We’re taking a big leap, and it’s always good to see others who have made a good life for themselves.

Cheers! –Mark and Ping

Reply

Amy July 5, 2011 at 9:41 AM

I really like the green glasses what brand/model are they? It is kind of hard to see from the picture. Thank you.

Reply

Amie July 5, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Crazy!! I literally stumbled across your blog just as I am beginning to evaluate my hoard of stuff and what I really need. I’ve recently become unemployed, which was really a god send because I’d been threatening to quit to travel anyway!! Two bedrooms full of too much crap will be narrowed down to what I can fit in my backpack with my brand new passport… so my next question is….WHERE TO GO FIRST??? Thanks for the blog :)

Amie

Reply

Karl - Stepping Into Wonder July 17, 2011 at 1:02 PM

I love this, especially the pictures! A year ago I made a list of everything I owned when I moved to Europe. Now that I moved back to the States, stuff is starting to accumulate again. It’s probably a good time to start eliminating again, thanks for inspiring me!

Reply

Kim July 20, 2011 at 10:29 PM

I can’t believe I stumbled across this site. This may have changed our lives. We are now seriously considering moving into an TT for a year to pay off our debt and then hit the road for unknown time inorder for my husband to pursue a career as a fire fighter. You have very much encouraged me toward a minimalist lifestyle which oddly enough aligns perfectly to my own beliefs of being a good steward over what God has given us as well as being able to share those things with others. The pictures and list of items is tremendously helpful for us in gauging what we will need. We have three children 3, 2, 9month so it will not be without challenges but what life is perfect ehh? Need to read more on your site also been looking at families on the road website lots of neat stories. Started a blog to track our story and like you I hope to use it as accountability fabulous job with that by the way. Nothing makes you more accountable than putting it out there for all to see – certainly would make me think twice before loading up on things I don’t necessarily need. Thanks again maybe we’ll see you and your family on the road!!!

Reply

Raquel Jackson July 28, 2011 at 9:32 PM

A friend of mine shared your site with me, and so far I’m impressed. My husband and I are expecting our first now, and taking that leap from the grind, to selling our stuff and starting on the road of living more simply, and being more happy. I’ve just begun blogging and I’m inspired by the culture of others who share our ideas and are taking action towards doing it. Keep living passionately and purposefully!

Reply

Cassandra Johndrow August 7, 2011 at 3:08 PM

This is definitely an inspiration. I’m actually trying to do the same. I’m having to get rid of most of my childhood…everything, so I’m trying to take pictures of every thing. I am definitely sentimental and have a lot to go through, but I figure the pics will help me get through it and downsize! Good to know I’m not the only one to do this. Since I’m not sure where I’m going to be…I’m trying to get it as easy and small as possible for when I do move.

Reply

David McDougal August 8, 2011 at 8:40 PM

We just moved and with 130 boxes, and a 3 man crew for 7hrs we finally got moved out of our 1br apt. We still did not even move our computer, desks, tv, and a few misc items that we have to go back for. Seriously, I commend you for downsizing. We are purging POST move now, and really looking at everything as unpack. I have tossed early 8 boxes of stuff out that I did not even realize we packed. So sad how we collect “stuff”

Reply

Lori in OR @ BreatheReleaseRepeat August 16, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Just found you – I can’t wait to read more, but I had to tell you that I love, love, love that you kept board games. If I were paring down as much as you have, I would DEFINITELY keep Agricola, too. it’s the game that never grows old, because it is different every time.

Reply

LP August 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Did I miss the baby car seat? I did not see it listed.

Reply

AlishaMisha September 4, 2011 at 2:40 AM

I wanted to let you know that your way of executing this mission was the only way that really motivated me to do it myself. I have been logging in items into Flickr for the past three days. Thank you for sharing!

If you know of any links to other people who have pictured lists like you then please let me know. The more examples the better! Thank You :)

Reply

Ben - BankAim September 16, 2011 at 5:26 PM

wow.. you just made me feel like a hoarder! Thanks

Reply

Keith Allen October 23, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Wow, I really enjoyed your blog. We are a family of 3 also and we gave up on our debt when the economy crashed and we lost everything that was valuable except our RV and our old car. We sold about 1/2 of our crap on ebay and craigslist, and are working on getting rid of the rest and then hitting the road in our RV as well (we’ve got a long ways to go… I’m estimating a year or so). Anyway, great blog, interesting concept. I started our own little blog about our past and hopefully our (future) rv adventures as we try to become less consumer oriented and migrate to a higher state of happiness with life. P.S. I added your site to my resources page.

Reply

Deb @ Good Stewardess November 4, 2011 at 6:16 PM

I’m totally impressed with your wife’s wardrobe – it is WAY more difficult for a woman to pare down her wardrobe than for a man! And she only has (or had at that time) seven more items than you!

Reply

weaver November 28, 2011 at 8:11 PM

wow… this is quite something…. way to go… when i saw this page heading and clicked to it i was actually surprised to find this much… goes to show when even one has very little it seems to really add up… :o)

Reply

Alexis Neely December 4, 2011 at 4:11 AM

Check out the game “Settlers of Catan” — I think you’ll love adding that one to your collection. Perhaps our families can play it together one day.

Reply

thefrugallery December 5, 2011 at 12:00 PM

WOW! This list is inspiring. I’ve been selling misc items on EBay for the last couple of months, trying to get rid of all of the crap we don’t need. Trying to save up enough money to move to Costa Rica and retire.

Reply

Annabelle January 10, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I’m impressed by the discipline it must have taken to pare down this much. I’ve been trying to declutter, simply, reduce and so on also, but I think I could probably take up this much room just by taking a picture of every book I own! Definitely food for thought.

Reply

AlishaMisha January 10, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Would love an updated list! It would be neat to see how things changed with your belongings in a year.

Reply

Abe February 6, 2012 at 11:31 PM

This sounds great! Hope the trip rocked.

Reply

Elaine February 7, 2012 at 12:34 AM

Love it! This is such an interesting look in to your lives. I like that you are holding on to physical photos and journals. I think they are so much more precious than just digital copies!

Reply

Charles Fyler February 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

While I think this is extreme, it’s also inspiring. I imagine you could file one heck of an insurance claim if your house went up in flames and you’d have photos of every item to prove it. Remarkable.

Reply

Razza March 4, 2012 at 9:17 AM

haha, true, you sure do have a lot of eye-witnesses to claim @ insurance…I never thought of that

Reply

Emily March 8, 2012 at 1:14 AM

This is perfect! Thank you. My family of 7 is downsizing from a 2 bedroom NYC apt. into an RV in the UK. This helps me know what will really be useful. It’s only a 3 month trip, but I’m sure we’ll bring home a simpler lifestyle.

Reply

Cheryl Thompson March 27, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Adam: Love your stuff!!!!! Just watched your TED talk and feel like I have new wind beneath my wings. After a tremendous business failure in which we ended up owing $2.4 million just 5 years ago, my husband and I are down to owing our last $89,000. We made a personal declaration NOT to declare bankruptcy. These last 5 years have been a time of suffering, soul-searching, creating, downsizing (4 times) and through it all we never experienced the freedom we feel now in our 1,000 square foot apartment after saying good-bye to our 8,000 square foot mansion. I needed your kick in the butt talk to gain momentum again. I’m off to our garage to sell the crap. Thanks for your inspiration!!
PS. You need to be speaking on the college campuses before the kids take on the student loan debt they can’t ever get rid of.

Reply

Towhid Zaman March 30, 2012 at 5:27 PM

I love your writing skill.I’m a craziest fan of Pat but now loving you & glen too.

Reply

Bruce April 17, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Inspiring! What’s the red van in your recent pictures? We’re thinking of getting a van big enough for bikes inside and the rest of our stuff.

Reply

Juliana May 1, 2012 at 4:06 AM

I really enjoyed reading your post. It is strange, but true, that when I am on a budget, I feel better about myself. I know I am not wasting money on useless things. Having moved quite often for work (I am an English as a Second Language teacher), I have had to trim down and start up various times. I have learned what things I will always take with me to another country and what things I will leave behind. I, however, am still learning and will be following your site. Thanks so much. http://www.mosaicpen.blogspot.com

Juliana

Reply

Kendra May 7, 2012 at 11:20 AM

This is impressive and while I am a bit envious, as an artist I am not afforded the luxury of a minimalist lifestyle. The best I can do is to be as organized as possible with my materials, supplies, tools, and inventory. I do make sure and purge what I can at least twice a year. Truly amazing!

Reply

marie September 10, 2012 at 5:29 PM

That’s is pretty impressive!!

Kendra, I am not sure I agree with your comment. I think there is always a way to keep the clutter to a minimum. I used to crochet a lot and I find that after I am done with a project, I don’t want it anymore, so I just gift it (yes, I know, I am cluttering people’s lives). Usually it is a keepsake for friends who were on a student exchange program and went back home.

Me and my husband live in a much smaller home now (roughly 750 sq ft), where space is scarce – according to American standards… but we still make it work!
You can take a look at a few pictures here if you’re interested.

Reply

Aimee March 5, 2013 at 7:47 PM

LOVE your list and photos! My boyfriend and I bought an rv last year and starting paring stuff down. It took a really long time and we’re finally paring down the last of it to go full time in the RV. Gonna use your list as a guideline (and after living in the rv for several months, think your list is inclusive and minimal- great job!!)

Reply

kellye July 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM

with all due respect, an essential item no family should be without are bibles…one for each member, to study separately and together as a family…

Reply

Sapphire July 4, 2013 at 12:38 AM

With all due respect Kellye, not everyone is religious or needs to be. We all have our own pathway, faith and beliefs in life.

Reply

Velisa Takle May 25, 2014 at 11:05 PM

I think the hardest thing to know what to keep is kitchen items and clothing…. Do you know how hard it was for me to find a list of items to keep on the internet!!!!! This one AMAZING…. Well done!!!!

Reply

Hagar August 26, 2014 at 4:42 AM

I would also like not to feel burdened by stuff, but not being burdened by it also means not worrying and fretting so much about every little thing I own. If you are living in an RV it is different than a house or apartment, and you really need to minimize. but for how long do you think you will really continue this lifestyle? Your website is definitely helping me be a more conscious consumer, which I think is really important for my own sanity and for Americans in general. However, not everyone can do your unique lifestyle. Also, you say that you want to be “free” but freedom comes in many ways. Do you really feel free now? If you do that is wonderful.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 40 trackbacks }