The Freedom of Living with 75 Things

February 19th, 2010 § 0 comments

I used to have 97 things, now I have 75. Here’s why.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

It’s been awhile since I counted how many objects I own, so I was surprised when I got everything out today.

I only have 75 things.

This is excellent, I was pretty sure Christmas had run me over 100, but apparently I’ve cultivated a natural habit of reduction. For every object I acquire, I lose two.

If you think 75 things seems like not a lot of stuff to have, Leo Babauta is now living with 50 things. I’m envious.

Where my stuff went.

I probably got rid of 15 things when I left Portland for Chicago. I gave away some stuff in Chicago to my siblings. When I moved out of my old apartment in Brooklyn to the one I’m staying in now, I also gave away a bunch of stuff that I realized I didn’t need.

Giving away my stuff is very liberating.

The reason I gave everything a count today was because I’m guest starring on my friend Rachel Solomon’s personal finance show on Plentii, Always: Money (first stop Plentii, next stop …Oprah?) They asked me to bring all of my stuff into Rachel’s home studio today at 1:30 (which, granted is only 10 blocks away, or I wouldn’t have agreed to haul my stuff.) I’ll be sure to let you know when the segment goes live. I’m really honored to have the opportunity to do this video, as I’ll be able to share with more people how to live with less.

When you have 75 things, you can move your home in fifteen minutes. Isn’t that cool?

The shape of things to come.

This is also good to know, because I’m moving again soon. My girlfriend and I are taking off to San Francisco Bay on May 15th, where we’ll probably get an apartment in Oakland or Berkeley (leaning towards Oakland.) The original plan was to move to Seattle, but after a lot of thought and discussion, we decided that SF was more our style right now. Of course, if we end up not liking it, we’ll just move somewhere else!

Because California is warmer, I anticipate being about to get rid of many of these winter-specific items in my wardrobe. I can’t wait to say goodbye to winter.

I should be able to cut down my possessions to less than 50 things before we relocate to San Francisco in May.

My 75 things.

Please note, I do not count books. As you may already know, I read a book a week. I have around 15 books at the moment, which I try to get rid of as soon as I read them.

I’m also not counting shared items such as cooking stuff, furniture, etc. We don’t really have much shared stuff, and we’re going to sell most of it before the move.

I also don’t count electrical cords and USB cables as things. I kind of wish technology would power itself and connect wirelessly actually, because cords are annoying.

I also still have my old Macbook that died two weeks ago (I had to buy a new one.) I’m going to try and sell it for spare parts next week, or recycle it.

Here is my list of 75 things:

  1. Frye Boots
  2. Dr. Martin Boots
  3. Winter coat
  4. Jeans
  5. Tweed jacket
  6. Army jacket
  7. Black jacket
  8. Leather jacket
  9. Jean jacket
  10. Grey hoodie
  11. Pink hoodie
  12. Grey sweatpants
  13. Brown sweatpants
  14. Hiking socks
  15. Hiking socks
  16. Hiking socks
  17. Hiking socks
  18. Hiking socks
  19. Ski socks
  20. Wool Socks
  21. Socks
  22. Socks
  23. Grey underwear
  24. Grey underwear
  25. Grey underwear
  26. Grey underwear
  27. Grey underwear
  28. Red underwear
  29. Red underwear
  30. Blue underwear
  31. Black underwear
  32. Brown T-shirt
  33. Blue V-Neck
  34. Grey V-Neck
  35. Grey V-Neck
  36. Grey T-Shirt
  37. Black V-Neck
  38. Green Longsleeve
  39. Grey Longsleeve
  40. Grey Longsleeve
  41. Purple Longsleeve
  42. Soft grey shirt
  43. Long underwear
  44. Long underwear
  45. Scarf
  46. Gloves
  47. Everest Hat
  48. Green tank
  49. Purple tank
  50. Black tank
  51. Grey tank
  52. Grey tank
  53. Swimming Trunks
  54. Tent
  55. Sleeping bag (In Chicago)
  56. Travel Towel
  57. Yoga Mat
  58. 1 TB Harddrive
  59. 500 GB Harddrive
  60. Macbook Pro 13inch
  61. Canon Digital Rebel XTI
  62. 16-35mm 2.8L Lens
  63. 50mm Lens
  64. Off-camera Flash
  65. Headphones
  66. iPhone
  67. Moleskin
  68. Small Sewing kit
  69. Flashlight
  70. Business cards
  71. Silver pen
  72. Camera bag
  73. Laptop bag
  74. Backpackers pack
  75. Bike lock

How did I start living with 75 things?

I get a lot of emails from people saying ‘wow, how did you start living with so little?’ The answer is simple: I wanted freedom. I want to be able to move whenever I feel the need. I wanted to quit my day job and work for myself. I did this in August of last year, when I jumped on a plane to Portland. I discuss a lot of the details earlier in this blog’s history, and also in The Art of Being Minimalist.

There are so many advantages of restricting yourself to less than 100 things.

  • Freedom to move whenever you want.
  • You can opt out of the endless cycle of consumerism.
  • People give you wine as gifts, instead of stupid plastic thingies.
  • You have less impact on the planet.
  • You can focus on the important, instead of doing housework.

There are obviously many more reasons why it’s a great idea to live with less. Can you think of any good reasons? Leave them in the comments!


I have an interview coming up on Monday with Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non-Conformity. We talked about strategies for running a Very Small Business. I’m really excited about this interview, Chris is a brilliant writer and businessman. Don’t miss it! Sign up to receive free updates via EMAIL or RSS.

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