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I'm intrigued by the "man who owns 15 things." Does he sleep commando, or in the t-shirt and running shorts? Does he not miss cooking for himself and others? How are two shoes not making it 16 things? And how big is that "toiletry kit"?

I was intrigued enough to come up with my own minimal traveling/working self set of possessions. I bumped it up to thirty things, and I put a star beside every item I own already that pleases me so greatly it would be one of the 30.
  1. Backpack
  2. Towel *
  3. Toiletry Kit (are you laughing? I'm laughing at this as one item and would fully abuse the privilege)
  4. Wallet *
  5. Laptop
  6. Smartphone *
  7. Eyeglasses *
  8. Rain protected commuter coat
  9. Short sleeved v neck shirt *
  10. Workout pants *
  11. Leopard print cardigan *
  12. Sun hat
  13. Sunglasses
  14. Black pants *
  15. Jeans *
  16. Eyeglasses *
  17. Brassiere *
  18. Black knit dress
  19. Green knit dress *
  20. Teal knit cowlneck shirt *
  21. Leggings
  22. Sewing kit *
  23. Black leather running/walking shoes
  24. High heeled black boots
  25. Black leather wedge sandals *
  26. Satin bathrobe *
  27. Ring #1 *
  28. Ring #2 *
  29. Vintage gold chain with pendant *
  30. Hitachi *

Date: 2012-01-10 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gilraen-surion.livejournal.com
By the looks of it you are planning a shopping trip for a few things :-)
It is an intriguing concept, but when I shifted back to the Netherlands I ended up amazed how little I actually really needed. Was far more than 15 or 30 items, but given that I threw away another box full of stuff on arrival it does make you think.

Date: 2012-01-10 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyellas.livejournal.com
I did just buy some brown boots on eBay. :D I'm surprised how many of these ideal items I already own.

Date: 2012-01-10 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elenbarathi.livejournal.com
The 'toiletry kit' thing cracks me up. I've got an emergency kit in my car that probably weighs 20 lbs. It's totally self-contained, stays in the trunk all the time - if I go off some snowy mountain road where there's no cell-phone reception, my injured passengers and I have a good chance of surviving till we're rescued. Does that count as 'just one thing'?

Yeah, very cool that the guy is getting through this phase of his life with no more than he can carry comfortably on his back, and still managing to pass as an upscale mundane person. Because y'know, the world is full of drifters and mystics roaming around homeless with way less than he's got, but they're not wearing designer jeans or carrying fancy cell-phones, and most of them would just laugh at this dude's pretensions.

I loved the comment, "Living in a Prius doesn't make you hunter-gatherers."

Date: 2012-01-10 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyellas.livejournal.com
My "toiletry kit" would be close to 20 lbs!

It's true that he is upscale and kind of pretentious (two shoes makes it 16 "things", damn it!) but would it be better for society/the planet if minimal, quality, curated posessions were the way to be upscale/pretentious, instead of hyperconsuming "fast fashion" and tons of trends?

Date: 2012-01-11 01:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elenbarathi.livejournal.com
Quality, curated possessions have always been the way to be truly upscale. The hyperconsumption of trendy fashion is literally pretentious; copying the extravagant style of entertainers, who have to make a big sparkly show of themselves because that's the nature of their work. On anyone whose job doesn't involve a camera crew, that 'Hollywood style" just looks like trying too hard.

Two shoes do make 16 things, but the count is off anyhow because of the socks and toiletries and whatnot. I don't think a 'kit' of any kind ought to count as a 'thing' if it contains items that can be used independently. Something like hot rollers would be a 'set', not a 'kit', because you need all the parts to use it.

15 items

Date: 2012-01-10 08:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] edm.livejournal.com
It would appear the toiletry kit is in the picture, in which case it's relatively small (eg, holds half a dozen items). That said there does seem to be other selective counting going on to get "15" (eg, the article says he doesn't count socks/underwear at all, since it's "disposable"). FWIW, plenty of people sleep commando (not me, normally -- I like my warm clothes!).

I've read a few stories like this about really really minimal living (ie, under a couple of dozen possessions, but still a "Western" lifestyle), and generally one finds that they've either just abandoned various common aspects of life (keeping house, cooking, etc), or regard those as communal possessions rather than theirs (so they don't count), or they're really good at borrowing others possessions of that nature. (Not to mock that last one: "if you let me borrow your kitchen equipment, I'll make us a tasty dinner" is a perfectly fine trade for everyone. And I guess "rented, not owned" counts as borrowing too.)

It's all somewhat poignant since I'm travelling myself at present, and while packing ran up against the "I thought I was taking less this time..." yet again. Mostly I think I have taken less, but I still have way more than 15 possessions with me...

Ewen

Re: 15 items

Date: 2012-01-10 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyellas.livejournal.com
Yes, some of the folks like this are TOO good at borrowing others' resources and possessions, to the point that their "minimalism" is enabled by others.

I hope the road is being good to you!

Date: 2012-01-10 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] perelleth.livejournal.com
being a nomad for the greatest part of 2011 clinched it for me, how little you really need. But also taught me how importnt it is to treat yourself to pleasant things that make you feel happy or pampered.

Date: 2012-01-11 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyellas.livejournal.com
Truffles, hot baths, good books, more truffles...

Date: 2012-01-11 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iisaw.livejournal.com
Interesting idea. I've always been the sort to make do with the minimum possible stuff. (I once shocked a co-worker into speechlessness by going on a three week trip to Africa with only carry-on luggage.)

I think a prioritized "essentials list" would be a cool thing to work up. I know one thing, though: My list would have at least two small handkerchiefs and one large one... endlessly usefull!

Date: 2012-01-11 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyellas.livejournal.com
I once did 5 weeks on the road, with carry-on for the first three weeks of that. It was summer - going carry-on only is easier in warm weather - and I had to switch to checked luggage after the books acquired at a Tolkien conference.

Date: 2012-01-11 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tecno-fairy.livejournal.com
Good list! I am especially impressed by the inclusion of the leopard print cardigan, as I also own one and firmly believe it goes with everything. i'm struggling with the concept, being a costume maker; unless 'sewing kit' could be expanded to include the entire contents of a small second bedroom, i think I would fail dismally. I suppose I managed reasonably well when I was travelling, but then I was just living out of a bag and relying on other people's hospitality or the communal areas of hostels, so I suppose that makes owning fewer possessions a lot easier.

Date: 2012-01-11 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tyellas.livejournal.com
I was picturing the needles, thread, and scissors to repair the items in the 30-possessions as required. Granted, that would include a leather needle, which is handy for luggage, and a thimble, necessary when dealing with leather needles.

Date: 2012-01-12 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merrymaia.livejournal.com
This is FASCINATING. Thank you for the link!

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