Project

All 51 Things I Own

One of the most popular posts ever here on Exile Lifestyle was All 72 Things I Own, wherein I took a photo of each and every object I owned in the world and was shocked to find that I had only 72 items.

Well that was back in November when I was living in Buenos Aires — a lifetime ago! — and seeing as how this is the 100th post here on Exile Lifestyle, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this concept and see how much I own now.

I had a vague notion that I wanted to be down to 50 items by the time I moved to New Zealand, and it looks like I met that goal. In fact, until today I was at 47 things…not too shabby!

But this morning a magical thing happened: 4 t-shirts arrived in the mail. T-shirts that I designed for Exile Lifestyle, my audience and myself. Yay! Oh wait. Guess I should have only ordered 3 shirts. Drat.

It’s okay, though. Because you know what? Rules were meant to be broken (especially rules created by you for a competition against yourself as part of a project also created by you).

I’ll continue to reduce as I stop using things (I imagine some of the other shirts I own will be on the cutting block soon), but at this moment I’ve got 51 and that’s just fine with me.

Below is a list of what you’re looking at in the photos above (in the same order). Click on any of the photos to be taken to it’s Flickr page where there is a more detailed description (including brands where applicable) and larger photo.

*It should be noted that I count some things together (the glasses and their case, for example) and I haven’t photographed the small tangle of cables I have to power the objects on the list. I also don’t include anything that is consumable (food, toilet paper, etc) or anything that I’m currently renting (my apartment in Christchurch, the furniture in it).

My 51 Things

  1. Button-down shirt
  2. Polo
  3. Long-sleeved shirt
  4. V-neck t-shirt
  5. V-neck t-shirt
  6. Graphic t-shirt
  7. Graphic t-shirt
  8. Graphic t-shirt
  9. Graphic t-shirt
  10. T-shirt
  11. T-shirt
  12. Jeans
  13. Jeans
  14. Pants
  15. Jacket
  16. Jacket
  17. Hoodie
  18. 3 pairs of boxers/boxer briefs
  19. 4 pairs of socks
  20. Shoes
  21. Flip flops (jandals!)
  22. Belt
  23. Workout shoes
  24. 2 workout shirts
  25. Workout shorts/ swim trunks
  26. Messenger bag
  27. Carry-on bag
  28. Sunglasses
  29. Wallet/contents/passport
  30. Notebook and sketchbook
  31. Pens and pencils
  32. Digital camera and case
  33. Tripod
  34. Phone and SIM cads
  35. Universal Adapter
  36. Laptop
  37. Laptop case
  38. 2 external hard drives
  39. iPod/armband/headphones
  40. Trimmer and shaver
  41. Glasses and case
  42. Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss

Update: December 11, 2016

I stopped posting photos of all the things I own several years ago when I discovered that it seemed to reinforce the idea that “minimalism” means owning as few things as possible.

That’s not the case. We’re not any better or more moral when we own less. The idea is to own exactly the right number of things for you and your priorities, and that will mean something different for everyone.

If you want to focus on travel and experiences like me, chances are you’ll want to own less, because everything you own is likely something you’ll have to carry (like I do) or store somewhere (which is wildly inconvenient and potentially expensive). If you need equipment or gadgetry to do your work, if your passion is collecting unicorn statuettes, if you’re truly fulfilled by owning all the books you’ve ever read, then you should; just don’t buy the big screen TV you feel you’re supposed to own. Save that money for more unicorn statuettes.

Which is to say that you should prioritize your time, energy, and resources for the stuff that really matters. That may be possession stuff, that may be relationship stuff, that may be personal hobbies and projects stuff. Most likely, it’ll be a uniquely shaped combination of all these things, and that’s worth embracing.

You needn’t own a few dozen possessions to be a minimalist, you just have to focus on the vital things and act accordingly.