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Ultralight
3-21-16, 12:48pm
At my "irl" minimalist meeting yesterday the topic of "enough" came up.

Someone new to minimalism suggested she would be happy to get her number of possessions down to 1,000 (from way, way more than that).

This was interesting to me. I said: "I think that every person on the planet ought to be able to live happily with 1,000 things or less."


Now I know how this sounds coming from the guy with 157 things.

But I think the idea is still worth mulling over.

Thoughts on this number of one thousand as a universal?

frugal-one
3-21-16, 1:04pm
I don't think it matters on the number of things. The gauge is to have things you need and use.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 1:37pm
I don't think it matters on the number of things. The gauge is to have things you need and use.

I suppose this is more a thought exercise. Like if there was a number of things that could keep everyone happy and busy and whatnot, would it be 1000 or less?

I mean, I have 157 things. And I am happy with that, and busy enough too. I could go few and do just a well.

iris lilies
3-21-16, 2:06pm
Do plants in the ground count?

bae
3-21-16, 2:20pm
Seems to me that worrying about the "number of things" you have is just another way of letting your things own you.

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/labyrinth/images/d/d1/Junk.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20111004202045

Chicken lady
3-21-16, 2:24pm
I can't really get into the whole "number of things" game. I'm looking at the wall of dh office. Scouting has been a really important part of his life. He had 51 things (patches and photos) in a box just taking up space. I added four more things (picture frames) and now he enjoys looking at them everyday. But magic math - 51+4=4?

i know I have far more than enough, but I have many "useless" things I enjoy, and while I know getting rid of them would make my life simpler and easier in some ways, in other ways it would just make me sad.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 2:24pm
Do plants in the ground count?

I would say no, they don't. I would not count living things. But they again, this is more about each individual. Nebulous, really...

Generally, what I have gone by and seen most other minimalists/voluntary simplifiers go by is that for something to be considered a possession it must be something you intend to possess for at least a year. Transient possessions don't count -- like a loaf of bread or a toothpick. Living things don't count, like your pet wolverine or your best friend Bill Sakashitz from the old neighborhood.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 2:26pm
Seems to me that worrying about the "number of things" you have is just another way of letting your things own you.



Not worrying (or rather not doing something) about the amount of things you have often has the same result, but with a lot more things.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 2:35pm
I can't really get into the whole "number of things" game. I'm looking at the wall of dh office. Scouting has been a really important part of his life. He had 51 things (patches and photos) in a box just taking up space. I added four more things (picture frames) and now he enjoys looking at them everyday. But magic math - 51+4=4?

I would say it is not for everyone.

Within the context of the minimalist group I am part of, I'd say it is more like a philosophical question. But I do think it could have real-world implications. For instance, I saw some research recently about being overwhelmed by too many choices. Like, the optimum number of choices for a person to have when buying a grocery item is 3. No choice is not going to make a person happy. Two items to choose from is not bad. Three is ideal. More than three choices produces less happiness as the number goes upward.

So if an adequate sample size of people was to start with nothing and then accrue possessions at what average number would "not enough" become "enough" and at which point would "enough" become "too much?"


i know I have far more than enough, but I have many "useless" things I enjoy, and while I know getting rid of them would make my life simpler and easier in some ways, in other ways it would just make me sad.

Why would getting rid of these items make you sad?

iris lilies
3-21-16, 2:37pm
Ok then, theoretically, living a fantasy life, i could absolutely live with 1,000 things in a 550 sq ft house with one acre of lush river bottom land to grow lilies and iris.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 2:40pm
Ok then, theoretically, living a fantasy life, i could absolutely live with 1,000 things in a 550 sq ft house with one acre of lush river bottom land to grow lilies and iris.

I like this train of thought! Very candid of you.

bae
3-21-16, 3:32pm
Not worrying (or rather not doing something) about the amount of things you have often has the same result, but with a lot more things.

Could you leave your house with 5 minutes' notice and live in the wilderness for a year successfully with what you carry on your back? If so, those are all the things you *need*. I could do that right now, I'd probably take 10 minutes because I'd like to finish this cup of coffee though.

If my house burned down right now, I'd be sad at the bother, but I don't care about any of the things in the house particularly - they don't weigh on my soul. When stuff is too cluttered, I give things away or recycle them or throw them out. I don't spend hours thinking about how many things I have, and how best to manage them - life is too short for that. I suppose though some people take joy in the OCD minimax game with their stuff, so more power to them.

The things that bother me now are my mother-in-law's things - she passed away a few months back, and we are dealing with the estate. It's causing expenditure of time, labor, and intellect. In an ideal universe, she would have burned down the house :-)

Mary B.
3-21-16, 3:37pm
Ok then, theoretically, living a fantasy life, i could absolutely live with 1,000 things in a 550 sq ft house with one acre of lush river bottom land to grow lilies and iris.

Gently south-sloping, I presume?

Ultralight
3-21-16, 3:40pm
Could you leave your house with 5 minutes' notice and live in the wilderness for a year successfully with what you carry on your back? If so, those are all the things you *need*. I could do that right now, I'd probably take 10 minutes because I'd like to finish this cup of coffee though.

I could not, but that would be pretty cool!


If my house burned down right now, I'd be sad at the bother, but I don't care about any of the things in the house particularly - they don't weigh on my soul. When stuff is too cluttered, I give things away or recycle them or throw them out. I don't spend hours thinking about how many things I have, and how best to manage them - life is too short for that. I suppose though some people take joy in the OCD minimax game with their stuff, so more power to them.

I don't spend much time thinking about geology. Doesn't interest me.


The things that bother me now are my mother-in-law's things - she passed away a few months back, and we are dealing with the estate. It's causing expenditure of time, labor, and intellect. In an ideal universe, she would have burned down the house :-)

I am sorry to hear this. I see my own future in this scenario you are ensnared in.

bae
3-21-16, 3:46pm
I am sorry to hear this. I see my own future in this scenario you are ensnared in.

The problem is that it isn't just generic "stuff" - that can all go in an afternoon at an estate sale/dumpster.

The bulk of it though is academic research materials/notes and cultural artifacts associated with 60+ years of active research, which she only slowed down on during her last few months. It's all supposed to end up in the hands of various institutions and other researchers. But there's a *lot* of it - imagine a 3 story Victorian home with a full basement that has been used for decades as a research institution, with a bedroom/kitchen for the dedicated researcher - the rest of the rooms are somewhat-organized collections of materials/notes/projects.

At least her institution has provided some grad student labor, but it's a big project, and I surely wish she'd decided to spend her last year relaxing on the beach somewhere while this effort happened under her loose supervision.

Do your kids a favor, and try to schedule at least a few months of retirement at the end :-)

Ultralight
3-21-16, 3:50pm
The problem is that it isn't just generic "stuff" - that can all go in an afternoon at an estate sale/dumpster.

The bulk of it though is academic research materials/notes and cultural artifacts associated with 60+ years of active research, which she only slowed down on during her last few months. It's all supposed to end up in the hands of various institutions and other researchers. But there's a *lot* of it - imagine a 3 story Victorian home with a full basement that has been used for decades as a research institution, with a bedroom/kitchen for the dedicated researcher - the rest of the rooms are somewhat-organized collections of materials/notes/projects.

At least her institution has provided some grad student labor, but it's a big project, and I surely wish she'd decided to spend her last year relaxing on the beach somewhere while this effort happened under her loose supervision.

Do your kids a favor, and try to schedule at least a few months of retirement at the end :-)

Massive, massive undertaking there.

pinkytoe
3-21-16, 4:03pm
The only time I even think of counting things is if I am trying to winnow down categories such as how many T shirts do I really need in my present circumstance. When I started trying out the Kondo decluttering techniques, I laid all of my shoes out on the floor and was blown away how many there were. I had no idea! Just looking at my desktop now, there are probably 100 things. I could probably find 100 pens if I went through the whole house. Moving after 15 years in one place will no doubt make me count things - like how many kitchen items do I really need if I have to move them 800 miles - very few are essential. I am looking forward to that motivation to clear it out. As mentioned, dealing with ancestor stuff is tough especially if they had professional lives. And then there can be a sense of dishonoring them by finally having to fire sale their possessions. I am still trying to find rightful homes for my mother's pharmaceutical collectibles. It is way too much hassle.

rodeosweetheart
3-21-16, 4:07pm
The only time I even think of counting things is if I am trying to winnow down categories such as how many T shirts do I really need in my present circumstance. When I started trying out the Kondo decluttering techniques, I laid all of my shoes out on the floor and was blown away how many there were. I had no idea! Just looking at my desktop now, there are probably 100 things. I could probably find 100 pens if I went through the whole house. Moving after 15 years in one place will no doubt make me count things - like how many kitchen items do I really need if I have to move them 800 miles - very few are essential. I am looking forward to that motivation to clear it out. As mentioned, dealing with ancestor stuff is tough especially if they had professional lives. And then there can be a sense of dishonoring them by finally having to fire sale their possessions. I am still trying to find rightful homes for my mother's pharmaceutical collectibles. It is way too much hassle.

Maybe you could sell them as a lot on ebay--pharmaceutical collectibles sounds like a real niche market, and you could unload them all in one fell swoop.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 4:12pm
As mentioned, dealing with ancestor stuff is tough especially if they had professional lives. And then there can be a sense of dishonoring them by finally having to fire sale their possessions... It is way too much hassle.

Of the utmost interest...

ApatheticNoMore
3-21-16, 4:34pm
I don't believe the things you need are just what you need to survive. Like for instance you probably need to keep 7 years of tax documents to keep the IRS happy should they ever care and a lot of things are like this, documentation of stuff etc.. It might not be necessary to live in the woods but it is necessary to live in society. Of course if you keep all this on your ipad, hmm maybe that's 1 thing. But papers aren't much of peoples things? Oh you would be surprised, how much paper there is (and not all of it all that important - not all taxes and stuff) but a lot, let's just say that.

Ultralight
3-21-16, 4:42pm
I could probably find 100 pens if I went through the whole house.

Excellent reminder for me. People keep leaving pens in my car. Strange, I know.

I have like 15 of them in there. I need to put them in my sis and BIL's junk drawer!

Chicken lady
3-21-16, 5:29pm
Ultraliteangler,

I would be sad because while not technically useful, the things give me pleasure visually or by stimulating memories.

bae, I think you would like my dad. He says if anything happens to mom, we have 24 hours to get there, rent a truck if needed and remove from the premises anything we want. Then he's going to burn the place to the ground. I think he may intend to be in it.

Gardnr
3-21-16, 6:57pm
Do plants in the ground count?


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO:cool: I'd be screwed!

Gardnr
3-21-16, 7:04pm
The only time I even think of counting things is if I am trying to winnow down categories such as how many T shirts do I really need in my present circumstance.

I hear ya on this one. We have a ton of tshirts. They are mostly gifts or freebies from trade shows (hubby is in IT). And we use organic detergent in the wash and then hang them dry. They take a ridiculous 15y to age out to trash can. Yet we keep the stacks so that we will NEVER have to buy.

Where is the balance in that you might say? I haven't got a clue. We did however in December, downsize 15 of them to goodwill. I begged hubby to participate.

counting items? Not this girl. Life's short. As noted by Bae.

Gardnr
3-21-16, 7:06pm
I am still trying to find rightful homes for my mother's pharmaceutical collectibles. It is way too much hassle.

There is a medical history museum in Atlanta. Contact them?

Meezer_Mom
3-22-16, 12:12pm
First, how do I find a minimalist group for meet-ups? (Hesitant to say "irl" b/c this forum and the people behind the monikers ARE "real life" too.)

Second, I do count but, like others have said, I do it in the context of inventorying supply to determine if I have enough.

Third, sloping verdant hills (with a creek below) are happy places for me. Thanks for making me smile.

iris lilies
3-22-16, 12:32pm
Gently south-sloping, I presume?hmmm? No, Flatland is fine, it must have rich loamy well-drained soil.

Ultralight
3-22-16, 12:36pm
First, how do I find a minimalist group for meet-ups? (Hesitant to say "irl" b/c this forum and the people behind the monikers ARE "real life" too.)

Second, I do count but, like others have said, I do it in the context of inventorying supply to determine if I have enough.

I googled the heck out of it. Which city do you live in?

ToomuchStuff
3-22-16, 12:44pm
Someone new to minimalism suggested she would be happy to get her number of possessions down to 1,000 (from way, way more than that).

This was interesting to me. I said: "I think that every person on the planet ought to be able to live happily with 1,000 things or less."

Thoughts on this number of one thousand as a universal?


I would say it is not for everyone.

Within the context of the minimalist group I am part of, I'd say it is more like a philosophical question. But I do think it could have real-world implications. For instance, I saw some research recently about being overwhelmed by too many choices. Like, the optimum number of choices for a person to have when buying a grocery item is 3. No choice is not going to make a person happy. Two items to choose from is not bad. Three is ideal. More than three choices produces less happiness as the number goes upward.


So you do but you don't?
This is why I think philosophy is worthless. Your arguing black, then white, when your proving the world is shades of grey.

1000 things, well you're going to have to travel quite a distance to find a pharmacy that has what you need. What about a hospital? You would die if they had to start cutting back on the tools they have/use.

Bae, was that picture from Labyrinth or the Dark Crystal?

Mary B.
3-22-16, 12:59pm
hmmm? No, Flatland is fine, it must have rich loamy well-drained soil.

Ah. Here the Garden Grail is always gently south-sloping. I suspect we've all given up on rich and loamy since we're in a Douglas fir forest, basically.

I slope north-isn.

Ultralight
3-22-16, 1:27pm
So you do but you don't?
This is why I think philosophy is worthless. Your arguing black, then white, when your proving the world is shades of grey.

1000 things, well you're going to have to travel quite a distance to find a pharmacy that has what you need. What about a hospital? You would die if they had to start cutting back on the tools they have/use.



Sure. I do. But I don't.

Personally I think 1000 things is too many. I think that everyone should be able to be happy with less than 200 things.

iris lilies
3-22-16, 2:09pm
Sure. I do. But I don't.

Personally I think 1000 things is too many. I think that everyone should be able to be happy with less than 200 things.
Sure, in your fantasy world of the Worker's paradise where everyone has exactly the same stuff, no one has more than anyone else, a world where everyone is provided gbmnt housing, etc. no one needs more than a small box of stuff. Why do you need anything when Nanny provides it all? We are all --finally--equal!

But in my libertarian fantasy where we each take care of ourselves, just our living quarters alone vary from tiny new apartments of 300 sq ft to large old Victorian houses of 6,000 sq feet. Choose your wh space! And I can assure you that my husband needs 200 screws, bolts, and fascinors ALONE in hs shop for old house ukeep.

UL, your view of what 'should' be is so very limiting and constrained. I am glad yours is not in ascendence.

Ultralight
3-22-16, 2:19pm
Sure, in your fantasy world of the Worker's paradise where everyone has exactly the same stuff, no one has more than anyone else, a world where everyone is provided gbmnt housing, etc. no one needs more than a small box of stuff. Why do you need anything when Nanny provides it all? We are all --finally--equal!

A man can dream, can't he? LOL


UL, your view of what 'should' be is so very limiting and constrained. I am glad yours is not in ascendence.

1000 things is limiting? Really?

Here is the thing: I feel like being a minimalist loosens my constraints. I feel like it removes limits.

Why? Because it allows me to go fishing more, read great books, walk my dog around the lake, etc.

Having less stuff seems to give me more life! :)

JaneV2.0
3-22-16, 2:25pm
To each his or her own. Just don't prescribe for me, and we'll get along fine. :moon:

iris lilies
3-22-16, 2:41pm
A man can dream, can't he? LOL



1000 things is limiting? Really?

Here is the thing: I feel like being a minimalist loosens my constraints.... :)

Of COURSE, I am not argung that. Weve been over that ad nauseum. You know what is best for you, at least, you had better. You are your responsibility, dont look to me to tell you whats best for you.


Your worldview FOR EVERYONE is limiting.

You=your choices=good for,you

Me=your choices=not good for me

get it?

Teacher Terry
3-22-16, 3:20pm
I don't count things. What a waste of time. I have some sentimental things that while they are only for decoration they bring joy. My Mom knew she was dying so she got rid of tons of stuff. She even threw away her picture albums after we took what we wanted. I have had to clean out a few people's homes that kept everything and it was not fun. I have downsized a lot so if something happens it won't be a big job for my kids. I like a leaner look now then when I was young. I would hate it if everyone had the same stuff, etc. I love to go to someone's home and get a picture of who they are by the way they decorate, etc. It tells you what is important to that person.

bae
3-22-16, 3:22pm
Sure. I do. But I don't.

Personally I think 1000 things is too many. I think that everyone should be able to be happy with less than 200 things.

I've got about 90 things in my wilderness medical response bag here. Maybe I should cut that down to a single band-aid...

ApatheticNoMore
3-22-16, 3:50pm
Yea I did wonder if you had a pack of 100 bandaids, is it 100 things? :laff: Probably not, that's probably one thing, just like a pair of socks is really one thing. I probably have 200 books alone. But much else is just random stuff (like the paperwork type things I mentioned, or recycling piling up until I can get rid of it, old journals, etc., more than one piece of silverware - bet UL never cooks for others). I get anti-consumerism as social responsibility, I really do, and I try, but things at the thrift rather than new are pretty harmless anyway (they have more than they need), and no I don't count things. I can't imagine my one bedroom really being all that hard to empty out even if I did kick the bucket tomorrow.

Ultralight
3-22-16, 3:56pm
Your worldview FOR EVERYONE is limiting.

My worldview is not applicable until I have that magic wand I ordered on Amazon.

JaneV2.0
3-22-16, 4:05pm
My worldview is not applicable until I have that magic wand I ordered on Amazon.

I'm pretty sure my tin foil hat defeats your magic wand.

Ultralight
3-22-16, 4:07pm
I don't count things. What a waste of time.

For me, it initially took a bit of time, but the investment helps me to visually and concisely manage my items and to be cognizant of how much I actually own. People act like it takes sooooooooo long to count your stuff. Clue: If it does, then you have way too much!

Another clue: Once you count it and put it in a spreadsheet or on your dry erase board, or whatever, then it is just add one, subtract one here and there. It takes like ten seconds. I rarely get new stuff and I rarely toss anything else. So my list of stuff just hangs out on my desktop.


I have downsized a lot so if something happens it won't be a big job for my kids. I like a leaner look now then when I was young.

Very considerate of you. I support this choice!


I would hate it if everyone had the same stuff, etc. I love to go to someone's home and get a picture of who they are by the way they decorate, etc. It tells you what is important to that person.

(Indirectly to razz Iris Lillies) I wish everyone had all the same stuff. And each item should have a hammer and sickle insignia on it too. :devil:


If you came into my living space you think: "Someone actually lives here?"

Ultralight
3-22-16, 4:12pm
Yea I did wonder if you had a pack of 100 bandaids, is it 100 things? :laff: Probably not, that's probably one thing, just like a pair of socks is really one thing. I probably have 200 books alone. But much else is just random stuff (like the paperwork type things I mentioned, or recycling piling up until I can get rid of it, old journals, etc., more than one piece of silverware - bet UL never cooks for others). I get anti-consumerism as social responsibility, I really do, and I try, but things at the thrift rather than new are pretty harmless anyway (they have more than they need), and no I don't count things. I can't imagine my one bedroom really being all that hard to empty out even if I did kick the bucket tomorrow.


Some things are grouped together. But you can't let that slope get slippery otherwise you go from having an "first aid kit" with band-aids and Neosporin to having a "life kit" with is a huge house with 38,000 things in it.


I do a fish fry now and again for other folks. But so far I have been able to use my sis and BIL's stuff or someone else's stuff.

Alan
3-22-16, 4:17pm
I do a fish fry now and again for other folks. But so far I have been able to use my sis and BIL's stuff or someone else's stuff.That does make it much easier doesn't it?
What happens when you convince them they don't need the same stuff you don't need, but previously borrowed from them? Will the nature of your needs then change?

Ultralight
3-22-16, 4:23pm
That does make it much easier doesn't it?
What happens when you convince them they don't need the same stuff you don't need, but previously borrowed from them?

It does make it easier! I also loan them a few things, like my BIL will sometimes use my fishing pole. They have also borrowed my canoe when the two of them want to go paddling. My hatchback is like a tiny SUV, so I have helped them move many large items. And so on... It is like a trade-off.

But... they aren't minimalists. They have what I would call an "average" amount of stuff for successful working-class Americans. My sis prefers to have a little less stuff, my BIL prefers to have a little more stuff. So I don't think I am going to convince them to go minimal. haha

I have yet to convince anyone of much of anything in my life.

Teacher Terry
3-22-16, 5:36pm
Actually if I go into a home that is too minimal it makes me anxious-it just feels too weird but I hate when a home is packed to the gills too. I used to have have too many nik-naks, etc and have gotten rid of a ton of stuff. Unfortunately, my hubby has his office, 1- car garage and shed packed with crap that I am forbidden to touch. I am sure he has 3 each of every kind of tool because he can never find anything. If he dies first that crap is all going:~). I told him that recently and he looked horrified.

JaneV2.0
3-22-16, 5:56pm
Someone here (I think) posted a picture once of a European (I think) home and raved about its elegant minimalism. Honestly, I thought it looked just like a meat locker (without the tasty meat :~))--The walls consisted of white storage cabinets, and that's all I remember. Erg. Not my style, but whatever suits...

freshstart
3-22-16, 7:07pm
To each his or her own. Just don't prescribe for me, and we'll get along fine. :moon:

yup

Chicken lady
3-22-16, 7:12pm
So Ultraliteangler, how much time do you spend updating your dry erase board?

Do you really have a dry erase board (and marker I presume?) - two things that exist just to keep track of your things!

i have a life kit!

Ultralight
3-22-16, 7:53pm
So Ultraliteangler, how much time do you spend updating your dry erase board?

Do you really have a dry erase board (and marker I presume?) - two things that exist just to keep track of your things!

i have a life kit!

I have a dry erase board, but I use it mostly for brainstorming things -- like lifestyle experiments, goals, plans, etc. I am not sure ho often I use it. I probably use it for 20 minutes or so on the weekends. If I am not brainstorming, then it just hangs there.

I have an excel spreadsheet for my possessions. If I buy something I crack it open and add it. If I get rid of something I crack it open and subtract it. Obviously, this does not happen often. haha

I cracked it open and really sifted through it recently though, to see what I could downsize for my big move. And once in a blue moon, like a couple times a year, I will make a copy of the spreadsheet and try to experimentally toggle it down to the absolute minimum.

But my count is probably going to change when I move next month.

Ultralight
3-22-16, 7:54pm
i have a life kit!

Then you only own one thing!

Meezer_Mom
3-23-16, 12:00pm
Wow, you guys added two pages while I was away. :)

UltraLiteAngler, I'm in LA. Should I google anything besides "Minimalist Group"? LMK. Thanks!

Ultralight
3-23-16, 12:04pm
Wow, you guys added two pages while I was away. :)

UltraLiteAngler, I'm in LA. Should I google anything besides "Minimalist Group"? LMK. Thanks!

Check here? http://www.minimalist.org/

Ultralight
3-23-16, 12:06pm
Also check facebook! :)

Meezer_Mom
3-23-16, 10:13pm
Thanks. I'm now hooked up with my local people. :)