7th January
written by Randy

I’ve always had a tendency toward minimalism and reduction of personal possessions, but as a human there is still a tendency to want to keep what’s yours, and as an American it’s all too common to buy things.

My last week of 2010 — from Christmas to New Year’s Eve — was spent packing and moving to an apartment almost exactly one-half of the size of the one I was in, and that experience was a painful lesson in how much stuff you think you have versus how much you actually have.

Whether it’s clothes I don’t wear any more, or electronics I don’t use any more, or books, or equipment for hobbies for which I no longer have time, the bottom line is that there is a lot here that I don’t need to keep and didn’t need to move. And I don’t need it in my life.

The idea of owning 100 items or less is well-known among internet minimalist bloggers, so it’s a good place to start. I have a feeling that my target might change a bit as the year wears on, because the definition of a “thing” is different for everyone. Most people count all the accessories for an item with that item. Many people group things together, such as counting all socks as one item.

So the target is still kind of vague, and it will need to be more well-defined as the year goes on. I have some ideas about that, including the possibility of defining the goal as a certain total weight of all possessions, or perhaps a total volume, to measure portability. We’ll see.

I spend most of December living out of just a backpack as I jetted around the US, and I will be spending the next month in Iiving the same way as I wander by train around Italy. These experiences are giving me a really clear idea of exactly how little I need in life, and how much of this stuff I can live without.

When I get back home in mid-February, I will begin the process of selling off everything of value and throwing away what’s left, as well as searching for a the best way to define my target for success this year.

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