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September 14, 2007

500 things - relevant and timely

I'm taking the afternoon off work to remove as much extraneous stuff from the house as possible. Synchronistically (my spell checker says that's not a word, but you know what i mean) on my way home, my local NPR station was running an interview with a man who has decided to pare his possessions down to 500 things.

I think this is a permalink to the piece on the "The Story" web site. You can listen to it there.

Posted by lisa at September 14, 2007 02:33 PM


Wow. That's minimalist. Hell, I don't know if I could pare down to just 500 books, let along 500 things.

Posted by: Steph Mineart on September 14, 2007 03:26 PM

Would a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle be just one thing, or all 500?

Posted by: lisa b on September 14, 2007 05:58 PM

Lisa B. -- don't forget the box!

The "500" makes me wonder. I have the feeling that 500 might be an unlikely number: too small for those who can't really pare down, and too large for those who really can.

I just did an estimate of the stuff I have with me for a 3 month housesitting gig. Surprisingly, the numbers comes out to: 501. Big categories include information technology (estimated 50 items: with CDs and cables racking up the points.) and "Small Stuff" (estimated 100 items: tube of glue, cute poster that someone made for me, pair of earplugs (I count those as 2 items)). I have ~70 articles of clothing, including shoes. It's nice to a guy.

In storage at my parents' house I suspect I have ~200 books, and 1,500 pieces of stuff, with a lot of points racked up for small things like pens and pencils (I'll bet I have 50 writing implements there). Of those ~1,700 pieces at my parents' house, I think I could knock out ~600 without much pain (think about those pens and pencils!).

Of the ~501 I currently have with me, I could knock out 100 without really cramping my style.

For further reductions, I'd need either a change in mindset or some money and time to shop for new stuff (e.g., a well-selected pair of pants that would allow me to get rid of two of my current pairs) or to consolidate things (e.g., transcribe info from three business cards on my desk to computer).

Of course I wonder how accurate my estimates are? I suspect I'm within 20% for the stuff I'm carrying. But for the stuff at my folks' house? Hmmm...

Posted by: Phil on September 14, 2007 09:16 PM

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