lifestyle

Man embraces minimalism and cuts down his possessions to just 44 things


Rob Greenfield caught the minimalism bug (Picture: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

Fed up of clutter? You might want to follow in this man’s footsteps.

Rob Greenfield, 35, trimmed down his belongings to just 44 items.

He hasn’t always embraced such a minimalist approach, instead having a life overhaul back in 2011.

Inspired by documentaries and books on simpler living, he started off by cutting his possessions in half, by getting rid of anything he hadn’t used in the past six months.

That clearout gave Rob the minimalist bug, and he kept repeating the process.

By 2015, he ditched his car and swapped a three-bedroom apartment for a tiny home in San Diego that measured just 50 sq ft.

Here he is with 111 possessions, when he first hit the road (Picture: Rob Greenfield)
Then he whittled down his belongings to just 44 items that would fit in a backpack to travel again (Picture: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

After a year there, Rob, who previously owned a digital marketing company, was read to go smaller, cutting down his possessions to 111 objects that he could fit into a rucksack.

Following a year of travelling with those limited supplies, he moved to Orlando and built himself another tiny home for $1,300, using 99% secondhand materials.

After his first tiny house, Rob built his own in Orlando using secondhand materials (Picture: Sierra Ford Photography)
This taught him to embrace a more minimal approach, but he didn’t trim down to 44 items until moving out and hitting the road (Picture: Sierra Ford Photography)
In case you were wondering what the tiny house’s toilet situation was, behold: compost toilet (Picture: Sierra Ford Photography)

By 2020, he had the minimalist lifestyle nailed, and cut down his belongings to just 44 items, including everything he needs for cooking and self-care and just 12 items of clothing.

‘Through my years of downsizing, I’ve found that material possessions don’t create long term happiness or fulfilment for me – that’s why I live the way I do,’ said Rob.

After some time in tiny houses, Rob lived a nomadic lifestyle, complete with walking around barefoot (Picture: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

‘The more I listened to these corporations who told me I needed all this stuff, the more I was stuck working to make more money.

‘I’d use the money to buy a bunch of possessions to prove my worth and my value to society when I should have been valuing myself on who I truly am.

‘Giving up my cellphone was the hardest thing to do because it was my form of communication with people – I didn’t know if I’d be able to function without one.

“Before committing to ditching my phone I practiced by locking it in my drawer for a month to make sure I could go without it.

‘My most treasured item out of the 44 things I owned at that time was my Gandhi postcard, which I used as a bookmarker.

He wants to spread the message of consuming less (Picture: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

‘I gained a lot of my inspiration as he led by example and that’s something I’ve been trying to do for a large part of my life.

‘Throughout the year I either lived with friends and used their washing and cooking facilities or camped.

‘When I camped I’d wash in rivers and lakes and cook my meals on a campfire which was a great way of connecting with nature and the earth around us.’

In case you’re wondering what the 44 important things were in Rob’s backpack, here’s a taster:



Rob’s 44 possessions:

  • five shirts
  • two pairs of shorts
  • two pairs of underpants
  • one pair of socks
  • a sweater
  • a pair of sandals
  • a clothing bag
  • a toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • soap
  • nail clippers
  • floss
  • lavender for relaxation
  • body moisturizer
  • sunscreen
  • ear plugs
  • a hair trimmer
  • scissors
  • a backpack
  • a reusable bag for shopping
  • a day pack
  • a pot
  • a spoon
  • a water bottle
  • a tea strainer
  • a refillable bag of loose leaf tea
  • a notebook
  • pen
  • laptop
  • laptop sticker
  • charger
  • headphones
  • book
  • bookmarker
  • his passport
  • birth certificate
  • cash in an envelope, as he has no bank account or credit card.

Since then, Rob has bought some more things, but still tries to live by the same principles of needing less.

‘One day I dream of owning nothing, but right now for me to have the best impact I can on the world owning more possessions is essential,’ he explained.

‘There was no clear ending point, I just went from owning 44 things to 50 things to 54 things until I eventually got where I am today.

‘Non-ownership isn’t about not using anything – it’s about making the most out of shared resources and our community which will ultimately save the world.’

These days, Rob says he doesn’t know exactly how many things he owns, because he lives in a community house where the residents share most items.

He did, however, buy a bike and now runs a non-profit organisation Regeneration Equity and Justice.

Rob aims to bring sustainable living to people all over the world and inspire them to make small changes in their lives that make a big difference.

He previously went a month wearing a suit made of rubbish, so he’s quite determined to spread the word.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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