Man reduced wealth to only 44 things in order to be less materialistic

Meet the man who has just 44 possessions in the whole world after slashing stuff in a bid to become less materialistic.

Rob Greenfield, 35, began his quest 10 years ago to at least keep stuff he didn’t use for six months.

But last year he really took it to the next level and cut down what he had, only 44 assets, of which he could fit inside a backpack.

Their haul contained everything needed for cooking and self-care, and was made of only 12 items of clothing.

Minimalist Rob said that his most valuable item was a postcard he used as a bookmark and that the hardest part was his mobile phone.

He decided to live life as a minimalist after realizing that he was “working to make more money to buy a bunch of possessions to prove his worth”.

Rob sticks with just 44 things for the whole of 2020, but admits to having bought a few more items this year to make life more comfortable, like electric razors.

Rob said: “The more I listened to these corporations who told me I needed all of these things, the more I was working to make more money.

“I used to use the money to buy a bunch of assets to prove my worth and my value to society, when I should have evaluated myself for who I really am.

“Leaving my cellphone was the hardest thing because it was my way of communicating with people – I didn’t know if I’d be able to function without one.

Meet the man who has only 44 possessions in the whole world after slashing stuff in an attempt to be less materialistic

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

“Out of the 44 things I had at that time, my most valuable item was my Gandhi postcard which I used as a bookmarker.

“I get a lot of my inspiration because he led by example and it’s something I’ve been trying to do for a big part of my life.

“All year long I either stayed with friends and used their washing and cooking facilities or set up camp.

“When I camped I would wash in rivers and lakes and cook my meals over a campfire which was a great way to connect with nature and the earth around us.

“During my years of reduction in size, I’ve found that material possessions don’t create long-term happiness or fulfillment for me—so I stay the way I do.”

Inspired by documentaries and books, Rob set his heart on living a non-materialistic life in 2011.

Meet the man who has only 44 possessions in the whole world after slashing stuff in an attempt to be less materialistic

He halved his wealth by getting rid of things he didn’t use in the last six months.

After repeating this process several times, Rob, who owned his own digital marketing company, made a major commitment to his new lifestyle by leaving his car behind.

In 2015 he moved from his three-bedroom apartment to a tiny house in San Diego that measured just 50 square feet.

He lived there for a year before traveling to the US and parts of Europe, in which time he reduced his wealth to 111 items that he could squeeze into his bag.

Upon Robb’s return from his trip he moved into another tiny house in Orlando, which he built himself for $13,000 using 99 percent secondhand materials.

By 2020, Robb had mastered the art of minimalism, and narrowed down to just 44 things he kept for the entire year.

He had twelve items of clothing – five shirts, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of underpants, one pair of socks, one sweater and one pair of sandals, as well as a clothing bag.

He carried a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, nail clippers, floss, lavender for relaxation, body moisturizer, sunscreen, ear plugs, a hair trimmer, scissors and a bag to carry it all.

Robb’s remaining possessions included a backpack, reusable bags for shopping, a day pack, utensils, spoons and a water bottle, as well as a tea strainer and a refillable bag of loose-leaf tea.

He also kept a notebook, pen, laptop, laptop sticker, charger, headphones, book, bookmark, his passport, birth certificate and cash in an envelope as he does not have any bank account or credit card.

Rob no longer has 44 things, but he still applies this principle to all aspects of his life.

“I engage in various projects to learn, educate others and draw attention to my cause,” he said.

“My different projects will end there but my whole life fits into the subject I’ve been teaching people.

“The first thing I bought after stopping was an electric razor because I was using a manual one—which has definitely made my life a lot easier.

“One day I dream of owning nothing but having more possessions than is necessary for me to make the best impression on the world right now.

“There was no clear end point, I went from 44 things to 50 things to 54 things, until I finally got to where I am today.

“Non-proprietary isn’t about not using anything – it’s about making the most of shared resources and our community that will ultimately save the world.”

Rob now runs Regeneration Equity and Justice, a non-profit organization.

Their aim is to bring sustainable life to people around the world and inspire them to make small changes in their lives that make a big difference.


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