Meet the Guy Who Owns Only 15 Things (Not Counting Undies or Socks)

by , 01/10/12   filed under: Eco-Fashion News, Featured

Andrew Hyde, conscious consumption, overconsumption, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, voluntary simplicity

If you’re thinking of adopting a more minimalist lifestyle for 2012, take a page from the playbook of Andrew Hyde, an itinerant blogger-cum-interface designer who owns only 15 items. Currently residing in New York City—he’s lived everywhere from Colorado to Rhode Island—Hyde sold most of his worldly possessions in 2010, when he set off to circumnavigate the globe by hopping from city to city. Although, to our immense relief, he doesn’t count socks or underpants, Hyde’s ability to pare down demonstrates remarkable and praiseworthy restraint. The average woman, after all, owns 20 pairs of shoes, 11 of which she never wears.

Andrew Hyde, conscious consumption, overconsumption, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, voluntary simplicity

A similar list Hyde made in 2010 before a trip to Colombia.

EXTREME SIMPLICITY

So what 15 things can a 21st century man of the world not live without?

  1. Arc’teryx backpack
  2. Nau shirt
  3. Mammut rain jacket
  4. Arc’teryx T-shirt
  5. Patagonia running shorts
  6. A quick-dry towel
  7. Nau wool jacket
  8. Nau dress shirt
  9. Patagonia jeans
  10. Toiletry kit
  11. Smith sunglasses
  12. Running shoes
  13. Wallet
  14. MacBook Air
  15. iPhone 3GS

“Once you get used to simplicity, the complex normality others have becomes the audacious thing,” Hyde says.

With only three shirts and a single pair of jeans to choose from, Hyde doesn’t need to ruminate at length on what to wear each morning. Nor is he likely to treat his belongings as carelessly as he might if he owned multiple versions of everything. “Minimalism is equally easy as it is boring to do,” he writes on his blog. “What shirt today? The one I didn’t wear yesterday. Once you get used to simplicity, the complex normality others have becomes the audacious thing.”

Ecouterre, for one, is inspired to cull what is unnecessary, buy only what we need, and cherish the clothes we already own. How about you?

+ Andrew Hyde

[Via Grist]

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32 Responses to “Meet the Guy Who Owns Only 15 Things (Not Counting Undies or Socks)”

  1. Alina Shahnazari (@@alinashahnazari) says:

    Very interesting!
    That’s true… I do own over 20 shoes but that is going to change…
    A free live with less stuff…
    That’s why my husband and I built a social networking site for physical goods!
    We are going live in less than a day! so many interested people form the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore and Malaysia

    Thanks for sharing this great article!

    Alina Shahnazari, Co-founder of http://clouditems.com

  2. jlarge says:

    What’s he cook his meals in his pants.?! Come on, he’ll do his blog and travel around, Sorry, minimizing yes, 15 items on long term basis.? Only down at the rescue mission.

  3. tkbrdly says:

    seriously? “Toiletry Kit” is not one item. Where does he live? what about furniture?

  4. y2k_mad_hatter says:

    This is totally just a facade to pay for his travels, I used to do competition hiking when I was younger and you need more that clothes and a laptop to survive daily. Good on him for using this to pay his way around and good luck, it’s just not feasible long term. *flips a 5 cent coin* there’s mine.

  5. debunker says:

    Well… he owns fifteen things now. A good journalist would follow this guy for a while until he reveals that he actually starts accumulating possessions like everyone else with means.

  6. Codexborgia (@Codexborgia66) says:

    Why so many negative, sarcastic comments? Reading the article, he’s not wagging his finger at at the rest of us consumers. He is simply making a statement that it is possible to do with less (much less). Something to think about. Thinking out of the norm to live more ecologically conscious.. Isn’t that one of the reasons you signed up for an alternative news blog in the first place?

  7. cchase says:

    FYI if you “like” this it will show a picture of a woman in her bra on your facebook page.

    I agree with the other comments-it’s cool to minimize, but after traveling around the globe this man is going to need more than 15 items to live life. You can minimize and streamline your life without becoming a vagabond.

  8. cinderellen (@cinderellen) says:

    I think it makes a good point, and you do not have to downsize so drastically to see it. I shed more than half of my possessions last year to move cross country and although it was hard to let go of each thing I have to agree it is liberating. I find myself thinking twice about acquiring anything new (except books, of course!).

    Obviously this young man is not self supporting – no household equipment or even backpacking basics.

  9. fearlessadvisor (@fearlessadvisor) says:

    As a long term practitioner of Yoga, I can tell you that it’s not the number of your possessions, but your attachment to them that brings suffering.

    Ralph
    http://mayallbehappy.org

  10. indianaflint says:

    minimalism is grand but i’d at least want a blanket to sleep under [or to wrap around my legs while washing that one pair of jeans]

  11. Liz says:

    Oh sure. Easy to do when you’re basically a kid. My 25 year old brother in law does the same. It’s called living on other people’s couches. Not what you’d call a lifestyle you can continue forever and really accomplish much other than travel.

  12. Abirgulal says:

    Its way more than 15- esp. with his lifestyle, take a good look. If you see the pilgrims like the vaarkari’s or the quaali singers outside Salim Chisti’s dargah’ all they have is whats on their body. They are artists, craftsmen, farmers, cobblers what haveyou (- either by choice or of course by circumstance.) No insurance or state security either. Thats minimalist, try that A.H.

  13. y2k_mad_hatter says:

    The point I (and others are making) is that it is possible to minimise what we own but not all go back to owning only 15 or less items. If we did that, society as we know it would cease to function as we require all different specialist trades operational for society to work. Otherwise it’s back to the cave, killing each other to survive and a much less civilised approarch to day to day living. The guy should be writing about Spring Cleaning if he wants us to do anything useful, and ways in which you can achieve this in the average household. We can’t all suddenly become nomadic bloggers. *another 5 cents* flip

  14. sdunlop says:

    I’ve currently cycling around Asia with 20 kilos plus a bike. That’s my accomodation, transport, food, bicycle repair kit, clothes, camera and laptop. every item I own is essential and I have a lot more than 15 to be independent. If I had any less items it wouldn’t be more sustainable, I’d just be putting the ecological cost of cooking into someone else’s carbon footprint and if I wasn’t cooking my own food I wouldn’t be able to get fresh ingredients with no packaging. Theres no need to have only 15 items so long as you only have what you need.

  15. kiltswagger says:

    I like the premise but need more info. Where does he sleep? Eat? Launder his few clothes? Does he have income? From what source? I’d love to simplify but I’m no Mother Theresa (she owned 2 outfits and her Bible.)

  16. Everpresence says:

    It’s always been the same, throughout history—those who jettison the false, the superflous, the destructive aspects from their lives… are thenceforth ostracized, vilified, and often crucified by the teeming herds who rely upon their allegedly sophisticated yet vapid superficial social identities, material acquisitions, snide commentaries, and collection of unconscious conditioned insipid conformist “values.” Give the man an A+ for having set his sights on a lifestyle that doesn’t whole-heartedly co-operate with or contribute to the mindless headlong rush toward global destruction.

  17. y2k_mad_hatter says:

    Everpresence, there would be no hotels or people’s couches to crash on if we all adopt this philosopy. It will be back to the caves / tress for us and we will be killing each other and animals to survive again. The choice is civilisation or roaming nomadic populations. He is just freeloading kindly.

  18. msmax says:

    What an inspiration!

  19. Tillietoo2 says:

    Good for him, but I being a senior lady would not be able to even close this. Possibly a person of talent in this field to help me pare down to less . I ahve a one bedroom sr. apt, small & a full storage with the rest of my things. I will not throw away my lifes memories that help me remember ths happier times !!!!

  20. Everpresence says:

    @ Tillietoo2: Merely being a ‘senior lady’ is not necessarily reason enough to prevent one from living extremely simply, if that happens to be the way of one’s sweetest way of one’s heart-guidance. Peace Pilgrim began walking across country when she was (in her 60′s? 70′s?), and all she carried was a few items in the pocket of her sweatshirt. She didn’t bother using money; she lived on a very substantial faith. She was known to say, “You can’t give me anything I don’t need.” She said, “I walk until given shelter, I fast until offered food.” All of our logic- and fear-tinged excuses are overcome by the experience of the inner divine awakening. [Google search: Peace Pilgrim]
    @ y2k_mad_hatter: Again, to paraphrase Einstein, ‘Great and free spirits have always met with vehement opposition from those of sheeple and slave mindset.’ Those who still live by a degree of slavish unconsciousness cannot stand to gaze upon nor tolerate those who live free of the mess of fears that rule the general herd. Why does the enslaved ego feel a need to pull down those whose consciousness has attained to life by higher laws? Why denigrate them…when you have the option to laud them, and thereby to uplift and liberate your own consciousness.

  21. European says:

    I definitely have got the same tendency in me, wishing to reduce stuff to a minimum. It hits me when I get desperate about the immense time loss of having to sort it all the time. Usually, I then end up getting rid of many clothes, but they do tend to creep back in, which can be invigorating, though. Giving away books is a different matter. I expected a liberation from giving them away in stacks, but what followed? Empty shelves for quite a while… Lol…

  22. 216stitches says:

    Yelling “inspired!” as I run to closet.

  23. Imiel Visser (@imiel_visser) says:

    So what happens when his washing takes two days?

  24. shanky0o says:

    Wait, why do you need to show off the brands on all the stuff.

    Pardon me, for I’m not a US resident and hence unfamiliar with most of these names. Do they all provide affordable, long lasting and ecological products? Or is this just promoting another form of consumerism.

  25. tabaleao says:

    He doesn’t own higiene products? stuff to cook?. not buying.
    and always wearing the same clothes he must smell really well :S

  26. boolfrog says:

    but this guy doesn’t LIVE anywhere…!..he uses other people’s things…pots and pans..etc etc…

  27. ruthieb says:

    What does he wear when his jeans are being washed?

  28. SavageBuick says:

    I see an ipod, headphones and a few other things not listed on the 20 items list.

  29. Sandeshells says:

    Reminded me of when I used to hitch the country, me and my back pack and Earth shoes. My back pack was bigger and had more things but understand the freedom that it brings… I miss those days. It did get old after awhile and wanted a place to call home. I didn’t see a journal in your items, the one thing I regret was writing down where I went and who I met. Best of luck to you. Sandy

  30. lixoarte (@lixoarte) says:

    Thats a lot of half-full laundry loads, maybe more than the average person.

  31. daveskin says:

    ‘It’s always been the same, throughout history—those who jettison the false, the superflous, the destructive aspects from their lives… are thenceforth ostracized, vilified, and often crucified by the teeming herds who rely upon their allegedly sophisticated yet vapid superficial social identities, material acquisitions, snide commentaries, and collection of unconscious conditioned insipid conformist “values.” Give the man an A+ for having set his sights on a lifestyle that doesn’t whole-heartedly co-operate with or contribute to the mindless headlong rush toward global destruction.’

    @Everpresence – The dude’s got a macbook and an iPhone.

  32. lisaarts says:

    I have to say that I wonder how he deals with climate changes? I live in Toronto, and our weather is pretty close to NY. I need at least a decent winter coat, boots, scarf, and mittens to get through the winters, but also shorts, tank top, sandals for the summer, and then all the clothing for the “in between” seasons, like regular shoes and light jacket. Those items alone for me added up to 9- and that’s not adding in a bunch of basic clothing items like a single pair of jeans, one or two tops, etc. And that’s just clothing- there are also things like plates, cups, etc. It’s not that I don’t buy it- maybe the guy is immune to the extreme cold, and maybe we have it worse here in Toronto- but I would have literally died this past winter if I didn’t have my winter coat and accessories!!! It was so cold!!! Was he just wearing ALL of his clothes to survive it- every day??

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