Man embraces minimalism and reduces his possessions to just 44 things

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

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



Rob Greenfield, 35, has reduced his business to just 44 items.

He didn’t always take such a minimalist approach, instead having a makeover of his life in 2011.



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

This release gave Rob the minimalist bug, and he kept repeating the process.



In 2015, he ditched his car and swapped a three-bedroom apartment for a tiny house in San Diego that was just 50 square feet.

He reduced his stuff to just 44 items that could fit in a backpack (Photo: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

After a year there, Rob, who previously owned a digital marketing company, was prompted to reduce his possessions, reducing his possessions to 111 items that he could store in a backpack.



After a year of traveling with these limited supplies, he returned to Orlando and built another small house for himself for $ 13,000, using 99% second-hand materials.

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

“During my downsizing years, I discovered that material possessions don’t create long-term happiness or fulfillment for me – that’s why I live the way I do,” Rob said.

After some time in tiny houses, Rob hit the road (Photo: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

“The more I listened to these companies telling me I needed all of this, the more I worked to make more money.

“I would use the money to buy a bunch of goods to prove my worth and my worth to society when I should have valued myself on who I really am.

“Giving up my cell phone was the hardest thing to do because it was my form of communicating with people – I didn’t know if I would be able to function without it.

“Before I committed to ditching my phone, I practiced locking it in my drawer for a month to make sure I could do without it.

“My most valuable item of the 44 things I owned at the time was my Gandhi postcard, which I used as a bookmark.

He wants to get the message across to consume less (Photo: Ornella Le Rouzic / SWNS)

“I got a lot of my inspiration from leading by example and it’s something I’ve tried to do for a lot of my life.

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

“When I was camping I would bathe in rivers and lakes and cook my meals over a campfire which was a great way to connect with nature and the land around us.”

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


Rob’s belongings:

  • five shirts
  • two shorts
  • two pairs of underpants
  • a pair of socks, a sweater
  • a pair of sandals
  • a clothes bag
  • a toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • soap
  • Nail clippers
  • silk
  • lavender to relax
  • body moisturizer
  • Solar cream
  • earplugs
  • a hair clipper
  • the scissors
  • a backpack
  • a reusable bag for shopping
  • a day pack
  • a pot
  • spoon
  • a water bottle
  • a tea strainer
  • a refillable loose tea bag
  • a laptop
  • pen
  • portable
  • laptop sticker
  • charger
  • listeners
  • delivered
  • bookmark
  • his passport
  • birth certificate
  • cash in an envelope because he has no bank account or credit card.

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

“One day I dream of owning nothing, but now for me to have the best possible impact on the world, owning more possessions is essential,” he explained.

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

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

Rob now runs a nonprofit Regeneration Equity and Justice.

It aims to bring sustainable lifestyles to people around the world and inspire them to make small changes in their lives that make a big difference.

He previously spent a month wearing a costume made of garbage, so he’s very determined to get the word out.

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Contact us by email MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.

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