Cult of less

Mr Sutton is the founder of, a website which has helped him sell or give away his possessions – apart from his laptop, an iPad, an Amazon Kindle, two external hard drives, a “few” articles of clothing and bed sheets for a mattress that was left in his newly rented apartment.

This 21st-Century minimalist says he got rid of much of his clutter because he felt the ever-increasing number of available digital goods have provided adequate replacements for his former physical possessions.

[ … ]

The tech-savvy Los Angeles “transplant” credits his external hard drives and online services like iTunes, Hulu, Flickr, Facebook, Skype and Google Maps for allowing him to lead a minimalist life.

via Cult of less: Living out of a hard drive – BBC News (Link added by me. ‘Mr BBC’ is funny about inline links for some reason.)

I’m really conflicted about stuff like this. I would love to de-clutter my life and live out of a backpack in a minimalist apartment, but in reality I’m a magnet for clutter. I don’t know where I would be without bookshelves, piles of magazines and boxes of toys and gadgets.


4 thoughts on “Cult of less

  1. This reminds me of Dave Bruno’s 100 Things Challenge. You can guess the premise of Bruno’s challenge, but the implementation is fantastic.There is much on his site about how he chose the items on his list and–most importantly–what constitutes an ‘item’ on the list.I could never get rid of my book collection and even attempting to do so in the name of “minimalism” would be absurd. Bruno gets over this by neatly storing his books in a nice bookcase and having item three on his list as: “Library (300 books)”. Much better.Time ran an article on the challenge which may also be worth your time if you’re interested.I could write about this for hours (especially on the topic of books, ebooks and memorabilia), but I won’t.

  2. I’m actually re-jigging a talk I gave at Ignite last year about this. I’ll be doing it at Green Man Festival on Saturday so this is all useful! The more I look into it, the more it’s clear that the majority of our physical posessions drag us down. The Buddhists are right in their approach to it, and practice a contentment with what they have. Everything you own needs to be stored, cleaned, maintained… and that doesn’t even address the environmental, ethical and moral issues to do with the manufacture of whatever it is that you own.I’m not necessarily advocating the lifestyle of Mark Boyle*, but I am consciously trying to simplify my life by getting rid of lots of stuff.*

  3. I just realised how funny it is that ‘Mr Cult of Less’ has kept three electronic devices with a significant overlap. I’m sure you don’t need an iPad AND a Kindle. Not really.@fakelvis: I also thought is was amusing that the Chicago woman in the Time article decided to count all her shoes as one item. Seems like a big cheat to me. :)@Neil: Yeah, I don’t think the Mark Boyle approach is for me! I do feel the drag of my possessions though, very much. I think I’m going to take a sensible middle-road and attempt to reduce, reuse, recycle and resist the temptation to buy crap.

  4. Yeah, agree with your approach! A useful trick is “1 item in, 2 items out”, so you’re always making a net reduction in the amount of crap you have.

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