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James Altucher


If You Could Only Own 10 Things.

In 2015 there was a point when my lease was up on an apartment and I didn't want to rent anymore. In NYC it's such a hassle to find a place to rent and fill out all the paperwork.

So I went to California for a week and I asked a friend of mine to come to my apartment and throw everything out. No sentimentality. Throw out EVERYTHING. Specifically, with each item she could: throw it out, keep it, sell it, give it someone else.

She and her family brought two trucks and spent the entire week throwing out my stuff. I never went back to that apartment again.

When I arrived back in NYC all I had was my carryon bag I took with me on my trip. And I started living in AIrbnbs only. I did this for several years.

If I bought anything, I had to remove one item from my bag. I stayed very disciplined on this.

Here are the things I had in my bag.

    1. Iphone

    The Iphone included the Kindle App and that's how I read all my books.

    2. Laptop

    I did all my work on this laptop.

    3. 2-3 button down shirts and pants

    Note: I'm not counting other clothes. When I arrived at an airbnb I would first go to a CVS where you could buy 3 t-shirts for $14, toothpaste, and socks. So I didn't really consider these items I owned. Every airbnb I moved to (every 3-4 days in most cases) I'd just go to the drugstore and get these items and use them until I moved.

    4. Some $2 bills

    I always like to have two dollar bills for tipping.

    I'd go to the bank and ask them to order 1000 $2 bills from the Federal Reserve

    5. And...I think that's it.

    Some of the things I threw out included: photo albums, my comic book collection, all my books, all clothes, plates, tools, furniture, etc.

    6. I'm trying really hard to think if I had ten items

    I guess if you count each outfit as separate I did.

    7. Here's a NY Times article about this time in my life


    8. Eventually I stopped

    I was spending a lot of time in the Upper West Side of Manhattan because I was doing standup comedy there and owned half of a comedy club there.

    But there were no Airbnbs.

    A friend of mine suggested I rent again. "It's getting weird," she told me.

    So I rented a nice apartment. Another friend of mine helped me get basic basic furniture. Totally minimalist. As few things as possible.

    And then I got married.

    Now I have TOO MUCH STUFF.

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