Cult of Less

Think about all of your belongings. Those sweaters you never wear that are too small or too big, those candlesticks covered in dust tucked away in a cabinet that you never open. Those kitchen plates way in the back that you say you're going to use every year for Christmas, but never get to.

Now imagine finding a way to fit all of those things, on top of the items that you use daily, into two boxes and two suitcases, and hitting the road.

You may find it absurd, you may find it intriguing, and you may find the concept humorous. My life into 4 movable items? Few of us could do that no matter how many hands we had helping zip up the suitcase while we sat on top of it.

But now think about the freedom you would be allotted. A trip to the post office to mail some boxes and a check in of luggage and you could bring your life with you wherever you decided.

Kelly Sutton, founder of the Cult of Less, did just this: he condensed his belongings into two bags and two boxes to eliminate the clutter from his life.

This project was inspired by his summer trip to Europe when he left boxes of belongings at his friend's house. Upon his return he couldn't even remember what was in all of those boxes.

"If I couldn't remember what I had left, and had lived without it for almost half a year, I figured it was not worth keeping," said Sutton.

From encouraging emails to negative online criticism, Sutton has had an earful of responses to his movement.

"My family thinks it's crazy, my friends think it's weird, but some have started themselves," he said.

Sutton created a website to document his journey in attempts to answer the begging question: is it possible to own nothing? Each possession he owns is catalogued on his site at

To begin the project he painstakingly recorded each of his possessions and listed them on his website, from his car to his green Nordstrom shirt, designating them as keep, sell or donate. He did all this in efforts to make a clean sweep, to quickly rid himself of life's clutter, and made a point to keep in mind what the future would realistically hold for each item during his purging.

"You can rationalize, ‘I can use this in the future' for anything. In order to make progress you must think, ‘When is the last time I have used this?'" said Sutton. "If you continue to rationalize, keeping unnecessary things begins to appear quite necessary."

Melanie Pal, first year Santa Monica College student laughed and said, "I wouldn't be able to do it, I hold on to everything."

On the contrary, SMC student, Netanya Light said, "I could do it, it would be hard, but I get the point in it."

Light believes our society is concerned with getting more, getting bigger and better. "I live in it, I like it, but then I step back and think, ‘Do I really need this?'" she said. "You could live with less and still be happy."

Pal is concerned our society is going too far.

"Kids focus more on image," she said. "It is their main concern when they walk out of the house in the morning."

Two suitcases, two boxes, endless opportunity.