Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Adventures in Extreme Minimalism

A couple weeks ago, we revisited Peter Lawrence, a man who lives with what would charitably be called a paucity of possessions. In certain ways, Rob Greenfield makes Lawrence look like a hoarder. Greenfield lives in a 50 sq ft “house” and what few possessions he has can stuffed on a bike trailer. On his website, Greenfield says he “is an American adventurer, environmental activist, and entrepreneur on a mission to entertain, educate, inspire, and give back to the world. He is teaching others about the issues associated with food, energy, water, waste, transportation, and health by displaying his style of living to the world. He is leading them towards a greater sense of happiness and freedom.” Sound good to us.

Like many who have fairly extreme-lifestyles, the mostly-nomadic, veggie-eating, non-showering, vasectomied Greenfield is a convert. From childhood to early adulthood, he says he used stuff to boost his sense of self-worth; first it was Beanie Babies then later cars and even a boat. He also writes that his life up until recently prioritized “binge drinking every weekend, looking good, and macking on pretty much every good looking girl I saw.”

Then in 2011, he says he got educated. Though he doesn’t specify what that education was, I suspect it had to do with his environmental impact on the planet. He thereafter “gave up on restrictive social norms and stigmas and embarked down a path of living for the benefit of the earth, my community, and myself.”


There’s too much on Greenfield’s site do justice to his iconoclastic lifestyle. He’s at once a free-spirited hippy, biking across country in bare feet, dumpster-diving and doing good deeds; he is also a hyper-organized type A personality, publishing a detailed list of life-goals with status reports, writing a blog, producing Youtube videos and running his own online marketing firm, of which he gives 90% of the profits to environmental causes.

His last couple life events include getting rid of his cell phone (his last bill) and buying an off-grid tiny house in San Diego (more of a sleeping shed), where he plans to grow his own food and take the home completely off-grid.

On this site we often feature experimental architecture and products. Often, their main function is to show what’s possible, not present an exact model for places we will live in or products we will use. Greenfield, in many ways, presents an experimental life. Very few are setup to come and go as he does (though he’d probably argue that that’s a choice), but he shows what’s possible–how we can all simplify our lives, live with less stuff, reduce our environmental impact and (most important) be happier and more useful in the process.

Hat tip to Adolfo Mercado Solano

  • Chris

    I think it’s great to see people who are taking their simple life beyond one that I think that I can achieve. I’m going to be subscribing to his You Tube channel to see how he progresses and if there are any ideas that I can adapt to my own life.

    Over the last 4-5 years I’ve been slowly reducing the size of my home and possessions. From 1,200 to 900 to 600 and, by June 2015, to 400. I’m not sure that anything below 400 makes sense for me and my life. Of course, that could change. 🙂

    Each step down, I found surprisingly easy. The one down to 400 is proving to be a lot tougher. I really like everything I have left and it’s not as easy to eliminate stuff. I’ll get there and I’ll be left with the stuff that brings real joy into my life.

  • Rob Greenfield

    Thanks for sharing guys. Happiness, health, and freedom to all!

  • Ani

    This is pretty cool. I went to his website and I really like what he’s talking about. Was a bit shocked by all the flights he’s taken- but glad he’s being upfront with that, and taking some positive steps to offset the CO2. The dumpster diving section is amazing; made me start thinking about what might be happening where I live, although I know that there are a lot of food donations given to food shelves, etc. here. But I might have to wander over some day and take a peak……

  • IIlI

    really loved the video and his tiny house