Lending Club Blog

Do You Have Too Much Stuff? Try the Suitcase Test.

Americans are famous for acquiring lots of material possessions, and I’m sure you’ve heard the quote that “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Obviously this isn’t true, but people continue to rack up possessions whenever they can. It’s not a complete surprise when American shoppers trample each other for discounts on consumer electronics. But if we can’t take it all with us, what’s the point?

I’ve been traveling for the last year, and I discovered that I didn’t really need that much: basically, everything I could fit into a couple of suitcases was sufficient for over a year of traveling. What did I bring?

  • A few pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • A few T-shirts/long-sleeve shirts
  • A few important books
  • My guitar

Even then, I realized I don’t need everything I brought with me. I brought less clothing on my second adventure (to Argentina, where I am currently), and I am buying them here. It saves me money (I don’t have to check in as many bags) and it makes traveling much cheaper.

Trent at TheSimpleDollar had a similar idea: he wrote an article about The Suitcase Test. The Suitcase Test is essentially this: if you had to pack up and leave tomorrow, what would you bring with you? What are the most important things to your survival?

If you are about to buy some items, think: how much do you need it? If you wouldn’t put it in your suitcase, do you really need it?

The best way not to overspend is to only buy things that you absolutely need. The Suitcase Test is a good framework to help you see what you really need.

Do you have similar strategies for limiting the number of things you buy or accumulate?

Saturday, January 17th, 2009 at 6:42 am

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