Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness

Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.


Watch the TED talk, listen carefully and answer the questions below:


Comprehension Questions


  1. What has happened to our happiness levels in the last 50 years?


  1. What does less stuff and less space equal?


  1. What was the name of the project he started?


  1. How many square feet was the place he bought?


  1. What do we need to make room for?



Gap – fill


Watch the video again from 03:30 to 03:58 and fill in the blanks:


Secondly, our new (6) _______ : small is sexy. We want space efficiency. We want things that are designed for how they’re used the vast (7) _________ of the time, not that rare event. Why have a six (8) ________ stove when you rarely use three? So we want things that nest, we want things that stack, and we (9) ________ it digitised. You can take paperwork, books, movies, and you can make it (10) __________ — it’s magic.



True or False?


Listen to the material again and answer true or false to the following statements:


  1. He started Life Edited to help the environment.


  1. He is saving 200 thousand dollars.


  1. He threw away the shirt he hadn’t worn in ages.


  1. His coffee table seats 12 people.


  1. He thinks that less equals more.





  1. they have flatlined
  2. a smaller footprint
  3. Life Edited
  4. 420 square feet
  5. the good stuff
  6. mantra
  7. majority
  8. burner
  9. want
  10. disappear
  11. (F) he started it to further the idea of downsizing
  12. (T)
  13. (T)

14 (F) it seats 10 people

  1. (T)

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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