Defining the word “universe” as “all the things” does not totally make sense, since the meaning of “all” is relative to a place. Without a context such as “all things in this house“, the word “all” is meaningless. To be meaningful, you have to specify what the word “all” is with respect to.
Instead of “all the things“, we can define “universe” as
universe = all the things observable by an observer, directly or indirectly, in practice or in principle, plus the observer itself
2012.12.24 Monday (c) All rights reserved by ACHK