About the 100 Thing Challenge

The 100 Thing Challenge (100TC) has been a way to personalize my efforts to fight American-style consumerism and live a life of simplicity, characterized by joyfulness and thoughtfulness. That said, a lot of other people are participating, too. Thanks! Keep up the good work.

100TC is about creating better relationships of all kinds through the formative power of simplicity.

The goal of the 100 Thing Challenge is to break free from the confining habits of excessive consumerism. A lot of people around the world feel “stuck in stuff.” They feel like their closets and garages are too full of things that do not really make their lives much better. But how to get unstuck?

Reduce (some stuff)

Refuse (more new stuff)

Rejigger (life priorities)

I totally believe that living without an abundance of personal possessions for an extended period of time is the first step we ought to take in order to realize that we do not need ever-more stuff.

If you do this — if you will give up your stuff for a while — I am sure you will never go back. You will spend the rest of your life creating a more valuable life, instead of wasting your money and time on too much stuff. You will be glad. And best of all, the people around you will be blessed by your efforts to prioritize more meaningful pursuits.

352 Responses
  • Green Plan(t) Reply

    I hope you don’t mind, but I swiped your banner for the 100 Thing Challenge and put it in my sidebar with a link.
    Looking forward to seeing more here. :)

  • Ezra Hilyer Reply

    Hey, I admire your efforts, I have been doing much the same for a few years now, I keep trying to par things down, (not nearly to your goal of 100 things though)
    It sure is tough to go shopping only to replace that shich you already have, and to try your best to resist that one more gadget that you know you don’t really need!!
    -Ezra
    http://www.straypoetry.com

  • Rev. Antonio Hernandez Reply

    Greetings
    Hopefully my introductory page with TypeKey will suffice.
    The “Time” article was fascinating to read. This is truly a remarkable movement, one that will blossom beautifully for this country.
    You know, the ancient Buddhist Law of Possessions (I’m eliminating any Sanskrit words) allowed us only EIGHT. Yes, 8 possessions:
    1. 3 sets of Civara- Buddhist religious habit robes which actually consist of a tunic, a long kilt, a sash/belt, and underwear. It was like pulling teeth to get the Buddha to agree to underwear.
    2. Begging bowl. They were gigantic.
    3. Razor (no better way to be bald).
    4. Needle (including needle-case).
    5. Thread. Can’t wear hole-y robes.
    6. Mala (the original rosary we borrowed from the Hindu Brahmins).
    7. Shoulder bag to carry our staggering amount of stuff.
    8. This one varies. Some lists say walking staff. Others say parasol, fly-whisk, some weird conch shell for God-knows-what, etc.
    Today we are allowed many times 8 possessions, because that is the way of life. I’ve seen monks in Tibet with huge gold watches (His Holiness the Dalai Lama likes them and fixes them too).
    I’ve seen priests wearing rings and layers of silk robes that cost more than the pope’s things. Fancy glasses, shoes and even jewelry is making an entrance into the priest’s humble belongings.
    Yet we are constantly striving to let go that which we fear to lose. All my life I’ve done the entire clean-house routine, and have donated or had to throw away tens of thousands of dollars worth of items. NEVER do we ditch something when we can give it away– family heirlooms, for example, should be given to the loved one while we live.
    My auntie says the dead take nothing with them, but they also leave nothing.
    Albert Einstein was asked by a reporter what his favorite possessions were. Einstein was no materialist, and was a minimalist in life. Without hesitation he replied that he loved his violin, fountain pen, wristwatch and leather jacket (all birthday gifts, most from his 2nd wife).
    You’ve re-started an ancient tradition, and I think it’s possible that THIS is what churches mean by the term “tithe”. Give what you can, what you have. And I recall Jesus quoted as saying if someone asks for your coat, give him your tunic as well.
    Keep doing good work. I know I will, and you have recharged my enthusiasm!

  • Seth Reply

    Nice to find someone else doing this as well. I just recently had the same epiphany and blogged about it
    http://www.sethsblog.com/lightening-the-load
    I didn’t actually think to count what I have and set a goal although I think that’s a project I’m going to look into.
    Take it easy.

  • Hollz Reply

    Wow, Congratulations! i could NEVER get down to 100 items, even if i could cure my shopping addiction. I don’t think i could get down to under 100 items of clothing.
    Best of Luck

  • travis Reply

    he didn’t list underwear. Does this guy just go commando, or does that not count as a possession?

  • SR Reply

    Do you own no books?! I’m sure I could never get down to fewer than 100 books, even :)

  • Dave Bruno Reply

    Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be updating the list often, though our family is preparing for a camping trip soon, so I might be distracted for a few days.

  • Y. Lou H. B. Reply

    So… This is interesting. I counted the things I live with. There are currently 356 of them (of which only about half belong to me, the rest is the landlord’s). And I live well. And I am quite wealthy, to boot. But I am sick with this “buy-all-the-crap-you-don’t-need” society. I am not thrifty, just a good “conservative”.
    However, my wife (who still lives in the US, while I live in Zurich, Switzerland. Yeah, we’re sort of career-oriented), is a natural compulsive hoarder. She just can’t help it. It’s also a matter of upbringing. I was raised in a poor family from the boonies of France, while she was raised in a rather well-off Michigan family. Unlike her, I learned from a young age to content myself with little.
    Next month, I’ll be spending 6 weeks at our house in Michigan, and I know I’m going to purge much of the shit she has recently bought (e.g. a grab bag of 100 paint brushes in various sizes, a 4th vacuum cleaner, a 17th leash for our 5 dogs, etc…).
    Anyway. The world needs to change or it will perish. We must return to a simpler lifestyle. I’m lucky to live in Europe right now, and I can buy most of my food directly from nearby farmers*. I hardly ever set foot in the tantalizing grocery stores.
    Yet, I think I can do better. In a few years, once I have set aside enough money to live the rest of my life off of my savings, I will buy myself a small countryside house (most likely in Michigan). I’ll produce my own meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy, etc… I will sleep at night and work during the day. We will live off of love and fresh water.
    The hardest part will be to convince my wife. I’ll have to work her out in less than 10 years. Definitely before we turn 40.
    What about my relatives abroad? Simple. When they want to see me, they’ll have to travel to Michigan. Man, I’m going to be so happy!!
    Lou
    * you may find that hard to believe, but it’s true. 20 minutes by bike from my apartment, there’s many small farms behind the hills surrounding Z√ºrich. For example, I go every other day to get my milk *directly from the cows*. I even get to milk them myself, just like when I was a kid. It’s sheer pleasure.

  • Debbie Reply

    This has become my new hobby…letting go…it talks in the Bible…there is a time for everything…a time to let go and a time to hold on…a time to laugh and a time to cry…this is one of those important “times” in our lives. Nothing is forever as it once was.

  • c Reply

    I’m going to try and join you on this and I’ve got to say, I’m really glad socks and underwear are grouped! Good choice on dealing with books too. I appreciate the compromises you’ve made without destroying the original intent. I don’t have much to begin with so I think its going to be easier for me. Good luck!

  • NOgirl Reply

    Has anyone done this? Is there a photo? Id love to see what 100 look like; I sea 10000 every direction in my home. Not visuable (word?). No.
    Photos please!!

  • Dave Bruno Reply

    Pictures are coming…

  • Miguel Reply

    Inspiring. The other challenge for purifying the mind is to live in a 10 sq m hut [10'x10' or 100 sq ft]. Then all 100 items in there would make you want to pare down even further. It seems hard to imagine, but if we could, we can see how peaceful it would be compared to what we normally do – hmmm ??? Why do we do this, anyway?!?
    Thanks for bringing us to a modern day Walden Pond.

  • karen menegay Reply

    good job!it sure makes you stop and think what is really important.thnx

  • Kelsey Reply

    I am getting married in one week and I am inspired! I’ve been thinking more and more about clearing things out, reducing down to the things my fiance and I use daily or at least nearly daily.
    It’s time!
    Thank you for chronicling your progress – I needed a little kick in the butt to get going. :)

  • Clark666son Reply

    I am having some of the same issues you are, I play in a band as well as doing magic semi-professionally.
    I own 10 guitars and 4 amps–yikes!
    and as far as performing magic I have like– 100 decks of cards.
    Dumping my excess clothes, extra computer and all that unused kitchen crap was easy but getting down to 100 things? gonna be rough.

  • erin Reply

    i am in ~ at least i am sort of in ~ i am going to do the “if i have not used it for a year get rid of it” first. getting down to 100 things seems overwhelming. so i will start here. i have been talking about this for forever this has challenged me to just do it, dang it!

  • Socio GaGa Reply

    Found this blog post via a del.icio.us link to Time… Hopefully your 100 Thing Challenge, will at least make some people think. Our current age of materialism for materialism’s sake is quite sick in our opinion. Thanks for the wake up call as to what’s “important” and what “isn’t”.

  • oxalus Reply

    Fuck yeah!! That’s impressive man!!
    So you say you prefer your ‘Dress’ clothing and going out to climb, or camp than eating??
    I can’t see a list with your kitchenware. And nor with yout toiletware.
    It seems very easy to you making a list with material goods, but it’s not so easy for me. Unless you just include those things that are not [[REALLY]] necessary, of course.
    So, your list could have 0 items, folk. Isn’t it?
    That or you’re just another fuckin’ hipocrite yankee.
    Bunch of greedy imperialists … Shame of you!

  • vicki sumner Reply

    I would just to say if more men would do what u r a-lot of homes would be cleaner. keep up the good work.

  • whatever Reply

    first i thought 100 things is not much, but now i’m reconsidering, and i’m comming to the conclusion i’m living with less things and anyway feeling decadent… so what’s the point of your “challenge”? to come out as a consume-addictive that wants to punish himself with one year of abstinence? …or what?
    anyhow, you’re right with your main point, but sorry, there’s too much useless stuff in your list

  • miche Reply

    I have wanted to declutter for years..it is so hard! When the clutter gets depressing, I shop for new things, which brings us more in debt, which is more depressing! What a cycle. Fortunately we live in a modest and small home that we love, which should encourage minimalist behavior. Unfortunately there is an equal size basement underneath the home that collects all of our stuff. I have felt controlled and overwhelmed by stuff for so long, I hope to find inspiration from your Challenge. I need to remember the fact that I have never regretted anything that I have given away. I don’t know where the “stuff” habit comes from, only that it’s bad and it leads to worse things. Wish me luck and good luck to you!

  • Barclee Huggins Reply

    I am going to do this. I am going to live off 100 things. This is one of the coolest ideas I have heard of in a long time, I have a lot more questions and comments…could you email me an email address I could reach you at to ask a few things? Thanks so much,
    Barclee
    P.S- I chuckled to myself when I saw a John Piper book in your “library”, this sounds like something he would do…. :)

  • Alex Reply

    We live this life.
    Few possessions beyond the necessities.
    Enough to take care of things.
    Nothing we don’t need.
    No frivolous purchases…
    We live on a small island in the Virgin Islands.
    Family of five living like swiss family Robinson.
    Not much is needed.
    So make sure what you do own is well made.
    I make an exception for some tools – they are tools – you use them to fix things. Not having tools so you can live minimally is incorrect. Use the tools so you don’t have to hire a plumber. Use tools. They let you repair your home.
    As to the trains. Keep them.
    They are not the things of your life, they are a piece of your history. Sequester them. Limit them. They may be cherished. You can keep things that you cherish, things that elevate your spirit…
    I also make an exception for the furniture my parents gave me… and things with special emotional content… You do not need to acquire MORE… but what is already there is OK to own.
    I make a similar exception for books – this is wisdom and history and knowledge… so that order of book is OK. But they don’t need to own you. You can donate a lot of books to the library and still have them and share them too.
    Come visit our islands sometime… life is very simple and little is needed to live on an island..
    Cut off form the malls and stores you quickly discover that you don’t need any of what they are trying to sell you…
    If you never go to the store, you never buy things….
    So the trick is to buy nothing..
    Alex Randall
    http://www.water-island.com
    alex@islands.vi

  • Rick Reply

    What about books – I’d give away everything else but them
    Rick

  • Juan Pablo Reply

    1. Nice try. I wish yu luck.
    2. The “emotional” attachments are to most important to let go :) Luc with that too (I guess you’ll find your way there soon)
    Saludos, y buena vida.

  • bvelasquez Reply

    I’m keeping my list of 100 things here at Kalisty:
    http://tinyurl.com/46d28b
    If I go over, I can prioritize and then start getting rid of the things not on the list. Right now, I’m only on 20 or so, but I’m missing a lot of clothes, books, and stuff. A long way to go to inventory. If I keep it to things I can’t live without, I can just chuck things not on the list.

  • Rik Hemsley Reply

    You may find it interesting to look at Michael Landy’s ‘Breakdown’, if you haven’t already. He destroyed everything he owned.

  • teachjim Reply

    Just read the article in TIME Mag. I admire you. Since January, I’ve taken it upon myself to get rid of at least six things a week. Not exactly down to 100 things (yet), but I’m getting there. Some weeks it was harder to get rid of stuff than others. Some weeks it was a lot more than six items, but every week, at least six items. Some friends have commented and they are trying to do the same – not six but at least they’ve picked a number and are working on getting rid of stuff.
    Keep up the great work!

  • kansas Reply

    Reading comment upon comment about where this is, where it comes from is an interesting discussion on who we are and what we have to live and die for (you can’t take it with you).
    Determining what matters most to us even on a day to day basis is a dramatic experience, an emotional experience. Recently here in Kansas I was given a 25 minute notice of a Tornado headed my direction. With my 2 hear old son in hand, late in the evening, I wondered around my home looking for my items that I should save. I have considered myself a minimalist for the past 15 years or more (thanks to the Department of the Army). If they didn’t issue it to you, you don’t need it.
    As I walked around my home I became upset that I didn’t have more time to decide. Realizing how foolish I had become, I realized how unprepared I am. Then, of course I was carrying the most important thing to me, my son.
    Reading through the 100 items on this blog, as stated, what about the personal hygiene items? I travel for work, staying in one place for 24 to 48 hrs then returning home so packing is important. I think I can get to 100 items. Infact I may be in the area of under 200 items right now. I have prided (grammer?) myself, for some reason, that I am able to place everything I personally own in my car.
    “The less you have, the less you have to worry about!” “97% of the items you have over a year but don’t use, you will never use!”
    As I have listened to my mother assist her coworker in clean up after a tornado demolished her home, we discuss…what is important?
    I understand family, making sure your safe along with loved ones. But what is really the 100 items you need to hold on to, in order to rebuild if something happens or is lost, stolen, taken from you by man or mother nature. I see the floods in Iowa, earthquakes in Japan, Monsoon’s and volcanoes. What can I take, what are my 100 items, given 15 min to load my car and get out.
    I take this seriously, knowing that I have witnessed a man lose his life, his family watching, as he returned into his burning home to retrieve his “cell phone”. Overcome by smoke he never made it out. Leaving a wife and 3 children left to rebuild on their own.
    What is important? What makes this 100 items important? I am not sure 100 is the perfect number when you start to get picky. But standing infront of my burned home I refuse to look into a TV camera and state “we have lost everything”.
    Does a passport count as one? Does my safe of tax returns, home owners papers, legal documents…is the safe counted as one?
    My views are expressed here with others words. It isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses is it? If it is, that’s not for me. It is about peace of mind, knowing what you have is what you can handle. What you have is taken care of, can be replaced with the finances you have. What you have is time, time spent on more important things…such as self, family and friends.
    I enjoy giving to Goodwill, donating to the DAV but most of all I enjoy knowing my home is easy to clean and keep picked up…meaning more time with my children, my wife and my neighbors.
    I wish each person that attempts to do something in this arena of self and minimalist type life. It isn’t easy all the time and it isn’t hard all the time either. 100 seems to be a challenging number and I believe it is, even after 15 years…and I count the toothbrush as one and my toothpaste as one also.
    Best of luck!
    Kansas

  • Dave Bruno Reply

    Thanks everyone for all the comments. Seriously, it is so refreshing to hear that many of us feel the same – the important things in life are not the “stuff” we get, but our family, friends, etc.
    @Kansas, what a story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lissa Boles Reply

    First, congrats on the impact you’re having – and on the article. Both say something meaningfully hopeful to me…
    In 2004 my husband and I felt called to simplify our lives and walk our ‘green’ talk, but didn’t really know how.
    Then, through a series of ‘coinciences’ we found and fell in love with a little cottage (500 sq ft) property on the south-west shores of Lake Huron. The cost was modest, and the deck and the view expansive and spacious.
    When we added it all up, there was just no denying how right it all felt. So we sold our 2700 sq ft suburban family (empty nest) home, and donated or sold almost 90% of the stuff we’d accumulated (except for the dog!)after living the typical North American family lifestyle for 20+ years.
    And when we relocated here to the Sunshine Coast, as we settled in we purged again. Amazing how we think we need what we really don’t…
    Even more amazing was how we felt when we were done. Free. I had no idea how owned we felt, or how burdened, by the need to buy, organize, tidy, store and maintain all that stuff – until it was mostly gone.
    Now most of what we have we love, use and need. And life is pretty darn good ‘without’. Better than life ‘with’.
    We’ve had the post-office stop the weekly ‘flyer run’ so we don’t even look anymore. And no more newspapers or cable TV. Just that media diet alone changed our buying/spending habits, and its easy to get whatever news you need online.
    We used to by a half-dozen new books a month, and so far this year we’ve bought less than that. We use the library instead, and borrow movies too: no rental fees.
    We work from home we so rarely drive more than once or twice a week, and then it’s usually the 6 mile round-trip into our local town, and into the ‘city’ just once every 8 weeks or so to visit family.
    We buy fewer clothes, and use the green dry cleaner just twice a year when we go into Toronto.
    We even turned off our printer in January and were stunned by how infrequently we actually needed to use it.
    In season, we buy most of our food from local farmers, either directly or at the weekly open-air market. We only eat out once every 10 days or so. It’s a radical difference – life before and life after – but so much easier than we thought it would be.
    Our kids think we’re a little nuts – and some friends are going in the opposite direction – but it just feels so much better to live this way.
    Having said that, I admire you Dave for paring things down without your family’s participation. A gutsy move of real character, and very cool.
    I look forward to hearing how it all goes, and how your family responds to how the 100 Thing Challenge affects your life.
    Lissa Boles

  • budding gardener Reply

    Fantastic idea! I’ve been working toward paring my possessions down for years. I have gotten to the point where all of my belongings can fit into a single room (with closet, of course), but I am sure I still have far more than 100 things. I am not sure that I will ever get down to that number, but I do like the idea of putting a firm goal on it.
    For those who have said they can’t get rid of their books – I’ve felt this way also, until I started spending time at my local library. I am fortunate enough to live near a great library system, and have decided that although I love books, I don’t need to hoard them to show that love. So I am going to get rid of 80% of my books, and donate a small amount to my library each month instead of buying books and dvds. I know it’s not for everyone (a lot of libraries don’t have the selections that mine does), but it’s something to consider.

  • Jurg Reply

    if you’re serious count in credit cards, insurance policies, bank accounts, memberships, email accounts etc… it’s possible to streamline and shed more than you think… and why limit yourself to just 12 months? this should become part of your life! good luck, jurg

  • Renata Reply

    I wish you good luck and I am sure that what you are doing is going to bless your life. All of us should live more like Jesus did… live a simple life and give more and more.
    We do not need even half of we own.
    I live in Brasil and I will pass your chalenge to my friends. This is a good inspiration to all of us.
    God Bless you.

  • anonymous Reply

    Great to know that there are people like me! I’ve been not buying new stuff and slowly getting rid of things that I haven’t touched in a year over the past few years and am amazed that I don’t miss anything that I got rid of. For me, counting the number of things isn’t that important, but it’s the idea of consuming the minimal amount of goods and resources possible to have a happy life.

  • tkech Reply

    Super story of getting control of your life and surroundings! The Time Magazine article mentioned a show I really miss: TLC’s “Clean Sweep” shows (with Peter Walsh especially) -I wish they were in syndication. They were my inspiration and mental *training* for winnowing and shedding boxes and boxes of things I’d not unpacked 3 years after moving. My parents were impressed!
    One of Peter’s trademark questions was about memorabilia from a beloved relative. “Is it honoring your grandfather stuck away down here in the basement?” Then he’d offer a way to showcase or feature the item in the living space.
    I confess if I had z-scale trains I’d keep them forever – I’ve seen only one set in my life and have a love for miniatures. Again, if they aren’t where you can see them and/or play with them, are you enjoying them? Thanks to “Clean Sweep” I got my prized collectibles out of boxes: they are now in a curved glass display case where I see them every day. I get a thrill and a smile just walking past it.
    I’ve started paring down my books (cheap bibliophile, only buy used paperbacks). I used to keep any books that I thought were “great”, but then realized I never re-read most of them. So those are going, and only the ones that I actually read again stay.
    It’s an ongoing process, you are doing great, and I’m glad that your thoughts are being shared with others who may be likewise yearning to simplify. Best of luck!

  • Ben Larson Reply

    I remember when I moved from The Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Texas. The guy who was packing my things just couldn’t get over how much “stuff” I had accumulated. I never really thought about it, but it has nagged at me for a good while. I am going to really give this some thought and see what I can do.

  • Carl Reply

    I really like that more people start to see the importance of getting rid of unnecessary stuff.
    Great stuff, Dave ! I have been doing this for 5 years now. Living out of one backpack and believe me, it works great. Especially, if u change location a lot…
    I will count my stuff this week, too. Great idea! I think I won’t even reach 40.
    Gonna keep track of your progress.

  • Kyra Kyles Reply

    Hi there! I’m working on a story for the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition about the 100-Thing Challenge and would love to hear from those who plan to try it. If you can, please e-mail me at kkyles@tribune.com. My deadline is Friday, June 20 and any interviews should be 15 minutes or less.
    Thanks!

  • Heather Reply

    You inspire me!

  • Bren Reply

    Wow…thank you for clarifying and naming a restless discontent I’ve been feeling for a long time. You really have started me down a new road, one that doesn’t lead to the mall when I’m stressed/depressed/bored. Guess this will be good for my checkbook too.
    Count me way in. Now, to see how big a “give-away” pile I can build…
    Thanks!!

  • Dave Bruno Reply

    @everyone-so-far Thanks for all the kind words! You all are inspiring me. Keep challenging stuff!

  • budding gardener Reply

    I’ve been thinking about this all week, and decided to give it a shot. This morning I started working on my own list – yee gods, I have a lot of stuff. Most of it is in storage (I just moved cross country and am staying with family for a couple of months), and I am seriously tempted to just take all that stuff to goodwill. I haven’t used it in at least two months already (I spent nearly a month traveling, and another month having and then recovering from surgery). Amazing what we can do without, at least temporarily.
    I can definitely tell that taking this challenge seriously is going to require a lot of work over time.

  • Kelly Reply

    Well, I appreciate your sentiment, but I have to say I am disappointed. You seem to only be getting rid of some clothes and recreational gear? But you are making exceptions for model trains and tools and books and all household goods? Do you know how many “things” fall into your household goods pile? My guess is a lot: a bottle of 409, ten area rugs, eight sets of bed sheets, two televisions, seventy-five plastic toys, thirty-eight Tupperware contains, four bar stools, bedside table, three cordless telephones, and on, and on, and on. You are going to live the year with the comfort of thousands of things.

  • Dave Bruno Reply

    @Kelly
    Thanks for the comment. A couple of things. First this is a “personal” challenge, not a household challenge. It’s not like I’m going to carry around one glass to work and restaurants and around the house to drink out of. I’m more worried about “my” stuff and what it does to my attitude. You’ve got a valid point, though I still think most Americans would have trouble with only 100 personal things. So I’m trying it out.
    Second, no 409, no area rugs, no television, and lots more “no”. We have really tired to limit what we have. That said, the 100 Thing Challenge is not about “comfort” – I’m not sure there is a ton of value in denying oneself comfort as an end in itself. Some denial is good. But the 100 Thing Challenge is about an attitude shift – no longer being a “consumer”.
    Anyway, I think my little effort might help in some ways toward that end.

  • Dawn Reply

    Saturday, June 21, 2008
    100 Thing Challenge!
    Ok so if you notice on my favorite Blogs list over there you’ll see a blog by a guy who has the 100 thing challenge on it….
    Read it! Go on, I’ll wait. Well, not wait really, but my post will make more sense to you if you do!
    I LOVE THIS GUY’S CHALLENGE!
    In this day and age of excess, waste, consumerism and bankruptcy, it is not a completely insane idea to take stock of what I own and why I own what I own! When I look at the state of affiars in our wonderful USA, it is not hard to conceive that we as Americans have forgotten how to be frugal, to be thrifty, to care for what we own and how to save MONEY! We’re all drowning in debt–and for what???? Not to live in modest homes that fit our needs, or to drive sensible cars or provide for our basic needs or even to invest in our talents—but to KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’–(no offense Nannette Jones!lol).
    Seriously, this guys’ idea of paring down his personal things by the end of August really has my attention. I think I want to join his challenge and take it on myself. No kidding. I have more than enough stuff–stuff I don’t use, stuff I am holding onto for who-knows-why or how long, stuff that doesn’t enhance my life in the least bit and definetely doesn’t define who I am Today.
    That really is the gist of the whole thing: to let go of the past. Toss out my skinny jeans! Give away those Navy blue dress shoes that I bought in 1999 because they were on sale and looked cute with that one skirt I had that I no longer wear. And since we are in the process of Moving back to Colorado this summer, I see this as my Prime opportunity to do some serious purging!
    And while I am at this, I’m building steam to do the same this for my kids. My husband on the other hand is gonna be alot tougher. He has milk bottles from his late granparents dairy ranch in Montana, among other momentos that are hard to part with and somehow reminds him of his “roots”–howbeit that he only looks at those milk bottles when we have moved…that would be 3 times in 10 years…and for a period of about 5 minutes total each time. But no, those can’t go.
    So I will have the JOY of simplifying my life by truly accepting the challenge. I decided tho, that I will twist the challenge MY way: I will give away or sell 100 things FIRST before I decide which 100 things I need to keep. You know, knock out the “known” unwanteds before selecting the keepers.
    I CHALLENGE YOU ALL to follow suit! And to be wise during this process! Start saving more by using your money not to buy “happiness” but to secure your future. If Americans stopped buying so much “crap”, I doubt we’d be in the financial chaos we find ourselves in right now!
    I know for a fact that since my husband has been out of work nearly a year that we have been able to live on 1/4 of what he used to make! I admit with some degree of embarassment, that I now realize how much money I wasted! Even if everything I did buy was ON SALE or Clearance–I could have been so much thriftier and wiser!
    So, that’s it. That’s my take on the 100 THING CHALLENGE! Let me know if anyone else is on board with it too!

  • Beverly Reply

    Interesting concept. I’ve already denuded my closet, dresser and home office. I think I’ll finish declutering first as I’m working on the list of 100 things to keep. Since I have 125 linear feet of books, I’ll happily keep books as one item (keeping in mind I’ve already donated over 2000 books to local libraries). Should I count the cats’ litter box and perches as my items? Depends on long my list is!

  • Pierpaolo Schirone Reply

    I am an italian boy that has read your “mission” against consumerism.
    You’re a GREAT!
    I’ll follow your exploit!

  • Wil Reply

    Ola, do you need a great Book.
    Divina Commedia, in Original Language. You have the time to learn italian…
    Greatings from UD
    http://nonleggerlo.blogspot.com/

  • towardsasimplelife Reply

    this is really reassuring and inspiring! I sometimes think that I am out of step for wanting to simplify my life, what impresses me is that you are doing this in an ordinairy family environment, not living alone.

  • bailey Reply

    Found your blog from Unclutterer.com, I like the direction you are headed in, it seems like a cleansing experience. Are you interested in getting rid of your longboard? I’m a new surfer and looking for a board : )

  • pietro Reply

    I’ve to replace my reliable 5D for something bigger soon, so if you’re interested, man! ;-)
    All the best!

  • Hathor Reply

    Hi Mr Bruno (do u have italian origins? Your surname makes me believe it), I found casually your blog, I read about your “challenge” and… I rested striked from this idea! I virtually join your ethic choice to show to the world just few objects are really necessary, if we don’t fill them with love and true personal relationships. So, I woulded just express to you my admiration.
    ..Ehy, let me some time to reflect about the objects to select. Bye!
    p.s. I write from Italy

  • Janice Reply

    As a professional organizer, I commend this effort and just wrote a blog entry on my own site to urge people to consider a similar challenge. For people that have taken up the challenge and need some additional support, I would like to recommend a companion website to my professional organizing website. It is stuff-flow.com. It gives strategies and resources for deleting items from your space. On that same website, you will find reference to a downloadable audio I created (it’s not a thing since it is a computer file!) entitled Stop Letting Stuff Overwhelm You which outlines additional techniques for divesting your space of excess stuff.

  • Richard Reply

    I could live on just one thing. That one thing is love.
    We would both die after a few weeks but what a way to go, in the arms of someone who loves you.

  • Anna Reply

    This inspired me so much! Thank you for posting about this process on your blog.
    I am moving from the east coast to the west coast in 1 month. I originally planned to hire a moving van and take every little bit of junk I own. After hearing about this, I decided to donate everything except the essentials, and I’m now only taking the things that I can pack in the trunk of my car.
    I’m so excited!
    Thank you!

  • aaron nye Reply

    wow…this is great. Best wishes on this effort. 100 would be a difficult number, but just taking the step is admirable.
    I’m definitely in agreement with this. Living in a small apartment helps, and being thrifty, frugal, and realistic helps more. For a while I’ve been trying to approach this mentality and this definitely sharpens my focus. Much more concrete (especially the part about counting books as 1 item, etc.) and do-able this way.
    100 things is a great number to use as a media device, but I think it might need to be more in some cases. Less in others. I remember reading about people who live on houseboats and how everything they have serves multiple purposes. The comedian Steven Wright has talked of having so few possessions that he could move overnight.
    This is a quasi-goal of mine. To have enough to be able to live fairly yet not be so encumbered that you are possessed by your possessions. The purging feels good and allows for growth.
    The attitude shift posed by the 100 thing challenge is a needed change. A welcome one. Gas prices will do this but with alot more whining from those who don’t see change as the only constant.
    I believe in this.
    Thank You.

  • Eva Wallace Reply

    WOW! I’m impressed! I don’t know if I can get down to 100 things, but it sure makes me look at my “stuff” in a different way.
    Do you think jewelry would count as one thing? If not, it’s over before I begin… :)
    ~Eva

  • Kevin Reply

    You should get a reversable belt instead of owning a black and brown belt. And I don’t see cell phone on your list. Can that be right?

  • JOE Reply

    Hi, i just read your article in TIME magazine, congrats on what you’re doing :) I myself can’t whittle my so called “stuff” down to just 100 things, because i never know when i’ll aquire more stuff (now i know you must think i’m rich…..far from it, i live on a limited income), some things i buy at stores, but mostly what i have, was aquired from trash piles people have on the side of the road (i like to call it SALV-CYCLING, part salvage, and recycling). during my numerous travels of SALV-CYCLING i have aquired a working single barrel 12 guage shotgun (yes i checked with police……serial number was ran…and it wasn’t used in any crime), a real gucci man’s wrist watch (leather band, 14kt. gold clasp ) and yes the watch works fine,plenty of loose change, numerous paper currency (mainly 1 or 2 dollar bills), jewelry, etc. If i don’t use the items from my SALV-CYCLING trips, i find a family member who can, or if it’s furniture i donate it to the local goodwill, or either i sell it at our flea market in the town over from me. Most items i find usually end up at the good will. So you see, i’m doing the environment some good by ; 1) freeing up space in landfills (the stuff i get isn’t taking up space at the landfill, 2) i’m helping my family out with material things they need 3)helping out the homeless, and or poor people who can’t afford (to buy at retail stores) the items i donate to goodwill 4) making me some extra money at the flea market…. Now who amongst yourselves could find anything wrong with what i’m doing?? Maybe more other people ought to be doing what i’m doing (then our landfills, wouldn’t be overburdened, folks not well off, heck not even scraping by would get some relief, etc. Thanks again for a great article, keep up the good work:)

  • Cara Reply

    I truly admire and appreciate your efforts to limit your personal possessions to 100 items. Since reading the article in Time, my roommate and I have decided to get rid of 100 items between the two of us. While it isn’t the same as limiting our personal possessions to 100 items, it is a step in the right direction. We have since added the rule that for every item you bring into the house, you need to add one item to your purge list. I am at 51 items, and my roommate is at 56 (she is going on vacation soon and bought a few things).
    In addition, we have decided to throw a Purge Party in celebration of our 100+ items. Our goal is to have all 100+ items ready to be donated by the time of the party. To encourage our friends to do the same, we will be asking all guests to all bring a bag of clothes to be donated as their admission ticket into our Purge Party.
    We plan on donating all the clothes and items we get from our party to one of the local housing projects near our apartment.
    Thanks again!

  • Elizabeth Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you.
    You’ve put to words what has been rattling around in my brain for awhile. It is time to do a purge on the things I own, thanks to some inspiration from you! Other people need them more than I do anyways.
    Along the same lines as this ‘less is more’ mentality, I’m tired of big houses. Big is not better (even if I am from Texas) and often times you sacrifice ‘big’ for a chance to build community. Sad.

  • Darren Reply

    I’ve got you guy’s beat on this by about 15 years! I will give you a hint that will help you achieve the goal with a lot less pain, particularly if you like to read. Either buy or keep a laptop and download Zinio Reader and start paying for electronic magazine subscriptions, or and Amazon Kindle or Sony e-book reader. I doubt anyone will argue about electronic book files taking up space. If you start counting “virtual” things…you may need to allow yourself 101 things, which would add room for an RX from your shrink.

  • Darren Reply

    I’ve got you guy’s beat on this by about 15 years! I will give you a hint that will help you achieve the goal with a lot less pain, particularly if you like to read. Either buy or keep a laptop and download Zinio Reader and start paying for electronic magazine subscriptions, or and Amazon Kindle or Sony e-book reader. I doubt anyone will argue about electronic book files taking up space. If you start counting “virtual” things…you may need to allow yourself 101 things, which would add room for an RX from your shrink.

  • SimpleInSF Reply

    You’re missing a fuel bottle for your campstove and a comb for your hair – at minimum. Or do they belong to the exclusions that you’ve conveniently made so you can have a catchy hook like “100 Things”…?
    It might actually be catchy if you didn’t immediately exclude most things the rest of us consider to be the basics. “100 Things except a whole bunch of things that everyone has and I don’t want to include” doesn’t have the same splashiness I guess.
    If you don’t want to appear the hypocrite attention seeker at least live your life in one room with all the things that you need to live and see where it goes. Then you’ll have to include a bed and minimal furnishings. You take all impact out of it when you don’t incude a bed but you’ve got a full backpacking kit, complete with TWO sleeping pads. Do your paring down bit, but do it for your own self satisfaction. You’ve made a mockery of the point of what you’re trying to do. This is NOT the Supersize Me expose you’re trying to make it.
    If I had the same exclusions I’d be down to less than 75 but I’m not saying LOOK AT ME, I’M IN TIME MAGAZINE!! But here, let me clap for you now.

  • busmun Reply

    Obviously you’re a dedicated backpacker so you’ve already lived with less than 100 things for whatever the duration of your treks were. So the challenge now is to live in normal society and pretend you’re on a trail!

  • Daniel Reply

    I like the idea. I may try to limit myself to 100 items or less for college this school year.

  • Squirrel Reply

    I just returned from the AT (injury, ugh), and all this reminds me very much of backpackers! It’s like you’ve extended backpacking philosophy into the rest of your life. It makes me feel funny inside. I’ve long been a fan of reducing possessions, though I’ve never counted, and now that I know how very little I need to survive, I feel I should take another look.
    (I did envy envy envy those with 25-lb packs–why couldn’t I get mine that light?)

  • Gina Marina Reply

    I’ve been wanting to get rid of my clutter for years but have done nothing! Thanks to you and TIME magazine, I’ll start actually doing something about it. No way will I get to 100 personal Things but whatever I do will be an improvement.
    Bravo to you and thanks.
    I’ve linked from my blog but I don’t expect much traffic to come over.

  • CK Reply

    I am going to try to do the opposite (sort of). I am going to try to get rid of 100 items in my house this weekend. If that doesn’t end up feeling to difficult, I will continue with another 100 and so on until I feel lighter and happier!
    Thanks for the motivation!

  • John Snyder Reply

    If you haven’t seen the book “Material World: A global family portrait” by Peter Menzel, find a copy. This photographer traveled all over the world and persuaded families to haul all their personal belongings outside their house and let him take pictures of it with the whole family. It’s fascinating to see how few things most families get along with — and how many they quite happily get along without.
    You can imagine what the middle-class American family photo looks like. Pretty embarrassing.

  • Jonathan Reply

    What size climbing shoe do you wear? Perhaps I could add them to my collection of about 40 things.

  • AnnMarie Reply

    When you update this list, could you indicate what’s been updated? I followed the link from your blog post but I can’t tell what’s diff from last week when I first read it….

  • Beverly Reply

    Love this! I decided to see where I stand. I have 84 personal things on my list. I had decluttered my clothes closet and dresser about a month before I read about your challenge. “Our stuff” list is up to about 275 headed for 300+. Glad I can count books as one item. I tried to get my husband to do his stuff and he said NO WAY. Guess whose part of the house is cleaner???

  • Another Dave Reply

    Dave – Just get rid of the stuff in the box by your computer, and you’re down to 100 things already! Why wait until November? Do it now!
    Another Dave

  • Travis Reply

    Great idea. I just started my list. I have noticed that most of the stuff comes with the house. If I lived on the road, as it were, my list is much lower than 100.
    Is a house the ultimate stuff collector?

  • stefan Reply

    Harry Potter figurine – want to give it to someone at Portus
    you should bring that to Terminus for me. :)

  • claire Reply

    One year when I was on a fellowship I lived the whole year in one room, a studio with bath and counter-with-mini-fridge-and-microwave (I called that counter my
    “kitchen”). IT WAS GREAT. I felt so free, and I got so much done. When I came back to big-house-suburbia after the year, my heart sank as I saw all that stuff stuff stuff. Hoping to try to clear out with serial donations, but I think I’ll have to start with 1000 things and work my way down. This counting it up really helps keep us aware. Thanks!

  • Dave Bruno Reply

    @Travis yes, houses are awful stuff collectors. I love our house, though. Goes to show that sometimes things are not clear cut.

  • Becky Reply

    Oh. I thought you were REALLY going to cut it all down to 100 things. I did. Actually only POSSESSING 100 things as opposed to having all your crap in storage is a BIG difference in your mind set. Cause all that crap in storage is really like a “If it gets bad I can bail on my contract” sort of thing. It’s a safety net. I know. I got rid of everything that wouldn’t fit in my van and lived in it for more than a year. Good luck anyway. My guess is you’ll start to think differently halfway through it…but not much. You’re really not doing much more than living out of suitcase. Nice try for first time though.

  • Becky Reply

    Oh. I thought you were REALLY going to cut it all down to 100 things. I did. Actually only POSSESSING 100 things as opposed to having all your crap in storage is a BIG difference in your mind set. Cause all that crap in storage is really like a “If it gets bad I can bail on my contract” sort of thing. It’s a safety net. I know. I got rid of everything that wouldn’t fit in my van and lived in it for more than a year. Good luck anyway. My guess is you’ll start to think differently halfway through it…but not much. You’re really not doing much more than living out of suitcase. Nice try for first time though.

  • Aer Reply

    So I read about you in the TIME magazine. Congratulations! Glad TIME is covering things that inspire and matter again.
    SO first off I’d like to say that I am doing this, sort of. I am making some rules like yours, and I am glad to see that you saved books as a separate part, though I am definitely going to donate some of mine to the library.
    Clothing, art supplies, and furniture will also be separate, as I personally own no furniture and I am an artistic jack of all trades. And female, that accounts for the clothing. I will count my clothing as a 50 thing challenge on the side, and maybe the art supplies too.
    I am really glad to see the spiritual side to this blog; I used to always read the passage about the rich man advised by Jesus to give away everything he owned with a painful twinge, even at age 13. Hopefully this will be seen as a thought-that-counts by God.
    Thanks again!

  • Joshua Wait Reply

    You’ve set up an excellent challenge for yourself. When I look around my house, I think of the sheer amount of time it takes just to manage it.
    In the mid ’90′s I lived in the Philippines out of two suitcases. That was it. I lived in 5 different places as a part of my internship. I’m sure I had more than 100 items if I include toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, prescription eye glasses, and so on. Even the suitcases themselves could be counted as two items.
    I hope you learn a lot and share it with us. I certainly did.

  • Carol Hayes Reply

    Today, I had hoped to find inspiration in my quest to divest a small house stuffed with the things from living at the beach and of raising a child (now 30). My plan to hone belongings to a reasonable backpack and set off on a long delayed journey to circumvent the world. But, I have such a bad reaction (hives, actually) to the preachy prose of Barbara Kingsolve that I doubt I can move beyong the current blog entry with a mere taint of having purused her latest. Sorry.

  • Gil Reply

    Dave,
    Great blog! I have just become aware of your blog/challenge this morning while reading about them in a local publication on the way to work and was intrigued.
    I have been on a decluttering project in the last year or so, and the vast amount of possesions I had was very apparent when I moved. I gave a lot of things away such as extra books, clothes, VCR tapes and knicknacks. I still have quite a bit, but am on my way to a simpler life.
    Oddly enough, the few things I have managed to keep I am actually enjoying them. It’s hard to do when you have so many things that you cannot even get to what you want to use.
    I think out society tends to overemphasize the need for excess material possessions and also uses this as framework to define who we are.
    I decided that I won’t be defined or labled by what I have, but who I am.

  • mbbored Reply

    I’m attempting something somewhat similar, but for entirely different reasons. I’ve decided to start my life over on the opposite coast. Therefore, I’m selling or donating anything that will not fit in the backseat or trunk of my subcompact car. It’s hard, painfully so. The furniture I bought, the dishes my ex-fiance and I picked out, DVDs and books that were gifts, clothing and shoes that I just love. My only exception will be a chair built by my father and two boxes of “memories” that I’ll store in my mother’s attic.

  • Stephen Miller Reply

    That’s awesome that TIME got ahold of Stuck In Stuff and the 100 Thing Challenge. I had no idea it was getting so popular!
    Good luck with it. Like I said before, once I can afford to own 100 things, I’ll try and get rid of them.

  • tom Reply

    i can see how the author has had to bend the rules because he lives in a house with his family however i do feel its not exactly within the spirit of it as his 100items list really doesn’t look like it covers the things he really needs, but hey, thats an outsiders view of someone else’s life of which i only know whats written above.
    i am very tempted to take up this way of life myself, i tried living out of a rucsac earlier this year and found it fine until i settle down somewhere and then with the additional recreational time i started to accumilate more outdoor kit.
    i like the idea of finding a empty warehouse or sports hall and laying out your 100 items and being stood naked infront of them knowing that in a materialistic way that is our life in its entirity.
    i’m sure 100 items is doable, maybe not so with a wife, kids, steady job etc but at 25 working freelance, single and free to do what i will it seems easily attainable. maybe that can be my focus this october after i finish the job i’m currently on.
    i hate knowing i have so much stuff in sotrage at my parents house and crave the simplicity of little, if i ever get there i’ll try and work out how to create a blog about it
    the photo would be wonderful, just you and 100 (or less) items laid out infront of you

  • di Reply

    is there a place where others are listing their 100 things – that would be of great interest

  • kelli Reply

    Brillant.

  • di Reply

    i’m elderly and have begun to give my heirlooms to the grand children – i can still enjoy them at their house – it’s time to retire from taking care of everything
    if shared items do not count, then share everything – it’s one less purchase

  • bbmcg Reply

    This idea and a quote in Christian Century came to me in the past couple of days. I’ve been thinking of it as a move is in our future…What if I reduced my things…
    I will. I’m excited to try…
    Blessings Bobbie
    could we keep the language on posts civil without swear words. It would help me be able to connect others to this..thanks

  • bbmcg Reply

    This idea and a quote in Christian Century came to me in the past couple of days. I’ve been thinking of it as a move is in our future…What if I reduced my things…
    I will. I’m excited to try…
    Blessings Bobbie
    could we keep the language on posts civil without swear words. It would help me be able to connect others to this..thanks

  • joe Reply

    Hi Dave,
    Read about you in the FT- Germany these days. I´m Student and used to live on priorities. Don´t know where you are coming from but i´m sure you feel much better and focus on the most important.
    Books, Photos, Memorie items etc.
    BTW
    the idea is not new. Read Walden from H.D. Thoreau or books about downsizing.
    Also amazing is the book from Joe Dominquez: Your money or your Life and the books from the Dutch couple van Veen and van Eeden
    Keep on track Рyou probably love it so much that you´ll go on after one year for the rest of your life
    Joe

  • Gary Reply

    I’ve been going down a similar path to reduce the number of things in my life. Here are two methods that help me.
    1. “2 or 1″. I’ve got a lot of stuff. Every day I try to take 2 things out of the house and put them in trash, goodwill, recycle, etc. If I get something new, then 2 things must go. The things need not be of equal size or value, although that is ideal, but 2 for 1. This causes thought before bringing anything in. Eliminating 2 books, or 2 shirts, etc. gradually shrinks the number of things and brings one to the real decision points on what goes and stays. This also exposes me to the extent that I am a collector and pack rat.
    2. “The virtual trash can.” My wife hasn’t bought into the project. There are things I want to dispose of that she doesn’t. For example, 500 CDs she might listen to some day or a hopelessly broken rocking chair saved for future grandchildren. Rather than argue or carry a resentment about it, I put these types of things in a list on my computer called “virtual trash”. Once something is in the virtual trash I consider it out of my life. No arguments, no resentments, no revisiting, just a smile knowing that in my mind I have reduced the clutter.
    Ultimately, my goal is to shrink to the point that I could live from a studio apartment; no reason other than to see if I can do it. When in college all my possessions fit in a Toyota Corrolla. 30 years later the Corrolla wouldn’t even hold my guitar collection. My son recently moved out, so I have his bedroom to use as the laboratory.
    As with many things, the decisions and learning on the way to the goal are a constant source of satisfaction.

  • donstuff Reply

    How about 1,000 items? I might be able to come closer to that – unless “library” could encompass all my books, then maybe 100.

  • di Reply

    SUFFICIENT AND VERSATILE
    3’ x 7’ shelf as window seat and bed
    store bedding in floor cushions – use cushions at shelf to dine or as desk
    laptop, clothing, linen, pantry beneath shelf
    cut slotted handles in side cardboard box for easy pull-out storage
    7 outfits, hooded jacket, gloves, envelope as wallet
    one pair each boots, shoes, sneakers
    2 each bath, hand, face towels
    towel / garment hooks, mirror, comb, toothbrush
    under-counter washer/dryer in one, clothes drying rack
    towel over counter to iron; one hanger = iron night before
    portable stove top, colander, large knife
    cutting board cover under-counter fridge
    deep fry pan to steam or saute’ veges
    medium and large pots as mixing bowls
    spatula to stir and serve
    bowl for meal, mug as ladle or to measure
    fork as whisk, spoon to measure
    4 kitchen towels = dry dishes on towel, use as potholder
    reuse jar for food, utensils, flowers

  • Busby Seo Challenge Reply

    Hi it’s good! Good luck to your work. Busby Seo Challenge

  • Justin Reply

    I commend you on your endeavor. I am interested to see this develop as I am myself a lifelong minimalist. I have comprised my list of 100 on my blog. Which can be found here.
    http://jaysaldesign.com/blog/?p=53

  • Jamie Cain Reply

    Hey Dave,
    My brother bought me one of those Cross Tech3 pens for Christmas last year. It’s made whittling down my pens and pencils a heck of a lot easier. Red pen, black or blue pen, and a pencil.

  • Neil Reply

    A while ago I spent a little more than two years utterly homeless. The experience reveals with incredible clarity just what one needs. Not much, really. After some adjusting I found myself observing with some amusement the societal race to aquire and was for some time really reluctant to return to it. If you can imagine striking off on an unaided solo journey, list what you think you’ll need. Put half of it back. Take only half of what’s left. It should be enough.
    You’ll find out what’s really needed defined by how long you’re willing to carry it.

  • amingwati Reply

    The truth is it isn’t always easy to find a cheap ergonomic chair or a low cost ergonomic office chair. But when buying an ergonomic chair you’ll want to choose a chair that has all the necessary features and adjustments and still be affordable.

  • sue Reply

    Hey, I just wanted to tell you that this is a great idea! That and I know a way to further pair down your list. I noticed that you have a black belt and a brown belt. I only have one belt because I was able to find a nice leather one that is black on one side and brown on the other. If you have a belt that flips, then you only need one.
    I dont think I can get things down to 100 items (I’m an engineering student, so thats just not practical), but I am definatly going to pair down. I want to get to the point that I am only living in one room (I spend half my time at my parent’s house, so I have a full room there too). That said, there’s a lot of stuff I dont like, need, or use. I think I’ll start with that.

  • MotherLodeBeth Reply

    After reading all you have kept I realized I am so un materialistic and I never really realized just how much. Although I do tend to live with the thought of what things would I NEED if I had to evacuate due to a fire or other emergency here in the Sierras. Has made me see the difference between a need VS a want. Am a simple living person along the lines of the late Helen and Scott Nearing. Don’t own a cell phone, although I do have a computer that is from 1995 and has been upgraded piece meal. After my husband died I gave 75% of what we had away, via freecycle.org, and selling on eBay. Now I am in a place that is around 700 sq feet and it feels to big at times. I also think of those who have lost everything in a natural disaster and most miss family photos, but few ever mention ‘stuff.’

  • danny Reply

    well, I have a list of 27 things i want to keep. I count books as one and mags as one. I am sick of my life and junk. hell, i am sick even of my not junk stuff! I have been trying to get rid of stuff for over 20 years. I have one 8 year old boy who is getting junked down with toys! he is vary good with his toys,has stuff from 3ed b day! got to go! ahhhhh. live in 2 bedroom apt.good size rooms. I cant even sleep in my room. junk! well good luck everyone. danny.

  • Patty Lonsbary Reply

    In April 2007, we moved from a 2,000 square foot home into a 8′ x 40′ Prevost Motorhome. I have not counted the stuff we retained, but I assure you that my husband and I have eliminated thousands of things from our personal stuff that we accumulated over our many years. I have expressed the challenges in early 2006 – 2007 entries of my Blog “Did Someone Say RV Road Trip?” http://www.glotours.blogspot.com and continue to discard stuff as we travel – we now have logged over 14,000 miles in the US & Canada. If you really want to cut out unnecessary stuff, move into a motorhome.

  • phil Reply

    Wow!!! I haven’t checked in on you for awhile, and was shocked to see the progress you have made.
    Inspired by you, I have been working on my own 100 thing challenge, but have been in limbo for awhile. After seeing your progress I am anxious to return to the purge.
    I have to give you huge applause for your train set, and your tools. I know how hard it is to get rid of some things.
    I have to ask, did you ever use them? or did you simply get rid of them for the purpose of the challenge?

  • Susan Sweet Reply

    Just read, with interest, all the comments. I find some are a bit too judgmental: this is an exercise in mental discipline, so absolute numbers are immaterial. (Is there a pun there?)
    Having characterized myself for years as a clean living with four messies (in a small house), I began going through my personal stuff about three times a year. Also enjoyed playing the mental game of, “if the house burned to the ground, what would I really need?” This was aided by meeting a woman whose house actually did burn to the ground: she lost everything but the cat and her family. What did she grieve? The burned photos, not the thousands in clothing, furniture, antiques.
    In going through the weeding process for my own pleasure, I have learned a few things. They might (or not) help.
    1. Children often define themselves by what they have, as what they are has not developed yet. This translates easily into the neophyte cook who has machines and equipment to do what she has not yet learned and internalized. Gone are the pasta machines, etc.; in is a rolling pin.
    2. Memorabilia are important. I have three things that go to every house with me and are tightly linked to my late, beloved father: an apple painting he did, an antique clock he bought for me, and an antique gumball machine he also bought for me. If I had to I could give them up, photograph and scan the painting, and have it on the computer.
    3. Tools are exceedingly important, especially if you are at all creative. Camera, computer, sewing machine, sharp knife, monster external drive to hold your photos, recipes, creative writings, music and favorite movies. If you are lucky enough to have some kind of wireless hookup it can also stand in for a radio.
    4. Ahh‚Ķ the book problem. I purged most of mine, down to some I reread often, plus some references and used paper copies of the Norton’s Anthologies (we don’t have a good library nearby). BUT I prefer the library, and often suggest folks look at the Gutenberg Project (google it, folks) where you can read, print, or download copies of many classics which are now out of copyright.
    5. A recorder, if you play it, is a wonderful thing to keep yourself company with, musically.
    6. Exercise is very important. You can get workouts on DVD (or put them on your external drive): just be sure that whatever tiny space you put yourself into is adequate for whatever gear you might need, or find substitutes for the weights, the step, the stability ball. These are more tools and an investment in your health and longevity.
    7. A reduced food inventory also helps with weight loss: too many choices equals overindulgence, quite often.
    All that said, I suggest another mental game: go to http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com and look very closely at the pared-down but adequate living quarters showcased there. During reading about Katrina Cottages I stumbled on these and the Small House Society. As a boomer, I see something whose time is coming. Consider how vast a pool there is of sixty-plus unattached women. Some of us need to put resources together, purchase a plot of land, and start a community with these tiny homes (circling the wagons, so to speak), with some community supported agriculture. If you’re interested in this kind of stuff, Cottage Living Magazine has featured some planned communities which make sense.
    As a final note, it should be recognized that one’s needs and the final score of paring down depend greatly on who you are and what you do. If you are NOT single and have to be responsible for or cook for other people, you would need a few more things in your arsenal. If you are not creative but would rather go dancing than sew, that eliminates a huge stash of supplies. But choose your tools wisely and go for good quality: a stainless steel countertop will last and serve as well as a granite one, over time, but cheap scissors or knives or a sewing machine won’t.
    I took my first trip abroad this summer and everyone with whom I visited was astonished: I arrived with a homemade laptop case (I have a 17″ and needed peripherals plus camera to record the trip and burn CDs), and on my other shoulder was a tote bag with my clothes. I warned the gals I was meeting that I had a ‘three jeans’ rule, which meant I was bringing only three pair of jeans. I would have brought only two but there was some notion I would be pressured into going to some fancy spot for dinner, so took a third pair that would pass muster. I managed two weeks in NY two years ago with one little bag and still had more on both trips that I needed, PLUS could have remained for months with what I brought. This was in marked contrast to ladies who had changes of clothing, shoes and jewelry and purses for every single day‚Ķ
    For those with spouses, take heart: Spousenik won’t hear of downsizing and I find men inherently horizontal and women more vertical in terms of storage needs. But set a good example and eventually someone is gonna get good and tired of being owned by all his stuff‚Ķ
    Best luck to all!

  • Art Reply

    Interesting. My wife sent me this link. I think I have at LEAST 400 CDs. I may try getting those down to 100.. I’ve been going through my music and I’ve found my tastes have changed somewhat.
    I may try to do 100 books, too. Not sure. I definitely have WAY more than that. Though I’m seriously contemplating buying a 12 volume set of Bible commentary.. but maybe I could count that as one book. :)
    It just kind of freaks me out that I’ve accumulated so much stuff. And I really don’t need all of it. I suspect I’m somewhat of a hoarder.

  • Kabonfootprint Reply

    Nice Tip for your new futureKabonfootprint

  • Carol Bailey Reply

    It’s a noble goal, but let’s face it, guys need a lot less stuff to live well in the world. The vast majority of guys have no clue how much “women’s” stuff costs. Check out the stuff just in my bathroom: foundation, $35; blush: $25; eyeshadow x 10: $150; lip gloss, lip plumper, lipstick, lip moisturizer, lip liner: $75; blush brush, powder brush, eyeshadow brushes, lip brush, smudger brush, eyebrow brush, eyeliner brush: $200; quality flat-iron: $100; quality blow dryer: $60; hair products including texturizer, molding wax, hair spray, anti-frizz serum, mousse, different kinds of gels, smoothers, messer-upper “sexy” spray, brightening shampoo, straightening shampoo, daily conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner. Etcetera. And that’s just a small sampling. Every thing is used at least once or twice a month, many daily. All are used with the ultimate goal of attracting guys, who say they don’t care but clearly really do, and who in turn can live with less stuff. Ah, the irony. Don’t even get me started on clothes …

  • Kaya Singer Reply

    I agree with the spirit of this quest but it wouldn’t work for me. Although I am not a hoarder and I have a neat, uncluttered home, I do like artsy things and memorabilia. I have lots of family photos, pottery, crystals, vases for fresh flowers, etc. I have colored pencils, drawing pads and fun pens to use when writing. These things make me feels good and they are not clutter. I also think men can manage with way less clothes but clothes for me are an expression as well as practical. I like having choices and colors. I do give away what I don’t wear.
    I have moved overseas twice and got rid of everything and then had to buy it all again. That is expensive and makes no sense if not needed. Why get rid of wood working tools that are precious when they will cost a lot to replace next year when you want them again?
    If you live in the mountains in a cave then it makes sense to have a bowl and blanket but when you live in the city in a house it is a bit different.

  • nemo Reply

    # Marklin Z gage train collection – GONER – grief!
    # Woodworking Tools – GONER – MAJOR grief!!
    Big, big mistake…

  • Da Robot Reply

    Hi,
    I saw this and it gave me an idea, which is similar and has some of the same goals, but I just don’t limit myself to a certain number of items. It’s a project to throw things away every day for thirty days. It’s at http://30daythrowaway.blogspot.com/ and I’d love to get your feedback and comments on this project. Thanks for the idea, David!

  • Brad Reply

    How do you treat work things? I have a ton of things that technically belong to my employer (laptop, scanner, files, etc) that I couldn’t live without on a daily, but they belong to work. Sometimes I use them for personal things like scanning my bills into PDF, etc., but should that count as too much stuff? I’m all for reducing the load, but if your job requires lots of technology hardware or a large wardrobe, etc. how does one reduce the clutter or amount there?

  • Wheaton Student Reply

    My roomate and a few friends and I are planning to begin our own 100 Things Challenge for Spring Semester. There are a few things we have questions about, though:
    1) Wallet- does that include it’s contents (cash, debit card, checkbook?), or do all these things need to be counted separately?
    2)Hygiene- what about shampoo/conditioner, soap, toothpaste? As college students, this isn’t necessarily “community property”.
    3)What about “necessities” that would normally be included in a family- sheets/pillow/blanket/towel? In some family’s that would be considered community property, but not in college. We’re thinking of allowing one pillow, set of sheets, towel and blanket, and anything beyond that would have to “count”.
    Are there any other college students that are giving it a try? We don’t want to get so caught up in trying to eliminate that it distracts us, but we also don’t want to cut so many corners that we miss the experience.

  • Amy Reply

    Why 3 bibles? The entire contents are at bible.com

  • Lynne Reply

    I had a friend once who grew up as an army brat and moved a lot, so she learned not to accumulate. Her house was amazing. She had one purse, one bottle of perfume, a small handful of jewelry, and around six pair of shoes. Her closet had huge gaps between each item of clothing. When she bought something, she got rid of something (i.e. buy a sweather, get rid of a sweater).
    She inspired me. My philosophy before I buy anything is: Do I want to dust it, store it, or move it?

  • Tony Reply

    Just wanted to thank you Dave for doing this. I have been feeling this way for some time but couldn’t put my finger on the problem. In fact I was just having this argument today at work with several fellow employees that we as a country have gone spiritually bankrupt in our pursuit of things. I was actually discussing with them the idea that I really didn’t need much of anything to enjoy life. The pursuit of things just created illusory happiness much like an addiction to a drug. When the drug wears off, you still have to face the issues you are alotted by life. Just nice to see others who agree. I was definitely swimming up stream today.

  • Kris S Reply

    Ok, so it’s after 11/12/08..where do we see the update(s)????
    Kris

  • Nanc Reply

    Great idea! I have been doing something in that vein with my kids for a year. They have to get rid of (trash, good will or to someone else)items that equals how many days we have lived in this house – moved in about 7 years before we started this. It has been interesting for them to decide what things they have outgrown, what is treasured, etc. Not down to 100 items but everyone feels less encumbered by this stuff! We do it slowly as we go so it is not too overhwelming for them!

  • Daniel Marino Reply

    How has it been going? Did you make it…?
    I can’t seem to let go of my CDs…
    Cheers,
    Dan

  • Melisa Reply

    When I go out I have lots of things inside my bag, things that I think I might need while traveling. My friends often tell me I’m a “girl scout.” But all in all, I think my personal things wouldn’t reach the 100 list. Every time I pick up an item at the mall, especially if it’s costly, my inner self always asks me, “Do you really need it? Do you really need it now?”
    This challenge is a great idea.

  • MARK CANADA Reply

    WHEN I READ NEWSPAPER ARTICLE THOUGHT THE 100 THINDS WOULD INCLUDE FURNITURE BUT ONLY PERSONAL ITEMS AND ALL FURNITURE EXEMPT. MAKES THIS NOT MUCH OF A CHALLENGE WOULD BE MUCH HARDER IF WHOLE HOUSE ONLY HAD 100 ITEMS THEN WOULD BE REAL CHALLENGE (OTHERS IN HOME COULD HAVE THEIR OWN ITEMS IF NOT PART OF THE CHALLENGE ) BUT THE BED YOU USE SHOULD COUNT AND SO SHOULD YOUR TV ETC. YOUR CHALLENGE YOUR RULES BUT SOUNDED HARDER THAN MADE OUT TO BE WHEN MOST FUNITURE EXEMPT.

  • Peter M Spirito Reply

    I can see not buying more stuff. If you have 20 shirts don’t buy any more until you wear then out down to 4. But to get rid of good stuff that is all paid for I don’t see the point. If you are not making payments on something or paying to store it and you do use it why get rid of it. You already regret getting rid of your woodworking tools and good camera.

  • CoMoBoomers Reply

    Part of remodeling our 1,800 sqft. home on 2 levels, we installed new laminate floors, so everything had to be moved and gave us an excellent opportunity for de-cluttering and simplifying our lives. Our new decorating rule is “Maximum of 10 items per room”. We accepted ‘grouping’ and for example the bedding group includes sheets, pillows and cover, all counting as ONE, or, in bathrooms, a maximum of 4 towels (one group) and 12 items relating to cleaning and grooming (one group). The kitchen was very difficult, but we decided on a maximum of 20 items per cupboard and we’re keeping an eye on how often some get used, so we may reduce that number. Closets are also very difficult as we are active professionals, so the count is a maximum of 60 items per closet (we have 4, so that allows for approx. 120 ‘personal’ possessions). Two shoes, two socks or a pair of gloves count as one item and underwear & socks are grouped with limits of 14 so laundry can be done every two weeks. Aside from parting with ‘memories’, the tough part is to keep the numbers down when buying new items (that we decide we absolutely need). Each purchase must replace something and we give those ‘discarded’ items to the local used clothes store or recycling industry. As the economy will recover, we plan to sell this home and downsize to approx. 1,200 sqft. all on one level. We view this phase of our lives as “simplify & maximize”. This trend is not new among our baby-boomer friends, however, we reject the unrealistic idea of “living-off-the-land-in-a-10-by-10-hut-on-an-island” because we have a great imagination & power of visualization . . . think how crowded those islands would be if all of us would move there . . .
    Possible issues with simplification are: What happens with all the stuff that people get rid of? How can recycling offer affordable support? Will all discarded trappings of our consumerism end up cluttering some other geographical areas and lives? Are you ready for a sequel along those lines?

  • Mark Willems Reply

    I just found out about the 100 challenge from our local paper “Saskatoon Star Phoeinx”. Well done. I hope more people find this site and consider taking their own challenge, numeric or not. We actually took the TV challenge about 10 years ago and have never gone back. No cable, not even local channels. We have an old dial type TV and we got an electronics friend of ours to solder the channel changer in place on channel #3 and cut out all the other connections, so the only thing we can watch is DVD or VCR stuff. What a difference it has made in our lives. While our two boys were going through school we frequently would get the comment from their teachers, “I can tell your child doesn’t watch TV.” They would always say that with a sense of awe and respect. We also got lots of comments from other parents about how they thought that was such a great idea but very few ever thought it was a good idea for THEM. Looking at the TV shows that are available now, I can’t imagine spending time watching them. It seems that things have changed so much in the past 10 years, maybe what changed is my attitude.
    I also browsed your Flicker account. You have an awesome family! Great pictures, great fun. I can tell you are very proud of all your girls.

  • Peter Spirito Reply

    News for your friend Brett. When he gets married his new wife will purge his possessions for him. Any tie to his past life will be hurried away so as to isolated him into the new world of marriage. Completely under her control.

  • Peter Spirito Reply

    Help me with the math here. On November 12, 2008 you listed as item 93 a laptop computer. Now on January 28th you write about wanting to have a laptop computer. Should I conclude that you got rid of the laptop that you had on 11-12-08? Do we add the laptop to the list of regretable disposals that include your camera equipment and woodworking tools?

  • Paul Foreman Reply

    This is an intriguing idea. I feel that it is also a question of assessing to what degree you can detach from items. What would you feel if you no longer had a particular possession. Could you really live without it? And the ultimate face yourself questions – is there room in my coffin for all the stuff I own? Who will sort this lot out when I’m gone?
    I think possessions are ok if you are not so attached to them that when you lose them they become a problem.
    After all, as the zen saying goes ultimately we are all visitors.
    You may wish to pay a visit to see my “De-Clutter” Mind Map which is free to download at http://www.mindmapinspiration.co.uk
    Best wishes
    Paul

  • Amber Reply

    This looks like my list before I left for the Peace Corps! I admire your efforts, especially someone with a family. They sound understanding! Good luck!

  • jenn Reply

    #59 “T-shirt – From Timberps on Etsy. I really like this guy‚Äôs artwork.”
    i agree, a friend sent me a link to their work and I immediately bought the lumberjack shirt (and got rid of one other shirt I hardly ever wore anymore). Anyways, what a nice surprise to come across someone else randomly who is a fan too.

  • Francoism Reply

    I like it, I’m going to try out this challenge.

  • Ken Thompson Reply

    Why don’t you become a Cowboy, drover, or shepherd for an American range sheep flock? How about an long haul trucker? Or even better a Sailor, Marine, or Soldier on a year’s overseas deployment. There would be no compromise list of needed items for home or work.

  • Ed B Reply

    I like the concept, and I am amused by the possible outcomes of your plan of writing a book about this experience. If it is a best seller, thereby filling up houses everywhere with yet another material object – that sure is ironic. If no-one buys it, I guess you’ve have the satisfaction that you’re ideas have really caught on! Probably the best possible outcome is that it is only purchased by libraries, but tops the “most often checked out” lists! Try telling that to your publisher :-)

  • Rajinder Singh Mangat Reply

    Dear Sir
    I would like to live a very simple life with minimum basic needs, shall appreciate guidance and advise.I am a rtetired person 63 years old having modesst earing from savings no pension or any other property
    Rajinder

  • New Sun Reply

    To me ‘100 Thing Challenge’ helps save our environment and helps us lead simple life style.I suggest Dave includes “Eat only simple healthy food and practice Calorie Restriction” in his ‘100 Thing Challenge’ List.

  • New Sun Reply

    Practicing calorie restriction without malnutrition is not only another way to fight consumerism. It also keeps a person healthy at a very low cost.

  • Lawsy Reply

    Hmmm. It’s either a hundred things or it isn’t. You can’t declare your library one thing just because you like the look of the books on the shelves. Three bibles?? Surely they can go in with ‘library’? Also how come filing cabinet, desk and side-table get itemised when all the other furniture doesn’t?
    If you’re planning a book based on this experience it’s going to have to be more visceral than this. At the moment all you could call it is ‘My Spring Clean’.
    The public want to read about suffering and hardship and a man sticking solidly to his idea! They want to hear how your kids got Rickets and your wife nearly divorced you because you forbade her to buy toilet paper. We want blood and guts. Not you declaring right off the bat that you’ve cheated and kept all your nice looking books and your climbing shoes even though you don’t use them.
    Where’s the commitment?!
    (By the way i am joking)
    (half-joking maybe)

  • Dr L.S.Padmanabhan Reply

    What a beautiful idea.This should become a movement.”More comforts,more complaints” said the philosopher Balzac.Get rid of all the clutter and see how peaceful life becomes.All have been brainwashed by the marketing blokes .we are the fools.Why 100 try to get down to 50.It is possible.Books,clothes,underwear etc is to be taken as 1 item each respectively.Be flexible.You decide yourself.It is a challenge not to impress anybody but to conquer yourself and control your mind.

  • Rajiv Mishra Reply

    Thank you so much for starting this.I’m from India and I try to follow Mahatma Gandhi as much as possible.for this work your spirit is same.The idea should be not only to have little but also to share much with others.So I find giving away/exchanging as a good way.That makes our lives less cluttered up too.
    Regards–
    Rajiv Mishra
    India

  • Rajiv Mishra Reply

    There’s a spiritual angle to this possess little movement.
    I’d like to quote John Bunyan(the famous poet)–
    ….
    I am content with what I have,
    Little be it or much:
    And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
    Because Thou savest such.
    Fullness to such a burden is
    That go on pilgrimage:
    Here little, and hereafter bliss,
    Is best from age to age.
    ———-
    Regards to all..

  • Wanda Reply

    I am intrigued by this idea. I read a story of a woman who went through her closet yearly, purging excess items. She only kept about 10 items total. The freedom of this lifestyle appeals to me. My problem is sentimentality. I am taking digital photos of items that are important to me, then giving them away- or selling on ebay. I realized that I don’t need to touch the item, just having the photo fills my need to reminisce. Thank you for sharing your story. I am challenged and enocouraged.

  • hiddencat12 Reply

    I think this idea is great but your not the first to try it a guy named Eliott packed all the things he wanted to live into his rucksack ( excepy his bike) but it was all included on his list of 101 things. I did something similar a few years ago when I moved house and and then rooms. I GAVE away over 300 of my books to charity shops. And my tv/dvd pLayer. I still own dvd’s but I play them on my laptop.
    however I support all people who are working to reduce their carbon footprint and go for green. and love reading other peoples experences as they spur me on to continue and not give in to mass marketing. One day im going to get a shirt printed that says something catchy like I dont hate stuff just unethical production. or I have no problem with cheep clothes just slave labour.

  • Crystal Reply

    Glad to catch up with you! Started a modified challenge myself after reading about your idea a year+ ago. You are truly an inspiration. Good luck on the book!

  • jeff Reply

    Hej!
    Jag trodde det var en kul idé att du hade så tänkte jag börja med det, men när jag gick igenom mina grejer så jag upptäckte att jag bara ägde 62 saker.
    Jeff Hagberg
    Greetings from Sweden

  • Luitzen de Graaf Reply

    Respect!-) We really do not need al the things we think we need.. We share the world and so we can share her goods.. I think this a really good action to show the world we can live with more less goods.. If I look in my house I got to many things/stuff.. For a better world we must share and surtain for the pore people..

  • Matt Reply

    I learned of the 100 Thing Challenge from a dance instructor/online entrepreneur/self-proclaimed vagabond who I met at a retreat. He travels the country with just two packs’ worth of stuff, but he lives well and is very well-dressed.
    When I came home after the retreat, I put in a good effort to clean out all but 100 things. I don’t know if I’m all the way there, but I’m close. I didn’t expect to learn anything from the experience (apart from learning what I did or didn’t need to live comfortably). But I found that the experience completely changed the way I relate to “stuff”. With few possessions, I’m comfortable buying something new that I’ll actually use. My self-image is improved because all those clothes that didn’t look good are gone, and I don’t have to think about them or how I looked in them, ever again. But through this process I also realized that I’m not as generous as I thought I was. Yes, I gave plenty of things to charity — quite a lot of quality clothes, actually — but I did so with the primary motive of cleaning my life out, not giving to others.
    As a college student in a really old dorm, I live in a 10 sq meter space, as one previous poster suggested we all do. It’s definitely beneficial — even with 100 personal items I still feel a little cluttered, and can’t wait to give away more! And with only 100 items, it’s much easier to clean my messy room. It’s funny — now that I have fewer things, I have more time! It took a while to get rid of all the other items, but I think it was an investment of time with a pretty high rate of return.
    -Matt
    cloydster@gmail.com

  • Shellie Clare Reply

    Very inspiring, it’s great to hear your story! I’m a married mother of 2 very young children and am really working at cutting back on the crap we have. I grew up with a clutter-bug mom and also created lots of chaos around me. My parents had 1000′s of books, and I had quite a collection myself. We’ve done a lot of decluttering but have a long way to go! Even my books are cut down to just favorite favorite novels and non-fictions that I love and will re-read or have yet to read. I think I’ll start with counting my items and seeing how much stuff I own. I think it will be a motivator! I am considering doing the 100 thing challenge on just my own stuff but would like to see where I am coming from first. Do I have 200 or 1000 things? I can’t even guess.

  • Meghan Reply

    I admire your efforts to live with less, but I argue that by listing everything you own by brand name, down to the very writing implements you use, you buy into the consumerism you’re trying to discourage. There is something to be said for choosing quality of possessions over quantity, but in my opinion, focusing on brands seems to harm rather than help your cause.
    Just some food for thought!
    Meghan

  • Bill Barry Reply

    @ Meghan
    I would agree that ‘there is something to be said for choosing quality… over quantity,’ and that something is: that when we do so, we take another step away from the disposable philosophy which is at the heart of consumerism. Consumerism doesn’t work nearly as well if the products we buy last a lifetime. So, by educating ourselves (and others) as to which products have the potential to do so, we also take a step away from the cycle of buy, use, toss and buy again. The 100 Things Challenge (at least for me) is not just about having less stuff, but also about not participating as often in the economic culture which sells too much stuff.

  • John Jordan Reply

    I think about all the people that survive disasters, bushfires, tornadoes, tsunamis, and how merely surviving with their lives is a miracle. Then I think of them starting over again with nothing, and I think 100 things is quite possible.
    Even from where I am, with probably 1,000 or more things, I realise I “use” most of these things less than once a year. Even heirlooms, mementoes, I think about them less than once a year. How real does life become when we shed our surface layer and concentrate on ‘being’ rather than ‘having’ or even ‘doing’?

  • Melissa Rice Reply

    I think that this is an excellent idea. Our sunday school teacher read us your 100 items challenge. We have been discussing ways to de-clutter our minds, hearts, and lives. Sometimes, we are so intangled in the “treasures” of this world that we forget where our heart is supposed to be. I also really liked the letter that your friend sent to everyone about Christmas presents. I have been wondering where I would get the money to send to missions like I really want to….well, the answer is right in front of me! No more hustle and bustle and finding the PERFECT gift (if one exists) but instead, I will make a pretty certificate that will let my loved ones and friends know that I have donated this amount of money in your name to missionary work!
    Thank you for listening to your convictions.

  • Hoarder Reply

    Disgusting christian. Ditch all your bibles.

  • malo Reply

    I took the challenge and I’m now down to 84 things… it was easier than I originally though. (why 3 bibles? I only need one…)

  • Jonathanjk Reply

    I did the 100 items challenge and I do count books but I don’t count items that fit inside other items. My camera btw, with 1 lens and the 2 memory cards inside it are all classed as one object.
    Anyway I didn’t near a hundred items. As I was chucking out stuff at the same time, maybe I made harsh choices before I started counting towards the 100. Anyway, I’m happy.

  • cheap computers Reply

    You’ll spend the rest of your life creating a more valuable life, instead of wasting your money and time on stuff.

  • Peri Reply

    Hello,
    I am really interested in 100 things challenge. I am a design student and doing a project on anti-consumerism. I was wondering if any of the people who do 100 things challenge are people who live on boats or motorhomes?
    Please reply, it would be very helpful.
    Thanks,
    Peri
    dt701pi@gold.ac.uk

  • costa rica north pacific condos Reply

    i like this part of the post:”Side table – I‚Äôve gone back and forth on this one. Probably should just trash it and thus make less room for clutter.” is very good

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  • Annie Reply

    This is awesome. I’ve recently given away so many possessions to a local thrift store(thousands of dollars worth, WHY DID I EVEN BUY THEM INITIALLY!!!!???). I didn’t even bother to get any money for them (sell on ebay, or garage sale). I just wanted rid of them. It was time, and not always easy, to say goodbye to them. The result, a lightness within my soul and heart, AND HOUSE!, that has transformed into new love for life and a new life path (one I always dreamed of!). Hurray!

  • Paul Klipp Reply

    I love it! Here’s my list: http://paulklipp.com/articles/100_Things.pdf

  • Jane Reply

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  • Elijah Reply

    Hello, my name is Elijah (I’m from Italy)and I have a question to begin in September 2010 100 Thing Challenge got a doubt: those objects that deteriorate (pens, shoes etc.) must be replaced without changing the total number of objects or increasing it? My contact is eliabasei@hotmail.it. Thank you. Elijah

  • Marcus Vinicius Stolarski Reply

    Hello!
    I find your attitude very interesting. I live in Brazil, and we don´t have even half the consumerism you have in US. My wife and I have moved to a different city for job purposes, about 18 months ago. In this new city, we have already moved again. Then I realized that we have too many things! From my side, I´ve started to reduce my belongings. I´ve donated most of my clothes. I am selling most of my things on internet; I´m not giving away because we know few people in this town, so the alternative would be garbage, which I don´t like. I´m not intending to go down to 100 itens, but I can tell you, the relief is very good! Then you understand you need few things to live well. Everyone should try it, it´s surprisingly pleasant!
    Good luck!

  • KeithTax Reply

    It will take me a while to get below 100 personal items with a few adjustments to your rules. I think the journey is more important than arriving. One step a day. That is my motto.

  • Marshall Reply

    I have joined the movement. I now own less than 100 things. I am now totally free of crap. I will live this way from now. I recommend this for everyone.

  • JC Haley Reply

    Iam burdened with a large house which was once home to five people but I am now alone and faced with paring down the possessions accuumulated and left behind as well as my own. I so want to do this but feel overwhelmed. I periodically give bags and bags of clothing to charitable organizations but get discouraged. I fear that I will never be able to clear out and downsize to a small apartment. I am impressed withwhat you as a young person have been able to do and am somewhat encouraged to keep on plugging.

  • v Reply

    what about personally owned, job required, items ?
    what about items you are required to keep/have available in bulk ?(currently 3-4k items)…
    do things of a functioning group qualify as a single item…(computer/keyboard/mouse/modem/cables)
    you can see where this is going…

  • Mitch Reply

    Aren’t you required to keep tax records for 7 years? I didn’t notice that listed on your 100 things.
    If you goal is to reduce consumerism, the software that you purchase for your multiple laptops might come into play, as software can be very expensive consumption. If your goal is to reduce clutter, you also should consider how much clutter you are moving from the physical world into the software world that is stored on your hard drive!
    I think it’s a little bit of a “cop out” to eliminate shared items from even the slightest shred of consideration. It’s like the tragedy of the commons–if no one takes ownership for these common things, they can go to pot very quickly. Shared multiple sets of dishes, shared multiple dining tables, shared dozen chairs, and the list can go on and on. Of course, convincing your wife that she doesn’t need the fine china might be quite a chore. :)

  • alyson osborn Reply

    I want to pare down, but I need help with artwork. That’s what I have the most of (besides books). I have nothing of outrageous value, just many, many pieces that are very, very dear to me: No white space left on walls, and no level surface not holding something I love to look at. Any advice? Please! Thank you.

  • April in CO Reply

    For comparison see _Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel_. Menzel’s schtick was to select 30 different countries and go to each, pick a typical family, and photograph the family members, their dwelling, and all their possessions (arranged outside the dwelling for clarity). Big difference between Texas and Mali. And don’t miss the “Toilets of the World” spread on page 224! I love the trim it down concept and will make further efforts, though 100 hmmm NO WAY will I get there unless I am advised to make a handcart and walk it to Missouri.

  • Amir Reply

    hey dave (if that is your real name!),
    Let me start off by saying that this is very inspirational and motivating. For your intentions and clearheadedness I give you mad props. There is a certain liberating feeling of just throwing shit away from your life (I am a college student so I learn to live with very few things since I am always moving around. My parents also switch our residential locations so I don’t really have a ‘home.’) The moment you cast something away, you feel less tied down, more light, ready to move onto new things.
    But there is still something wrong I find in your approach.
    I think fundamental to the fight against consumerism is a shift in attitude towards material things, not a simple short-term reduction. The idea is to just not care about material things. When I read through your post, one thing stands out for sure: you still place an insane amount of value in material things. They still control you and tie you down heavily.
    The fact that you make this huge deal out of your regiment and methodology, with all these rules and objectives…It’s like you love these things to death but for ‘righteous’ reasons you are abstaining from them, almost in a religious sense. This is not what anti-consumerism is about…it’s about releasing yourself from the realm of property itself…you are still steeped in this realm, you have just shaved some fuzz off the sides to convince yourself you’re improving. Even this calculative way of approaching this is kinda consumerist in it’s own way. You can keep track of things and make a system and calculate the rate of objects and all that, but that’s still putting this immense focus on the products, and doesn’t reflect a turning away from them in any way.
    For example, if I walk into a mall tomorrow and see a yo-yo at the toy store and think, ‘man i haven’t used a yo-yo in a long time. it would bring me great joy to buy this and mess with it for a bit, just for fun.’ the correct response to this instinct is not, ‘oh no wait, that is consumerist, I already have 98 things, and I don’t want to fill up my two spots with this. i had better abstain from this impulse in hopes of serving and satisfying the God named anti-consumerism.’ I think it is totally fine to buy that yo-yo and mess around with it, and then if you get bored maybe give it to some kid to make him happy for a couple of weeks. The point is to not care, to not let the products tie you down. To be able to mess with a yo-yo and then give it away, and find something else to do. The painful abstaining from the yo-yo purchase is still evidence of products and consumerism having a hold on you, controlling you in a fundamental way. It’s a shift in attitude, not a rationalized record that keeps unnecessary detail of all of your possessions. This concept of being able to solve consumerism by making such a product record is itself a manifestation of consumerism.
    Sorry if this comment seemed accusatory/confrontational, I’m writing this in a hurry and didn’t have the time to think of a more balanced, neutral, well-thought out response so I just attacked you haha. But I hope that there is still some inkling of truth in here that affects your quest for the better.
    -Amir

  • Jen Z Reply

    For those of you excited about this concept, but not quite ready to go this bare, start by focusing on getting rid of 49 things – the Feng Shui style of decluttering. It feels so good!
    http://choosetolivelovely.blogspot.com/2010/04/decluttering-feng-shui-style.html

  • Rockchick Reply

    paring down our posessions was my new year’s resolution. we (me, hub, 2 toddler girls, 2 dogs, 1 bunny) live in a 900 sq.ft. home w/no garage. we had a bunch of stuff in a storage unit. after closing out the storage unit ($1200/year could be much more well spent) we began to purge like mad. it’s been wonderful. slowly, slowly, slowly we dug outselves out from all the clutter. i have baskets of materials for home renovation projects, and will be lining our bedroom with bookshelves to house all my books (i refuse to give them up). other than that, we’re becoming pretty spartan. even the kids don’t have a lot of junk. they spend a lot of time outside and in a daycare setting with lots of stuff to play and learn with. i don’t think we’re ready to drop down to 100 personal things, i like my clothes and shoes and books and rocks — geologist, and music collection too much, and the hub has a small antique toy firetruck collection. but i can say we’re much closer than we were 8 months ago. we’re also much better at deciding what we truly need vs. an impulse buy. which makes us calmer and happier, too.

  • Marie Reply

    Lucky guy! You have a lot! Live as a poor man and you will know that your 100 things are just useless!

  • Wasburn Reply

    100 things ? for 1 year ? Where’s the challenge ? Talk to your local hobo about that :(
    There’s nothing admirable about Getting rid of unnecessary luxury.

  • ell Reply

    i never tried to count my possessions. it’d be too hard to define what’s one and what’s many. like in the above example “underwear” = multiple pairs, or “library” = many books, (i admittedly have many, many books that i have not yet even read and do not want to part with – i do however tend to give the books away once i have read them to whomever i think would find joy in the book – or i just leave it on a “trade your book” book cafe when traveling). i have however in the past tried to live by; for every item i buy, throw one out/give away, to not accumulate more, more, and more. this in itself slows down consuming. “what should i toss at the expense of owning the particular item in my hand?”
    best of luck in your mission!
    from a “far-from-perfect-yet-a-trying-not-to-fall-too-deeply-in-the-consumerism-trap” girl

  • Dmetri. Occitani Reply

    this just goes to show that people love lists and lists with the word 100 in them. 100 things, big whoop! ¬†I have maybe 15 things I myself am living with and this dude isn’t counting 1/2 of what he actually owns. the concept is ridiculously obvious to anyone with a brain: a) don’t own crap and b) your crap isn’t what’s important in life…your crap is not what’s going to suck your dick in the morning or make your stomach full. ¬†if you surround yourself with crap, you’ll live in a crappy environment and feel like crap. ¬†I didn’t need some bible-thumping christfag to put this concept in listform so I could get the picture. thanks Bruno!

  • Linda Reply

    This is a great idea! I’ve been procrastinating, but can’t anymore. I have to move and sell my house soon to pay off the bank note or I’ll lose it. The amount of stuff in here is overwhelming. I haven’t started because I don’t even know where to start – but I have to start soon.
    Ten years ago, someone I loved dearly perished in a plane crash and it left a hole in my heart that I think I tried to fill the emptiness with stuff.
    Then my mother got dementia and I cared for her for 8 years, and ended up dealing with her house full of stuff, which was hard to get rid of, since she has been slipping away, the more I lost of her, the more I held onto the stuff she owned, kind of like if I had her stuff, I wouldn’t lose her completely. (She’s in a nursing home now and mostly doesn’t even know me, let alone remember her stuff – but I still have her stuff, mostly in a storage locker.)
    I think some of us try to compensate for the loss of loved ones with stuff. Seems crazy, but I think it’s true for some people. You’re just empty, like a hole in your soul and so you hold onto things.
    So, it’s very timely to find your 100 thing challenge.
    I have about 20 guitars and 10 amps, too, and microphones, stands and recording gear, but no time or even space left to enjoy them. And hundreds of books and CDs.
    I think I’d do well to get down to 200 things, even that would be a major accomplishment to start. Then I could get ruthless and get rid of some more over time.
    I’m pretty much ashamed of myself, but it’s kind of like being ashamed of being sick, isn’t it?
    Anyway, thanks for giving me a way to wrap my head around this problem and put a plan in place. A solid goal is much better than feelings of dread and doom no plan.

  • Kernec Reply

    Isn’t the Bible a book ? Maybe you can put it in your library.
    Look Dave, I made you win 2 more spaces for new items !
    Don’t thank me.

  • HatfieldYvette Reply

    Do not money to buy a car? You not have to worry, just because that is achievable to get the mortgage loans to solve such problems. Thence take a student loan to buy everything you want.

  • ErickaLivingston Reply

    Some specialists claim that mortgage loans aid a lot of people to live their own way, because they are able to feel free to buy necessary things. Furthermore, various banks give term loan for different persons.

  • Eli Reply

    Yes, it’s hard to get rid of your things -in my case clothes and papers- so I asked a friend to come over and help me. She had the energy I lacked and, while I resisted on some occasions, she got me to shift loads of stuff in large bags to give away. A big success and a big pleasure !

  • Karl Reply

    Finally reduced my possessions so I could live abroad! Thanks for inspiring me Dave.
    For those interested, I’m a recent US expat in Germany. Read more on my blog:
    http://chancetoseebeyond.weebly.com/blog.html

  • BowmanCara33 Reply

    I propose not to wait until you earn enough amount of money to buy different goods! You can just get the home loans or bank loan and feel yourself fine

  • Claudia Reply

    This might help:
    I’ve already given hundreds of books away over the years, both passing them on to friends and family to read, (and not asking for them back, but telling them to pass them on!) What good is a book on a shelf? They should be read by as many people as want to read them! I once read a blog about a trend started where someone would leave a book in a public place, (bus, doctor’s waiting room, etc), with a note on the inside cover for people to feel free to take it and read it, but please, when done, leave it in another public place! Very cool idea, don’t you think? Except for the occasional book that you really WILL refer back to and/or need to re-read. Those are fewer than you think! Maybe start paring down your library, aiming for half, then lowering that number,etc.

  • Heidi Reply

    wow! this is very cool. I’m WAY over 100 things in my life, but WAY less than many people who accumulate stuff. Already, I have a habit of deleting one old thing, for any new thing, especially clothing. If I buy a shirt, I take a shirt or two out of my closet. Keeping a “giveaway” box in the closet helps MAJORLY with this. There is a great deal of freedom in practicing this habit.
    Even though I consider myself to be a simple life type, reading your list, I know there is a lot I can delete, especially clothing items.
    thanks for the inspiration. Think I’ll work on this.

  • Heidi Reply

    ha, sorry for two posts so close…my first item is ALSO my ESV Bible! ha!

  • Jenny Reply

    This has become my new hobby…letting go…it talks in the Bible…there is a time for everything…a time to let go and a time to hold on…a time to laugh and a time to cry…this is one of those important “times” in our lives. Nothing is forever as it once was.
    http://www.hotfilemediafire.com
    Jenny

  • Facingthefuture Reply

    Facing the Future just released a FREE curriculum unit about consumption, consumerism, and product lifecycles (Buy, Use, Toss? http://tinyurl.com/25dp4kh). Please share this with like-minded folks, especially educators.

  • Michelle Reply

    I live in Panama and wanted to cut way back on my book collection but my books are in English and I didn’t know where to go. No Goodwill here. Then I got a great idea and called a local youth hostel. She was thrilled to take my books and I am happy to know they will be read by travelers, like myself.

  • Sussan Reply

    nice

  • Sussan Reply

    Thank God I never suffered that. In my house we were always poor and that taught us to understand that money and material stuff are not all. Of course, generic viagra or a new TV we have, but we are not consumerism freaks!

  • acg boots Reply

    The articles you wrote was very good,and since I read it,now I will read every day.and hope you will assit them.please do not lose heart
    We should care about people and things around us. Even though the international economic how to change. Thanks you put this paper in your blog.

  • Christiaan Reply

    And now for a different point of view!:
    I am by instinct a collector of things…most of them were free but perceived to have potential usefulness. Most might be considered tools or materials like nice pieces of wood, metal and spare parts. Also lots of books which are like old friends. Sometimes when I succeed in getting rid of stuff I soon discover that I could have made use of it! In general my possessions give me pleasure but as I age my memory of what I have hidden away has become unreliable and I feel compelled to find or buy new stuff! So I have many duplicates!
    But here is the interesting thing: I like to travel… like walking the Camino in Spain or bicycling long distances over several weeks, or live abroad for over a year at a time as I once did, and you know I never missed or even tought about the stuff I left behind. Yet I suspect that if I settled down in some new country it wouldn’t be long before I began to accumulate stocks of new “junk.” It’s just in my nature-or perhaps it’s simply my hobby- to not to let useful things be discarded or wasted – as so much is in our culture. Cheers, from Chris

  • Brad Collins Reply

    Having lived in the Far East for twenty years, it’s always a shock when I visit the United States to see how many things most people have in their kitchens.
    In Hong Kong and Thailand kitchens are very simple. A chopping board, a wok, a sauce-pan and a large pan for cooking soup, a chinese cleaver (in HK, most Thais don’t like them) or large knife, a paring knife and a mortar and pestle, a one or two burner gas cooker, a large serving spoon, a spatula-like thing for stiring things in the wok (including a cover and a rack for steaming things), a rice cooker.
    We also have a toaster oven, a can opener, a wine bottle opener, a couple of larger pots, spoons and and pans for steaming things in the wok or in the rice-cooker, a vegetable peeler, a special pot for cooking Lao rice, a whetstone for sharpening knives, and a little charcoal BBQ which is little more than a bucket lined with firebrick (which is used as a second burner when we have to cook for a lot of people and that’s about it.
    The only thing I would like to buy is an electric kettle, and once I year I would like an oven so we could cook a turkey for christmas. But other than that I don’t really miss any of the crap that my parents had when I was growing up in New England.
    It’s very easy to cook most things — even popcorn is fast and easy in a wok as long as you keep shaking the wok as it cooks….
    This is one reason that kitchens are so small in Asia — you just don’t need a lot of room. In fact, our kitchen is actually just a tile counter-top under an overhang in the back of our house, the fridge is in the living room.
    In fact there are many other examples of how people in the Far East get along with few possessions or even tools.
    It’s impressive how few tools are used, even by highly skilled professionals.
    I once hired an elderly neighbor to build me a chicken coop. He built the entire thing using nothing but a machette using bamboo from our back yard and rice thatch for the roof. He even made hinges from bamboo.
    The coop lasted five years before we asked him to rebuild it for us. And what did he charge us? A three dollar bottle of whiskey and a bag of ice….

  • Nick Reply

    I love this idea. I think I’m on board. We’ll see how it takes shape though. Great stuff.

  • Michelle Reply

    Hey Dave,
    Thought I would do a quick write-up about The 100 Thing Challenge and how it has helped my life over @familyquilter. I have not reached the point of counting up my 100, but I will have that done by the end of the month! Thanks so much for your help in my life! It’s not everyday that you get to actually have an effect on someones life!

  • LC Reply

    I think all of you guys need to remember that if you take everything you purge, and simply throw it in the trash, and ultimately a landfill, you have defeated the purpose of reversing a “consumerist” lifestyle anyway. So take what you purge and recycle, reuse, or just dispose of responsibly please.

  • alexis wittman Reply

    I have enjoyed another aspect of the simplifying life, perhaps you’ve also done this: When someone compliments me on a ring, or bracelet I am wearing, if the moment is right, I give it to them… delightful for them, but even more so for ME. : )
    Alexis, Portland, Oregon
    also remembering the native tradition of a potlatch – where every single thing one owns is given away to the community on a special day. NOW, that’s tempting.

  • Trinity Reply

    To think that one can live with just one hundred items seems insane, but after following http://www.aguynameddave.com it seemed like a challenge that I couldn’t refuse. I would love to say that I could do this for a year, but with the obligations of our children, the children we take in and the parents in our lives, there is no possible way that I would not be infected with the “stuff” of others. So here it goes, my 100 thing list.
    The list of 100 things
    1. My wedding ring
    2. Beads
    3. Laptop
    4. Blackberry
    5. Lucky Jeans (loose fit )
    6. Lucky Jeans (Straight Leg)
    7. Luck Jeans (Zoe)
    8. Hairbrush
    9. Toothbrush
    10. Flip Flops
    11. Towel
    12. Lip Gloss
    13. Pen
    14. Notebook
    15. Panties
    16. Bra
    17. T Shirt (Black)
    18. T Shirt (white)
    19. T Shirt (Blue)
    20. Dress Black Slacks
    21. Dress Shirt
    22. Sexy Black Shoes
    23. LBD
    24. Hair Clip (Claw)
    25. Socks
    26. Sneakers
    27. Sleepy Pants
    28. Rubber Bands for hair
    29. Keratin Conditioner
    30. Scissors
    31. Breathe Body Soap
    32. Bleach
    33. DVD library
    34. TV
    35. Couch
    36. Wok
    37. Knife
    38. Pot Spoon
    39. Stove
    40. Fridge
    41. Mac #6 Powder
    42. Granny Sheet
    43. Goose Down Pillow
    44. Coffee Cup
    45. Water Bottle
    46. Bible
    47. Personal Book
    48. Car
    49. Razor
    50. Overnight Bag
    51. Purse
    52. Wallet
    53. Passport
    ……….. that’s it so far!!

  • bh Reply

    one might argue what are you saving it all for.. if your not spending it and not using it what are you to do with it??If you dont buy anything what differentiates you to a hobo ?? Is this a catalyst to a life in a shopping cart??? Will you become that hobo that dies with nothing but a million in the bank.. looking forward as the years get on if this movement will transform into the participants into a charitable for the greater good or a hoarder of a different kind..

  • Karen Reply

    Hi Dave!
    I am a friend of your sister, and I just want to congratulate you on your new book! I think your idea about getting down to 100 things in your life is great! Something I would have to work really hard at to do! It is inspiring nonetheless!
    Karen

  • Neal Gorenflo Reply

    I’ve heard that an item that is shared doesn’t count toward the number of items.
    Is this true? What do you all think?

  • Rory Wood Reply

    Thanks for doing this, Dave. I can’t wait to start getting rid of some stuff.
    Referenced your post here, hopefully others will hear your message – http://pursuelife.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/my-five-thing-list-for-the-next-year/
    Thanks again!

  • Adeline Reply

    This is so inspiring ! i gonna compt how much things i have, and see what i can declutter. Simple is better !

  • venson Reply

    Êíë is mean support. i’m agree for you point!

  • Kelly Reply

    I just discovered your website tonight. I started working on getting down to 100 in August, I’m keeping a blog about my journey. Neat to find someone else who has done it! However my goal isn’t for a year, it is for the rest of my life. Looking forward to exploring the rest of your site!
    Kelly
    http://ourroadtosimplicity.blogspot.com/

  • Mikko Reply

    looking at the list i guess the author doesn’t cook much or do household stuff. :)

  • B Reply

    I think you’re missing the entire point of the challenge.

  • Juliana Reply

    For about months now I’ve been slowing getting rid of stuff I don’t use,that just waste space. I think I’m finally ready to start my 100 thing challenge! I found that I have no problem getting of personal stuff the only wall I foresee is getting rid or downsizing my huge dvd collection..which will be the hardest to part!! They take up a good amount of space. But I’m considering counting them as one item..?? Not sure if that counts!

  • Sophie K. Reply

    Hey! What about seasonal items such as skates, rollerblades, sunglasses….
    I have a really hard time getting rid of items that I might find practical such as buttons, a sewing kit, hair elastics for when my hair grows out; it is very short now. A big cup of pencils and pens on my desk that I have trouble simplifying… what is your advice? Mainly, I dont know what to do with my skates and art supplies, that I use about 3-8 times a year.

  • Sophie K. Reply

    Also, what about the few funny neck ties I want to wear on my first date with a really cute girl to make her laugh?
    Is there a best way for me to keep records of people`s addresses and phone numbers while I cannot afford a mobile device to type it all in?
    What about the beautiful pair of earrings i might need to wear on a job interview or family gathering?

  • Bentemiltenburg Reply

    I read about this challenge in a ladies’ magazine I found in the house where I spent my summer vacation.
    The idea sounded really good and immediately I started talking to people around me about how much stuff they think they would be able to get rid of.
    When I got home, I seriously decluttered my house and with help of my boyfriend, brought 5 huge bags and two boxes to the thrift store. With some things I really needed the push of knowing all of you are taking part in the challenge. For example: home decoration items wich I had gotten as a gift from those who are dear to me. Rightnow I have 133 items, this includes all my beauty-stuff and all the things I have in my painting studio. I must say, the house feels a bit empty now but over all it feels like a great learning stage in my life.

  • Benjamin Reply

    I have always been a minimalist at heart, and appreciate the idea of the 100-thing-challenge. I’d love to do this, but have a family that simply could not mesh with the idea. My wife was raised to be a pack rat. You should see my inlaws’ house–they have enough stuff to completely furnish the Smithsonian. When I left home to move out on my own at 23 years of age, an SUV could hold all I had to my name. I enjoyed having fewer things around me. When I got married, I had to move out of the apartment I was staying in and buy a house–just to fit all the stuff that belonged to my wife (enough to fill the cubic volume of a one-car garage). Sheesh! Over the last 9 years, we’ve been able to sell and/or donate about 3/4 of it while acquiring few new items in turn…….it is quite satisfying.

  • Madihah Reply

    Although I’m sure most people know this, I’d be careful with where this extra ‘stuff’ is going. When you receive a gift and give something away in order to maintain your 100 things, you may be contributing (however minimally) to the exorbitant amount of unused crap there already is in this world. Don’t forget reusing and re-evaluating how, where and when to get rid of stuff are still important elements that I don’t think owning 100 things should infringe upon.

  • Andy Reply

    Great idea.
    But don’t you think owning an IPad, the most consumerist, expensive and useless thing in the world, kind of ruins it all?

  • Sarah Reply

    I would like to challenge you to think about paring down your books. Three hundred seems excessive to me. You said many of them are for work but do you really use all 300 of them regularly enough to justify keeping them all. I used to be a huge book collector so I understand the desire to have those book shelves filled with inspiring literature…but I would guess that a lot of what you need could be found at your local library. You could even donate them to you local library and ask if they would consider entering them into their collection. That way, you’ll know they’re there and others can benefit from them as well. I’m an avid reader but I no longer keep any books longer than it takes me to read them.

  • Abadeu Reply

    I could add just a snowboard boats and bindings, and my camera.

  • Michelle Morris Reply

    This is so exciting! I have been trying to eliminate and simplify and when I caught your blog from the 6 o’clock news last nite I was exstatic cause i’m having a tough time figuring out what to get rid of and what to keep.
    Thank you so much for all your helpful information regarding the 100 TC. We are such a wasteful country, when I look at how the people of Tahti are now living and other 3rd world places it amazes me how they survive on a daily basis with nothing.

  • Bobo Reply

    If you really desire to show a minimalist that you appreciate him/her with a gift, it could be with…food/dinner, service oriented gifts (spa, salon), experience/travel gifts, school/classes, and (the ever popular) cash.

  • Jeanne Daningu brg Reply

    Okay, does anyone else see the irony here? Your website says declutter and simplify your life by getting rid of stuff, immediately after which you suggest I buy your book, fan you on facebook, and follow you on twitter! Simple living? You have to be kidding me! Simplicity in life is so much more than the stuff in our closets-it is how we live our lives. The mini-storage facilities populating every town in America are a symptom of a larger problem–our very lives are cluttered with a lot more than material possessions. Your web site is contradictory if I must buy a book and use technology to follow your every move!

  • Rex Reply

    hmm, numbers 17,18,19 on your list (ipad, iphone, macbook) seem to defeat your ideals of curbing “American-style consumerism” and also your #2 “Refuse” to get new stuff….

  • Sharon Reply

    You’ve really inspired me to carefully look at my stuff. I think this puts more value on the things we have. I use to spend $400 on clothes, now I buy something new every couple of months, but I always trade it for something else in my closet. I consciously have to think about whether or not I need it. It always amazes me that people put their junk into storage.

  • Hollie Reply

    Just heard of you and this project today.
    I used to buy anything I saw that I wanted. One day it turned 180 degrees and I wanted to get rid of everything! I’m unsure what prompted this change – I just suddenly felt weight down by all this stuff!
    How hard that is to do!
    Through the past 4 or 5 years I have gotten rid of things – a box here – a couple book there – broken jewelry, gone – silly trinkets given to me by those I love (these are the hardest!) – I try to get rid of everything I can but these items are the biggest part of the challenge. I mean really – what about that ugly seashell necklace made/given to me by a friend who died just a few months later?

    One of the best exercises in this realm for me is to sit somewhere other than my house and write a list of “what I’d keep if I up and moved to another country far far away and had to ship all my possessions.”

    I haven’t done this list in a year or two but maybe it’s time to do it again. Then maybe I’ll look back to those old lists and only keep what made lists 2 years ago AND now.
    Ha! Yeah riiiiight!
    But I’m trying.

  • Mark Reply

    I have post-it note, stuck to the inside of my closet door, that I see each morning. It reads “Get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful, useful, or joyful.” You’re very inspiring in your personal quest. Thanks for sharing.

  • Vasper85 Reply

    I am using technology to help reduce the amount of physical objects I need to possess. For example, why keep hundreds of books when you can get by with one e-reader like Kindle and e-copies of your favourite books? Same with CD’s, DVD’s. Digital storage is getting so cheap and ubiquitious it makes no sense to keep information in it’s analog form. Additionally I use thing like scanners to digitize important documents so I can store them electronically as well. To bad I can’t have digital clothing.

  • OneOfMany Reply

    I became very motivated to rid myself of stuff when I had to clean out the home of a departed in-law. We just threw everything away. I thought that if this is what I am doing to the stuff of a departed loved one, who probably valued these items when they were alive, what’s going to happen to my stuff when I’m gone. Then I thought I’m going to spend time managing all my stuff for 30-40 years just to have my kids throw it away. The bulk of it’s gone and there will be more to go.

  • Sustainable PF Reply

    Glad I dug deeper here. Great site btw.
    We can much better make out 100 list given the parameters you provide.
    We are planning the 100 mile diet this summer for 3-4 months (our opportunity here in Canada for good growing months is limited). You should look into it Dave.
    Cheers,

  • Peg Reply

    I’ve gotten rid of almost everything in the house that I do not use regularly with the exception of my art supplies. They are for the next part of my journey – creating.

    I did keep 2 shelves of tchotchkes that make me very happy to play with – mostly wind up toys and lego masterpieces I’ve built.

    I consider the shelves and the supplies as one “thing” on the list.

    My boyfriend thinks I’m OCD because I’m constantly asking “Do we really need it?” It’s hard for him to let go of things, even if we have multiples. My defense, besides living in a small space is making him watch the TV show “Hoarders”. Better too little than too much!

  • Chris Reply

    About the books–I am an avid reader (about 100 books a year), and last year I got rid of all my books (about 1000 in all). Nothing felt better to have them all gone–they were in boxes, random shelves, etc.

    Now when I read I either use the public library (and then return the book), buy it cheap on Amazon and then trade it in for a credit/or donate it to the library if I think I might want it again, or just use virtual sources–most of the stuff I read is 18th and 19th century literature, so this works really well.

    I’ve found with books that they tend to be an over-rated object–is it the book or the content that really moves us? If it is the story or information then the medium shouldn’t really matter. Also I’ve surprised myself by preferring electronic means of reading over the “book.” Try it for a couple of months–I don’t think that you will miss them once they are gone.

  • AM Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. For a very long time I’ve been wanting to just get rid of absolutelye very thing I own except the basics. For a while, I thought there was something odd about my way of thinking. While my family and friends are striving to gather more and more, I just want to get rid of it all. Now, I can feel assure that I am not the only one desiring a simple life. Free from the stress of ownership.

  • carrie Reply

    what a joke. come on. listing headphones as a line item. get real. and the elite ‘capeline’, (translation: patagonia base layers= mucho dinero.) how about the music in your life. oh yeah, mac book pro (isn’t all from mp3′s? listen no way will i part with my music collection and you conveniently just list library, sneaky.

  • Jared W Reply

    this is a brilliant idea. If you do not mind dave, i would like to write an essay for school about this. if i had this kind of mindset and lived with a family that would let me do it, i would totally do this. i’m a musician, like you, and i can’t live without my instruments and music. those would be the first things on my list: saxophone, guitar, bass, piano, music (albums, ipod, radio, etc.). ide go mad without them. kudos to you, dave

  • Lynda Leonard Reply

    Hi,
    I discovered you Dave in an article in Green LIne here in Santa Fe, NM.

    I want to share that I have a New Year’s Day ritual where I get rid of 108 things. My friend’s are a bit aghast at this symbolic cleansing, as they find themselves wondering what they would let go of.

    Last Year I reduced my belongings to 50 boxes and a few pieces of essential furniture. I had three garage sales and got rid of over 1,000 things. It was great!!!!

    I know when I feel most free is when I have my back pack on and I am heading to the mountains.

    I salute your commitment to manage only 100 things.

    Standing By,

    Lynda Leonard, owner of http://www.northernnaturals.com

  • AK Reply

    It is a very interesting and a realistic article. It makes life way simple and easy to manage and will give a level of patience/control over the wish syndrome. It does not mean not to do any thing but things within limit were always acceptable.

    Dave from our side we would really like to appreciate your thought and effort making people realize the real needs. The problem start once the control factor or sense becomes weeks and it tries to surrender to more wishes. Thus it create a never ending cycle and we fail eventually.

    Good Work..

  • ML Reply

    I think you´re fabulous!!!!!!!!!
    I´d love to give your challenge a try, maybe not 100 things, but par down on what I´ve got. To begin with, I must own at least 100 pairs of shoes!
    And the truth is, I´m not even that much of a consumer. I´m a young mother of two, with a lousy teacher´s salary in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I can´t remember when the last time I bought myself an article of clothing was! All the clothes I own are at least a couple of years old. Which goes to show how expensive raising kids is LOL.
    I know I´m only talking about clothes, but that is my personal challenge. If I should buy something for myself, it´s usually that.
    I think I´ve changed my habits and way of thinking quite a bit during the last few years and it is definitely time to give this a try. It´s gonna be hard, though, I really love all those shoes LOL!!!!!!

  • Phil Reply

    I live a very minimalist life, which, as a single guy, I find a lot easier than some families with several children would.

    I live in a small one bedroom flat ( apartment ) in England.

    The one living room is where I live and I have my possessions and I leave the bedroom completely empty. I love to go in there and just enjoy the emptiness of it, sit on the floor and meditate.

    Living the simple life with no possessions is so satisfying. I open my eyes every morning and look at my simple room, with neutral colours and no clutter and smile to myself.

    I used to get fed up of all the washing up ( dishes ) I had in my kitchen. Then I just got rid of all my china and cutlery apart from one of each. Now I have to wash up after I eat, or I have nothing to eat out of and my kitchen is so easy to clean.

    I made digital copies of all my Mum and Dads photos and put them online, so any of my relatives can view then in the future, if they wish to research their genealogy.
    There is a great music service in the UK called Spotify, which let’s you download any song for a small monthly fee, so that got rid of all my music ( after ripping all my CDs ) and the same with my book collection. I just got Kindle.

    I think, rather than 100 item in all, that it would be better to set a goal of 10 luxury items. Things that you don’t use every day, or are not essential functional items, but just give you pleasure. I luxury list would include my watch, my aftershave and my Buddah statue.

    If I abided by your rules for the list, I would be well within the 100 items, including books, clothes and furniture. I have no bed, sofa, wardrobe or television. I have one wooden seat and a table where I eat and do any writing. It’s a great way of discouraging people from visiting you, if they have to sit on the floor and have nothing to eat out

    I have been praised at work, for my productivity and organisation, even though I don’t own a mobile phone and can only be contacted by email whilst at home. Try it. It works.

    I am a loner, but I enjoy my own company. I have a good job which pays well. I think most of my work collegues think I’m a bit weird, but I take that as a complement. I have visited their houses and, whilst I’m not judgemental, I cannot believe the clutter that some people live in.

    I have lived this style of life for the last 5 years. I have saved thousands and plan to retire early and live my simple life for a lot longer.

  • Rachel Reply

    Let me 100 thing to fight against American-style consumerism – but you advertise on Facebook and on your blog again you advertise about the book at that can be purchased Amazon, Powells and Barnes and Noble so you can add to your “minimal challenge” of 100 things – i don’t work at NASA but i believe that this American-style consumerism that you are against, is rather hypocritical! Hmmmm bit of advise ya might want to re-think this!

  • paolo Reply

    Interesting-
    One question. Did you have to advertise this, really? Have you thought about this question seriously?

  • Desert Hominid Reply

    Only this year I learned of the 100 Thing Challenge. Your level of simplicity confirmed a thought I’d been chewing on for a while, Dave; that the happiest times in my life were when I had the least.

    I live in the Arizona desert now and have never been happier. I don’t ever want to be out of sight of a saguaro cactus ever again.

    Why then do I still have ice axes, crampons, maps of states I’ll never go to again, boxes and boxes of winter clothes, two bikes and all the gear?

    Thanks to the 100 Thing Challange they are all gone now.

    Gone too are the piles of kitchen gadgets, extra plates, glasses, silverware; books I’ve already read, tools I’ll never use again, office supplies and even music CDs. Gone. And boy do I feel great.

    Thanks Dave!

  • Gwen Novak Reply

    The 100 Thing Challenge is great principle for the way of life. Now, if you put all that unneeded stuff into the bin, go and read this book. “Into the wild” by Jon Krakauer. You’ll feel inspired to more.

  • Connie Reply

    I devourered your book and enjoyed it very much. I have been on the quest to simplify my own life and it is a wonderful way to live. I am near finished but no where near owning less than 100 personal items. I don’t believe it is the number that is so important as knowing what is important in life. Thanks for the inspiration and keep writing.

  • Rosa Reply

    June 25, 2011

    I hope this is the right forum for this post. If not, does anybody know what site I should be on?

    Here goes the post:

    I dream about being organized and having space. I really really want it. I wish I had only what I need, had it super-organized, and that all my stuff could fit into maybe five or seven plastic storage tubs.

    Except I can’t start. I just don’t do it and stuff keeps piling up in my house. Yes, I’m seeing a shrink but I’m still not starting. I have done a bit, but the apartment looks much the same. I know I did it, but no one else would.

    I have stuff piled halfway up the walls and blocking every room. My apartment looks like one of those places on Hoarders, but I don’t have garbage around, it’s just STUFF. Catalogs, junk mail, supermarket flyers, mailing boxes from my eBay adventures, even legal and tax papers.

    You can’t turn the heat on in any room unless you want to start a fire. I wash dishes in the bathroom sink. I haven’t seen my kitchen sink or dishwasher in over two years. You can get around my place using little twisty paths between the everything — great balance training and somewhat entertaining to see my little dog hop through the mess.

    I just let stuff pile up and I haven’t unpacked from when I moved into my apartment two years ago. I eat off paper plates because I really can’t find my dishes. I know they’re there someplace, but I don’t know where. I think I’ve bought a lot of things (socks, underwear, shoes) because I can’t find the ones I already own.

    Anybody got motivational ideas? I need to maintain enthusiasm and a positive attitude. That’s hard work. I’ve tried making a list, setting priorities and even doing as much as I can while the bathtub is filling or the coffee is perking. Trouble with a list is it just doesn’t PUSH me. It’s almost as if making the list was enough.

    Thank you in advance!
    Rosa

  • Don Reply

    Living simple! Great idea. But I doubt my wife will give up her airconditioned RAV4 for my UN-airconditioned 1953 GMC pickup.

  • Ruva Reply

    HI dave,
    I was recently at a Development and Peace retreat where a friend told me about the 100 things challenge. I have recently been thinking about how to live more simply and reduce my consumerism. I am very excited and am planning on doing the challenge during the month of october as well as a 100 mile diet. My original plan was to take the things not in my 100 and put them in storage, but I was wondering if that was cheating and I should just give them away? Also I am sixteen and a high school student and I do not want to do the challenge alone, does anyone have any ideas on how to get connect with others who are attempting the challenge? So far I have been receiving a lot of “no ways”.

  • Wallace Aviles Reply

    While I can appreciate the points in About the 100 Thing Challenge | A Guy Named Dave, I am tired and sick of hearing rubbish about the “economic recovery”. The Federal government borrowed and spent $6.1T during the last four years to obtain a cumulative $700B increase in the country’s Gross domestic product. This means we’ve borrowed and spent $8.70 for every $1 of nominal “growth” in GDP. In constant $, GDP is flat, we have no “growth” at all for the $6.1T. In constant US dollars, the gross domestic product in 2011 might return to the 2007 level, if the economy continues “growing” at the same pace reached in the first ninety days of 2011. If not, then the GDP will actually be below pre-recession levels. There is no economic recovery, the numbers prove it.

  • forsakenZen Reply

    Continuing my effort to live as minimally as possible while remaining comfortable and having the “Stuff” I need for work and play, here are the beginning items on my 100 things list. I have excluded appliances that are generally associated with belonging to the house (Stove, fridge, dishwasher, washer/dryer), I have also excluded cleaning supplies, food, cooking utensils, pots, pans, dishes, plates, cups etc… as they are kind of a given in anyone’s situation and can be easily replaced or substituted.

    1. iPhone/Wallet/Keys combo (Listed as 1 item because they are the 3 things that are always with me)

    2. Macbook Pro & carry bag

    3. iPad

    4. Bed (Not much here, just a memory foam mattress, some pillows, sheets and blankets)

    5. 5 Black T-Shirts

    6. 5 White T-Shirts

    7. 5 Pair of Levis

    8. 6 Pair underwear

    9. 6 Pair socks

    10. 4 Pair Black Slacks (for work)

    11. 5 Dress Shirts (for work)

    12. Dress Shoes

    13. Hiking Boots

    14. Flip Flops

    15. Slippers

    16. Bath Robe

    17. Sneakers

    18. Ball Cap

    19. Silly Wizard Hat

    20. Hand Gun

    21. Pocket Knife

    22. Gerber Multi-Tool

    23. Tool set

    24. Car

    25. Passport Wallet (Holds all of my legal docs)

    26. Black Leather Jacket/Hoodie combo

    27. Brown Leather Jacket/Hoodie combo

    28. Small box with some old family photos and heirlooms in it.

    29. Camp Stove

    30. Camp Cooler

    31. Sleeping bag

    32. Camp chair

    33. Camp Table

    34. Camping Utinsils/Tools

    35. Tent

    36. Sleeping Pad

    37. Water bottles

    38. Dogs Meds

    39. Two leashes (One for each Dog)

    40. Dog 1

    41. Dog 2

    *42. Storage box (full of my CD and DVD collection that I never use)

    43. .22 Rifle

    44. Bee-Keeping Jacket

    45. Bee Smoker/Tool

    46. Flashlight

    47. Power inverter for car

    48. Axe and Maul for firewood cutting

    49. Toiletry kit (Tooth Brush, Razor, brush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap)

    50. Truck

    51. Car

    52. Bike (Too come, actually have not purchased new one yet)

    53. 2 Pirate Flags

    54. Sarong 1

    55. Sarong 2

    56. Sarong 3

    57. Sarong 4

    58. Sarong 5

    59. Oil lamp

    60. Djembe Drum

    61. Kilt

    62. 3 belts

    63. Practice Sword

    64. Buddha Statue

    65. Disc Golf bag and Discs

    66. Day Pack (with camelback)

    67. Back Pack

    68. Vacuum Cleaner

    69. 6 Bath Towels

    **70. Sons Laptop

    **80. PS 3

    **81. Xbox 360

    **82. AppleTV

    **83. TV

    **84. A few Games for the consoles

    **85. Stereo system

    **86. Gas Grill

    **87. Pool Table (Cheap small one bought at garage sale for $100)

    **88. Recliner

    **89. Vintage Eames Chair (Bought at thrift store)

    **90. Couch (Yet to be purchased)

    •91. Sons Bed, Linens, Pillows

    •92. Sons Dresser

    •93. Sons Night stand

    •94. iPod Stereo

    •95. 19″ TV

    **96. Desk

    **97. Computer Chair

    **98. 5 Misc. Board Games

    99.

    100.

    * = Something I’m working on getting rid of

    ** = Something shared between myself and my son

    • = Owned by my son, (excluding his clothes and toys which are too many too list but we’ll work on that later =) )

    Well, I thought that was going to be a bit harder but the list above has actually turned out to be an almost comprehensive list of everything I own. I feel pretty good about that. There are a few items not on the list such as a small collection of trinkets and statues, a curio cabinet, a small bookshelf and associated books that I’m working on getting rid of and a few misc things in my shed but all in all I think I can go smaller than the 100 and still be perfectly content and happy.

  • Sara Reply

    I’m trying to figure out the hundred things…but I hit a hundred before even including a can opener, sewing kit, toothbrush, soap and all of those little “necessities” for women! Here’s my list. Where am I going wrong?

    black pants 2
    nice jeans 2
    jeans 1
    khakis 1
    yoga pants 2
    3 piece suit 1
    dress shirts 7
    cardigans 5
    sweaters 2
    socks 7
    underwear 7
    bras 7
    pj bottoms 4
    pj tops 4
    coats 3
    shoes 2
    tshirts 2
    laptop 1
    modem 1
    router 1
    phone 1
    wallet 1
    purse 1
    bag 1
    sheets 2
    towels 2
    pillow 1
    bed 1
    dishes 4
    small dishes 4
    bowls 4
    silverware 12
    glasses 4
    100

  • Dechen Reply

    I am moving in this direction. The year I retired I went and spent almost a year teaching English and living in a monastery in Nepal. I remember looking around my little 10′ x 12′ room and thinking: “Everything I need is here.” Now I’m back to dealing with all the stored-up stuff of a lifetime and gradually sorting through it all and letting go of huge amounts of it…

  • Rebekah Burgess Reply

    @Rosa,

    for your situation, and to encourage you about your clutter woes / declutter desires, google up the Fly Lady. I can not recall her name but she is an American who has written at least one book and talks about the 20-thing-fling boggie, which is putting on music and throwing 20 things you dont need into a bag to give away to an op-shop / thrift shop.

    She is crazy-good and has been there and recovered from clutter just like yours.

    all the best with it!

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