100 thing challenge

How many items do you think you own?

How many items do you think are in the average American household?

Well the answer is 300000. That’s not a misprint. That, my friends, is a lot of stuff. We have stuff everywhere. In the attic, in the closets, in the garage and in storage.

Why is this the case? Well there a probably a number of reasons for this.

We are marketed to 24/7. We are taught that to buy things is a measure of success; that we have to keep up with our neighbors.

I think a lot of you are realizing that having more stuff does not automatically equal happiness or contentment(which is different for each individual). In fact the opposite seems to be true. People who declutter and purge their possessions report higher levels of happiness.

So could you live with 100 things or less? Why would you even want to?

    To help you declutter your home.
    To make you realize what’s necessary, and what you love, and what you don’t need.
    To free yourself of the burden of possessions.
    For fun.(yes really)
    To force you to stick to the limit, even if you get new things.

Now make no mistake, even though I identify as a minimalist, I certainly have much more than 100 things. It is a concept that intrigues me though. I was fortunate enough to spend a summer backpacking on my own through Europe in the summer of 2009.

All I had was one small backpack and maybe 10 items. And it was awesome. I could carry it on different discount airlines so it made my adventure that much sweeter.

Anyway, if the idea of living with 100 things or less even remotely appeals to you, you will need to start giving some serious thought to what is important in your life. Isn’t that what living a minimalist lifestyle really is; figuring out what is truly important and getting rid of everything else? Hell, even if you do not envision yourself paring your possessions down that far it is a powerful mental exercise to perform.

100 thing challenge

1. Take stock. You will have to go through every item that you own. Hold it and figure out if you need it. This could take some time, and the amount of time it takes to catalog your material goods might prove once and for all that you have way too much stuff.

2. Being able to live with 100 items or less isn’t about denying yourself joy, it’s about finding pleasure in simplicity. If you truly value something, then by all means keep it. Joy trumps simplicity.

3. You make the rules for your list. If you want to group all t-shirts as 1 item , go for it. You make the rules. Be as lenient or as ruthless as you want/need to be.

4. When is the last time you used it? I too have stuff that I have not used in months. Holding onto something just because you “might need it someday”, may not be a good mindset to have. So if you have not used it in the past 12 months(?), it is time to let it go.

5. Redo the purge. A few months after you go through this exercise of living with 100 items or less it would a good idea to go through the process again. If we do not stay on top of it, items can start to come back into our lives.

6. Your actual end number is not as important as the overall exercise of trying to reduce your total number of possessions.

100 items or less challenge

Also please check out what Courtney Carver at BeMoreWithLess had to say about her own 100 Thing Challenge.

If you decide to try to live with 100 Things or less, just remember that it may prove to be a monumental task. You will be forced to ask yourself some tough questions about the things that you own and why you have them. Hell, you may not like the feelings you have.

Have you tried to live with 100 things or less? Share your story in the comments.

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“Live Simply”

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