TIME magazine ran a story last year on a grass-roots movement called the 100 Thing Challenge. Started by a guy named Dave Bruno, it's where "otherwise seemingly normal folks are pledging to whittle down their possessions to a mere 100 items." Dave published his own list of 100 Things on his blog and has pledged to live on those 100 Things for one year, which he began November 12, 2008.
As a rabid fan of getting rid of stuff cluttering my house, garage and shed that we don't use anymore, the headline got my attention. I'm not making the same pledge just yet, but I am going through the process of creating my list of 100 Things, just to see what it looks like. (Note: however, see my invitation below)
But the point isn't to permanently live on just 100 Things - Dave himself is only committing to this lifestyle for one year. The point is to consciously think about your values, and commit to a lifestyle that reflects what's important to you - and nothing more. Aside from clearing out unneeded stuff, there are two benefits I see in the 100 Thing Challenge.
- It enables you to spend your time, energy and money on those really meaningful activiites that you love to do instead of on the meaningless activities you had to do. Wouldn't you rather spend a Saturday enjoying your favorite hobby instead of organizing the garage or shed?
- It helps you live within your means and to save more for the future. It's not a coincidence that as lifestyles have risen over the past two decades, personal debt has skyrocketed and the savings rate has tanked. It's a simple trade-off - own less stuff now - have more money for retirement.
For practicality reasons, the definition of 100 Things has some flexibility - two shoes are only one pair and a full toolbox counts as one item. You can interpret 100 Things as you wish but, like many things in life, it's better to be honest with yourself.
While I haven't committed to living on 100 Things just yet, if I get enough people who want to join me in the challenge I'll do it. We could create our own blog on my site where those who are taking up the challenge could share their thoughts, lists, successes, etc. I believe it would be a great experience in getting in touch with your personal values, and creating a happier life. Who's up to doing the 100 Thing Challenge?