The 100 Thing Challenge
In 2008 Dave Bruno challenged himself to live with 100 things to break free of his materialistic tendencies and to seek a simpler life. He was a husband and father of three daughters at the time, so his 100 things did not include anything connected with other family members. His book outlines his personal history, his process of reducing to 100 things, and his summarizing thoughts.
To be perfectly honest, I skimmed through a lot of the book. There is a lot of ranting against consumerism that personally doesn’t ignite my desire to keep things simple. I don’t disagree that the American lifestyle is one that is decadent, or that many Americans mindlessly consume in pursuit of the next “shiny” thing. I don't need to hear about numbers. I need to hear your story. Click To Tweet
When I read the title I hesitated to pick it up from the library. There was no way my family would be able to reduce our items to 100 things. I wasn’t sure if I alone would ever be able to get my personal items down to 100 things. I wasn’t going to try, but I was curious.
Dave Bruno’s 100 things did not include:
- Stuff that’s shared between him and other family members.
- Non-personal stuff, like dishes, cleaning supplies, etc.
- Collections count as one item.
Here are some particularly poignant statements from the book:
“After purging my toy trains and rock climbing gear, it was so nice to no longer be burdened by what had gone unrealized in my past” p. 67
“The 100 thing challenge freed me up to more honestly explore hope for my failure.” p. 72
“It was really hard to get rid of some of that stuff. Most of all, it was tough to give up my hope of being someone I am not and not likely to become…Looking ahead to my year of living with few possessions, I felt like I had room now for something else.” p. 85
“American style consumerism promotes the action of shopping for ourselves without nurturing the attitude of knowing ourselves.” p. 96
The three R’s
I could not relate to Dave Bruno’s “stupid consumption” (as he calls it). However, I could relate to his holding onto things from the past in the hopes that they might become “realized”: old hobbies, clothes that are too small, sports that were a fleeting interest. In the 30 day minimalism game, there was a repeated theme of people finally giving up items that they had held onto because of those “unrealized hopes”.What things are you holding onto because of unrealized hopes? Click To Tweet
As Dave Bruno writes, however, giving those things up makes room for new things in the present and the future. It unburdens us and allows us discover and accept what our true joys are and what our true size is!
Dave Bruno ends the book with the encouragement to Reduce, Refuse, and Rejigger.
- Reduce the items that we possess, whether that is 100, 500, or 1000 things.
- Refuse to add new things to your life by falling back into mindless consumption.
- Rejigger your priorities and live according to your newly discovered priorities.
Have you tried to reduce your items to a set number? If not, would you like to?
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