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?
This post will be shared at these link ups.
What an interesting idea! I don’t know that I could ever limit myself to 100 things, but I’m interested anyway.
Hi Samantha! I don’t know if I could ever reduce down to 100 either, but I love seeing how people challenge themselves to reduce. I can often find inspiration and modify if needed for my lifestyle.
Shreyashi Ganguly says
I don’t think I will be able to do this, tempting though breaking free might me. #LFEO
I honestly don’t think I could do this either Shreyashi, but I am trying to do the first and second R’s – Reduce and Refuse. That’s easy for 1 person, but harder in a family of 5! We are getting better as a family though after doing the minsgame challenge. Thanks for dropping by!
Thanks for stopping by Grammie Time and commenting on my Blogger in Review post. This post I can relate too. My house, my life needs to be clutter free for me to literally function. I have my daughter and her family living with me right now and it has stressed me a bit having “more stuff” around. Yet, I know it is temporary so I’ve been able to deal with it. But, I understand about having your space clutter free. It is freeing, it is simplifying one area to make room for another. Thanks for sharing this. I posted on Google Plus.
Thanks for sharing Michelle! We’re working on getting our space clutter free but with 3 kids and 2 cats it’s not always easy!
I’ve never heard of this book before, but it sounds like an interesting concept. I don’t think I could ever live with just 100 things, but it is good motivation to reduce.
I agree Shann! Thanks for reading and commenting.
I don’t think I have any desire to reduce my possessions to a certain number. To me, that seems more gimmicky and less genuine. I understand the reasoning behind minimalism, and I can see how setting a specific number can help you purge things you don’t want to get rid of, but something about counting your possessions doesn’t sit well with me.
Im with you Abby! My goal is to reduce so we are actually using the things we have in our home – not just storing and ignoring!
Nicole Escat says
This is my fiirst time to heard this book, and I’m not a book lover but I bet this book, and I want to spend my time with this.
I’d love to hear what you think if you read it Nicole!
Christy King (@SimpleWhiteRab) says
I’m not interested in counting what I own. To me, if you’re counting, you’re still focusing too much on possessions.
We focus more on what we actually use – and what will fit in the smaller space we chose to allot for our possessions when we voluntarily downsized to about half the space (now living in 1250 square feet).
You make an excellent point Christy. That is my goal too. Focusing on the numbers during the minsgame was interesting but only for the short term!
I imagine if I didn’t count books, shared possessions, and household items, I would suddenly find that I “own” way less that I thought!
However, I do like the idea of letting go of things that tie you to unrealized ideas or goals. I read somewhere once that every time you don’t finish something, your subconscious remembers that it still has that thing to do, even if you don’t remember. I can’t say if that is true or not, but I do know this: I am a quilter and I recently went through all my projects that I had lost interest in, all my fabric that I still couldn’t figure out a use for, etc. and donated them to Project Linus. I kept 3-4 projects that I wanted to complete. I freed up a tons of space and feel decidedly freer afterwards.
Good for you Jill! I love Project Linus. It sounds like a win-win. I recently donated/threw out all of my yarn that I wasn’t using except for 2 balls tat I plan on crocheting a cowl scarf with.
Wow! 100 things is WAY too restrictive for me! But, working on not having a materialistic mind set- that I can get behind!
Heather @ Simply Save says
After the Minsgame, this book really has me curious! I am trying not to buy or borrow any new books this year, but I’m going to add this to my wish list! Thanks for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday Linkup!
Hi Heather! Your local library probably has it! That’s how I borrowed and read it
Gaye @CalmHealthySexy says
The idea of objects representing “unrealized hopes” is very poignant. That alone makes it so hard to let go of some things. Thanks so much for sharing with the Let’s Get Real party.