The 100 Thing Challenge
The 100 Thing Challenge- a book a just read with a great central idea (though the book itself is not great). This is a challenge to simplify your life by reducing your personal possessions to only 100 things.
With my mobile & nomadic lifestyle, I found the idea immediately appealing.
Over the past few years I’ve managed to accumulate quite a few things. Gradually, when traveling, my suitcases have gotten bigger and fuller.
Lately, Thoreau’s words have echoed in my head: the things you own end up owning you.
The word “Simplify” has been repeatedly in my mind.
And so I’ve decided to take the “100 Thing Challenge”, with modifications.
First modification: changing it to the 150 Thing Challenge. I’ve decided to include both my personal and our business possessions and reduce the combined total to 150 things or less.
I find this is a nice game for imposing discipline on the practice of simplifying.
Here are the “rules” I’m following for this game:
1. MY Possessions Only
I’m not imposing this challenge on my wife or on business partners. Therefore certain shared items will not count, for example: bed & bedding, pot, table, 2 chairs. I WILL count my own bowl, plate, and utensils in the list.
2. THINGS Only
This challenge applies only to physical things… not to “digital” possessions nor to abstract possessions (ie. money, ideas, copyrights, etc.).
3. Certain Sets Counted as One
Certain sets of things will be counted as one. For example, a pair of sox will count as one possession, not two. Likewise, an ipod with headphones and charging cables will count as one, not as three things.
4. Food Items Exempt
I’m not counting food, vitamins, or drinks… as these are consumable and I prefer not to fret about how many food items I have in my fridge at one time!
5. This is a Process
At the moment we have things stored on the Mainland USA. I’ll be starting my simplification process without access to these things. So for the next 9 months or so, the 150 Thing list will apply only to possessions I have access to in Japan and during travels (both counted). Eventually I’ll go through our storage and apply the game rules to my personal stored possessions too.
As we hit the road, I’m looking forward to this game. I find that travel, for example, is MUCH more enjoyable when done lightly and simply. The more stuff I have to carry, the more stressed I get when flying and moving around. Likewise, the airport security theater-of-the-absurd is a lot easier when traveling very light.
Whenever possible I’ll be using the digital version of things… especially books (Kindle). I now prefer to buy books on the kindle, which allows me to carry an entire library with only one physical thing- the kindle. Likewise, I can carry pictures of family and friends in digital version on my laptop… counting as only one thing (and therefore much lighter and more mobile).
B. Rent Instead of Buying
Renting is much more mobile than buying. This is the main reason I don’t own a house. By renting I’m able to take up and go anytime I want. Likewise, most of the places we go don’t require us to have a car… so when we do need a car it’s much easier (and much cheaper) to just rent one when needed. This is also true of certain kinds of gear (ie. snowboarding, wetsuits, scuba gear etc.) that are bulky and only needed/used sporadically.
C. Wash Dishes Nightly
I only need one bowl, one plate, one spork, one cup and one knife personally. I do quite nicely with this (or less) when backpacking, so no need for an entire kitchen set at home either. This makes washing dishes very simple… just wash one set (per person) immediately after each meal! For cooking, one good cook knife is enough for most pro chefs, so it’s certainly enough for me!