The 100 Thing Challenge

The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul, by Dave Bruno.  Harper, 2010.

Dave Bruno, a fairly average guy, decides to set himself the challenge of living for a year with only 100 things for his personal use. He spends a year reducing his possessions down to that number, and setting the rules of how he will proceed. I really liked that the guy was thinking and blogging about this, honestly trying to stop buying stuff that leads to clutter and no additional happiness, followed his plan for a year and wrote a book about it. He stopped going to malls and doesn’t own a TV. His wife and three daughters are OK with him doing the challenge although they don’t set themselves the same challenge. By the end of the challenge year, he seems to have changed in ways that will last.
On closer examination, however, his actual number of possessions is far greater than 100, once you understand what he has excluded from his list. He counts all his books as one thing–the “library”–and also counts his socks, undershirts and underwear as three single items. Anything shared with other family members is completely excluded, which is huge: he excludes all home furnishings (except five items used exclusively by him); all bedding and other linens; everything in the kitchen; and washer/dryer/laundry supplies. He doesn’t include a comb, shampoo, dental floss, even a bed pillow. Much of what is on his list are tech items and adventure gear. So really it should be called “The 100 Thing Clothes and Toys Challenge.” However, any effort at lifestyle change along these lines should be encouraged, so I don’t mean to criticize, just to point out his exclusions so that other people who haven’t read the book won’t say, “Oh, I could never live with just 100 things.”

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