Thursday, June 19, 2008

100 Things Challenge

So have you heard about this particular challenge to our madcrazy consumeristic world? It's a movement, as some call it, to limit our personal belongings to 100 things. But really, it's a guy named Dave, blogging at stuckinstuff (click post title for link) He's concerned about the rampant, unconscious, unconsidered consumerism we suffer from and the small mountains of stuff that subsequently accrete around each and every one of us (cue George Carlin on Stuff:

Doing his bit for Less Stuff = More Fun, Dave's been working on purging his own pile.

But as any of us who have repeatedly failed De-Cluttering 101, purging is a helluva lot harder than acquiring. So Dave gave himself this challenge: pare down to 100 personal items. Yes, faint if you must, because I just about did. I mean, I have at least 50 tchotchkes on my desk right now. Maybe, just maybe, I could get down to 1000 items, if there was like, money involved, say $10 an item disposed of..... What I find more interesting in conversations with friends and online are the things that are immediately declared off limits to the decree: books, dvds, records, tools, shoes, unders, paintings, photographs, bug collections, car paraphernalia, inherited ancestral stuff. Where would you draw the line?

And then what to do with the stuff you can finally bear to part with?

I certainly don't want to just dump stuff, especially indestructible plastic, into the waste-stream. This guy named Dave has managed to donate, sell and recycle most of his stuff (not all of it was junk, that helped) and I could probably do the same with some of it. But, getting beyond the question of why I still have this crapola, consider what I wouldn't want to just toss and no one in their right mind could possibly want: old analog tapes, Beta tapes, teething rings, cracked Tupperware, parts of machines the kids took apart, plastic doodads, thingamajigs, lick'em-ups and wham-whams. Guess I could stuff it all into boxes and then store them in the basement? Yikes, isn't this where we started? Wouldn't those those boxes have to be declared off limits. too?

It is all a bit much. Perhaps I'll resort to an old practice and just try to remove at least one thing from my household per day by whatever means possible: recycle, sell, donate. That too is harder than it sounds. I tried this a few years ago and I only lasted two weeks.

Say, anyone interested in a hot tub?


  1. I attended an auction, also attended by someone who had the misfortune of losing his home by fire, and he was attempting fill his new house by attending auctions, using a money provided by the insurance company. Along with the usual items, tables chairs candlesticks ant the like, he also purchased a large number of boxes of clutter at a good price. these boxes were full of the odds and ends of life, parts of this and that, broken x mas tree ornaments and the like. It was enough to make me think long and hard about my habits, but unfortunately, not nearly long or hard enough.
    100 items is an interesting idea. One question: if I own a bike, and I buy a light for the bike, is that one item or two?

  2.'s as if we want not only what we need, but tangible evidence of having more than what we need.

    100 items is damn tough. I'm ready to settle for an average of 100 items per room.

    thanks for the story, Toumi. As for the bike question, once the light is attached to the bike, I'd say it had lost its unique identity and the two things would become one.



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