January 4, 2017 Update
1. The following post was written in October 2009. If you want to read an updated version of my story, check out my my book.
3. A Simple Year 2017 is open for registration. The course is the brainchild of my friend Courtney Carver—founder of bemorewithless.com and Project 333—and I’m thrilled to be part of A Simple Year 2017. I hope you’ll join the class!
Enjoy the article!
Living with 72 Things
It’s been 6 months since we began the 100 Thing Challenge. Living with 72 personal things is awesome! My life is streamlined and simplified, which I love.
I was a tad shocked when I started counting because the number of my personal things was fairly low. My initial count included 120 items, but clutter was everywhere. So donating all my excess clothing and trinkets to a local charity was a relief.
I’m glad I started this challenge after we began our downsizing journey. It’s amazing to think we started this process about 2 years ago. At that time, we lived in a huge 2 bedroom apartment, with 2 cars, overflowing closets and a kitchen stuffed with 2 sets of dishes and silverware. It was absolutely ridiculous.
Becoming aware of what consumerism does to the planet and the negative impact it has on our life energy is a powerful thing. Now don’t get me wrong, I still get sucked into consumerism (a.k.a. iPhone lust). But at least I’m not telling Logan I “need” another diamond ring.
I hope the lessons we’ve learned will encourage you to downsize and try the 100 Thing Challenge.
Below is a quick list of tips that will get you going…
1. Start small
You don’t have to get rid of all our stuff to start this challenge. Take small steps everyday. For instance, you could donate 10 items a week to the charity of your choice.
2. Say no to recreational shopping and excessive advertising
Staying out of the malls is a must. Stepping away from consumerism is one of the reasons I’m participating in this challenge. So if I don’t go shopping, I won’t come home with stuff I don’t need or want. Also, we don’t own a T.V. and that limits the amount of advertisements we are exposed too.
3. Have patience
Downsizing is a process, so don’t be hard on yourself if you are having a hard time exiting the consumer lifestyle. Have patience and find a support network. Friends, family and the social networks have helped us stick to the challenge and be successful.
4. Stuff is a burden
Too much stuff is a burden. Especially, when it comes to cleaning and moving. Being clutter free means I don’t have to spend an excess amount of time cleaning trinkets or vacuuming up kitten hair from the couch. Plus, moving is a breeze. No more big trucks or U-hauls for us. 🙂
5. Clutter is a form of procrastination
When our houses or offices get piled with clutter, much of the reason is procrastination.
We all procrastinate — let’s just get that out in the open. There’s not a one of us who doesn’t, to some degree.
But while our tasks and projects can pile up, giving us some anxiety, the clutter is a visual sign of that procrastination, and carries with it just as much anxiety.
6. Consider creating your own rule list
In some ways the 100 Thing Challenge seems arbitrary, but in the end I think it’s a good exercise. No matter how much stuff you have, this challenge will force you to inventory your possessions, examine your buying patterns and ultimately life goals. The biggest challenge associated with this project is deciding what to count and what not to count.
What we’re doing now…
Right now we taking an inventory of our household items and doing another round of decluttering.