August 13, 2010

The 100 Thing Challenge.

Could you reduce your belongings to just 100 personal items?

David Michael Bruno, the mind behind the 100 Thing Challenge, thinks you can.

The NYTimes’ Stephanie Rosenbloom describes a west-coast couple who took on the challenge:

Inspired by books and blog entries about living simply, Ms. Strobel and her husband, Logan Smith, both 31, began donating some of their belongings to charity. As the months passed, out went stacks of sweaters, shoes, books, pots and pans, even the television after a trial separation during which it was relegated to a closet. Eventually, they got rid of their cars, too. Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

The brave couple now lives in a 400-square-foot Portland studio. Ms. Strobel has taken a 50% pay cut and reports having more time than ever to travel and make new memories. She’s been so pleased she’s now encouraging others to try Bruno’s method of voluntary simplicity.

Bruno summarizes his challenge in three alliterative steps:

Reduce (get rid of some of your stuff)

Refuse (to get more new stuff)

Rejigger (your priorities)

The 100 Thing Challenge is just one among many in a resurgence of efforts to downsize, joining the company of freegans, locavores, No Impact Man, the guy who took a picture of every piece of trash he put in the waste bin, and good ol’ hippies.

Recession, as it turns out, ends up being a pretty good time to reassess.


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