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100 Thing Challenge

I recently came across the “100 Thing Challenge” which started life as a personal challenge set by the US blogger “guy named dave” and which has now gathered quite a following. Dave challenged himself to live for a year with only 100 personal belongings by which he meant nothing shared (he has a wife and 2 daughters) and nothing essential. Interestingly it took Dave 12 months to get down to the 100 things, partly as he wanted to re-evaluate aspects of his life and because he wanted to dispose of the other items sensibly.

At first glance this may seem like an enormous challenge. But then in the early 1990s when I purchased my first home, a small one-bedroom flat, due to a chronic lack of storage space my belongings would most definitely have met Dave’s criteria! I arrived at that flat with all my worldly goods packed in a Transit van. I lived quite happily, constrained by my space issues, for nearly 6 years. If I bought any new items into the flat, something had to go to. And then when I moved up the housing ladder and bought a 2.5 bedroom flat the old saying of “your belongings expand into the space available” came true! Friends helped me move into this flat with the aid of a Luton van and an estate car but when I left 3 years later (having acquired a husband-to-be on the way) we had a professional moving company plus lorry to take us to our first house. And I daren’t admit to the scale of the last move but by then we had one daughter and another on the way.

In his book about his experience (The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno) Dave is very open and honest about how he had accumulated many of the possessions he shed before the challenge year. As I read his book I could see parallels with items in my house. So I am digging out the sports equipment that hasn’t been used since before we had the girls and admitting to myself that I am unlikely to ever play squash again. My eBay account has been active recently and an amazing amount of stuff taken to the tip.

I am not sure I am ready to set myself a 100 thing challenge but by reading Dave’s experience it has made me look at my personal belongings with fresh eyes.


1 Mairead { 05.30.11 at 9:50 pm }

I will have to look into this. By “things” surely he didn’t also include clothes? I have over 20 pairs of shoes and not sure if I am ready to give them up, having spent most of my youth with about three pairs! Or CDs – we have hundreds between us! Strangely I now give away most books I read, only keep a select few. We are also seriously stuck for space in this house, so like you say, when something gets brought in, something usually has to go. We still have little or nothing on the walls as we like the uncluttered feel, but I struggle every day to keep my corner of the bedroom free from a growing pile of ironing, books, papers, phone chargers and lunghis. I shall read more and see how far I have to go!

2 Mairead { 05.30.11 at 10:04 pm }

Although, I admit I have a long way to go. I now routinely walk around with three i-devices in my handbag and am reluctant to give up on any of them (except the work phone at weekends!).

3 Mairead { 05.30.11 at 10:04 pm }

Hmm just counted and in our living room alone there are 35 items including all stereo/TV equipment, 4 cushions, 4 tealight holders and not including the clothes horse of clothes drying by the fire! There are only 11 in the dining area including 5 chairs (the sixth is in the bedroom) and Orlando’s bass guitar. No, 12 including the amp.

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