Monday, June 16, 2008

The 100 Thing Challenge

If you thought that I was being rather severe when I said that I will give away an item of clothing if I haven't worn it in the last year, wait till you hear about Dave Bruno.

Dave Bruno is really into minimalism. Not only as far as his closet goes, but for all of his possessions. He began what has now become a grass-roots movement called "The 100 Thing Challenge." The goal: pare down your possessions to a mere 100. And that includes clothes!

In an article titled "How to Live With Just 100 Things" in the June 5th issue of Time Magazine, Bruno admits he is down to five dress shirts and one necktie...but wasn't sure whether to give away one of his three pairs of jeans. However, he does count a pair of shoes as only one item.

This is not the first exercise in minimalism that has caught the public's attention. In 2005 Alex Martin started a performance project where she wore the same brown dress for 365 days in a row. You can read about her project at brown dress . The most amazing thing that she discovered was that the majority of people in her professional life didn't even notice she was wearing the same dress day in and day out!

Now I do have to say that both the exercises mentioned above are far more extreme than I would ever recommend to a client, let alone follow myself. Even so, when I share with clients my slightly more generous philosphy of paring down a closet, many of them initially balk at the idea of having "too few clothes." They can't imagine surviving with "so little." However, after doing the work of weeding out, they soon discover that having less is actually the key to developing that great wardrobe they've always wanted.

So even though I won't be joining Dave Bruno in his "100 Thing Challenge" anytime soon, I'd like to thank him and all his followers for demonstrating that not only is it possible, but perhaps also desirable to get by with fewer items in the closet.

(For more information on wardrobe planning, or to sign up for my free E-Zine, please visit my website.)

13 comments:

RobFromGa said...

Very interesting... It is always good to look at the extremes.

I wonder if the "100 thing" guy counts his digital possessions- music, video, etc. or each book as things. Or does the computer count as one, the iPod as one, etc...

I just counted the number of things on my main desk-- 171.

And that is without counting pens, sharpies, pencils...My computer counted as one thing but it hold many thousands of things...

Sue said...

It reminds me of my childhood where we had minimal possessions simply as a way of life as did most people (except the 'rich'). That was BCC (before credit cards) which some of you may not have experienced. If we only bought things we could afford with cash, after allowing for all payments we already owe, we would automatically minimize the amount of 'stuff' we have. Since I have thousands of books alone, this is a very tough one. Maybe, I could chose a larger number and try that (1,000,000? items). My main desk is also well over 100 items. I think there are over 50 items in the 2 loads of laundry going right now and ... over 50 items in the dishwasher too. hmmmm

Matthew Shields said...

Wow
Now that is a bit on the OCD side of life I would say. I can't remember if I have told you this before or not. I saw a special on omish a while back. The compaired their lifestyle to that of other cultures and found them to be the happiest...Would you give up most of your things to be happy?
Focus Your Energy

Scott Bel said...

I am with Sue, as a kid we had a minimal amount of things. We only bought what we actually had money to buy. But 100 things seems a bit over the top.

Scott A Bell

http://www.scottalexanderbell.com

Slenzo said...

My sister and her husband sold their house and everthing they owned except for what fit in 3 suitcases and moved to China four years ago to teach. They are happy and lead interesting useful lives. It wouldn't be for me, but in their retirement, it works for them.

Sheridan said...

Recession: understated elegance is in. Simplicity is in.

Here's to hoping minimal replaces ugly. Perhaps minimal can wend its way to elegant. Maybe too much to hope for...

Sheridan

Aaron said...

Oh, if only my wife were up to the 100 thing challenge. I would settle for just 100 things in her closet! :)

Aaron

Lisa M. McLellan said...

I'll take that challenge so long as you add nothing to it. Zero is nothing, right? so then just add 3 or 4 zeros to the end of that 100 and I promise to take the challenge!

drpeter said...

I have a hard time traveling with only 100 things.

Dr Helton, making your skin beautiful without surgery, nationally renowned Cosmetic Dermatologist

S Chambers said...

It is amazing to think about how much we think we "need" things. The indoctrination begins early and is relentless throughout our lives.

We all can really live on much less than we do. All it takes is conscious effort.

Steve Chambers, Sales Training Expert

David Power said...

yeh its interesting just how much we hold on to things emotionally eventhough physically we no longer need them

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

No. Just no.

Can you imagine us with only 100 books?

Now I appreciate the idea of a fast, and find all of this a good exercise. But NO.

But I'm also a proponent of large families and the closeness and stability they foster. In fact, you HAVE to share then and CONSUME STUFF less.

Great to be challenged by you, Jennifer.

All the best,


April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

Sue's comment is certainly though provoking. Indeed, I remember when BankAmericaCard (which I think later became Visa) was advertised in the 1970s.

Now there are certain things like my FSA - Medical Spending Account, is done with a VISA. I LOVE that. Then I don't have to pay twice and carrying around all the receipts.

But like she also said, we have LOTS of books. Me, too.

But it IS a good reminder.

I was just at McDonald's the other day (you all are already laughing now) and I saw the toys for the Happy Meals. And thought, "No." The toys for the kids are just ONE MORE FRIGGING THING to have, to steward, to get ride of. Just "No."

But a Happy Meal is actually about 1 portion size for an adult.

Having this to remind us to declutter and to put some perspective on American culture where we have way TOO MUCH STUFF still doesn't = Happiness.

Matt's dates and their shoe shopping could use learning that but just haven't yet hit that point in life as the foundation for their Romantic Relationships. Which is why more of my clients for as a Romance Coach are over 32 years old. Quite often until then, they are not YET really LOOKING to create a Life Partner Romantic Relationship. And then they realize, "I've been dating for awhile, and yet I'm still wondering HOW to find a husband." They are wondering "How to get married." (not Steve Chambers, of course) Well, that's when they find me and approach me to help them with Romance Coaching. Some will use the Online Dating Coaching, while others are already IN a ROmantic Relationship and are looking for some Relationship Coaching assistance.

I LOVE Lisa's thinking. VERY creative. What a Hot Mama!

No. Just no.

Can you imagine us with only 100 books?

Now I appreciate the idea of a fast, and find all of this a good exercise. But NO.

But I'm also a proponent of large families and the closeness and stability they foster. In fact, you HAVE to share then and CONSUME STUFF less.

Great to be challenged by you, Jennifer.

All the best,


April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach