The 100 thing challenge

I have been reading a lot lately about breaking the cycle of consumerism. There are a lot of great websites out there devoted to this (and yet, you’re reading mine. Not sure why…). One that really inspired me was a website called He came up with a crazy concept a couple years ago called the 100 thing challenge. Getting fed up with the sheer amount of stuff invading his life he elected to simplify and get down to 100 personal belongings. He wrote a book about it, titled, appropriately, the 100 Thing Challenge. Bonus points for creativity, right? Anyway, the premise of this was that he sold off belongings and got down to under 100 personal belongings. He committed to living that way for a year. Simplicity at it’s finest. So I got to thinking about how much stuff I owned and decided to count. Thus begun my own 100 thing challenge. Of course, the amount you own is truly irrelevant. The goal is just to not have excess in your life. For everything to have a purpose. Here is the list of everything I own:

1. 15″ MacBook Pro. This computer has been a rock for me. I bought it in June 2007. I have traveled the country with it. It survived 3 months in Haiti. It keeps ticking. I have made some upgrades to it, namely bigger hard drive and more memory. It’s served me well. Of course, every computer needs some accessories, so….
2. Rain M-Stand. Keeps the computer at a better eye height when used at a desk.
3. Apple aluminum wired keyboard. When working at a desk, this is invaluable. I like having the number pad, too.
4. Logitech mouse/Iowa Hawkeye mousepad. I love this mouse. It’s wireless, ergonomic, programmable. The mousepad works with it. Duh. Some of you may consider this cheating, but I am grouping a few things together for the purpose of the list. I never use the mouse without the mousepad and vice-versa. Plus, it’s my list, so there…
5. Iomega MiniMax 750 gb. Combination back-up had drive and USB/FireWire hub. You need a back up hard drive. Hubs are necessary when using a laptop. I’ve had this for about 4 years, and bought it used. Never has it failed me.
6. WD 500 gb hard drive. This one is specifically for my iTunes folder. I have over 12,000 songs. I have 150 movies. All are digital and stored on here. Enabled me to sell every cd and dvd i own. The internal 500 gb on my computer just didn’t cut it.
7. Incase backpack. Fuzzy lined to protect the aforementioned MBP. Plenty of pockets for anything I need to carry.
8. Miscellaneous cables for the computer. USB. FireWire. 1/8″ audio cable. All necessary. I used to have a ton of cables. Cables for anything you could imagine. I got rid of those last year. Gave them to Bucky, with a few to my dad. Bucky is one of the few people I know who would appreciate a drawer full of cables.
9. Lamp. I like this lamp. It sits at my “desk”. It looks a little like the Pixar lamp. I got this from a former co-worker at AmMed.
10. 32 GB iPhone 4 with Otter Box case. Got this recently. Replaced a 3GS. As far as minimalism tools go, the iPhone is incredible. Phone. iPod. It’s the only camera I own (not that I take a lot of pictures). I keep track of my checking account on it. It keeps me connected. Sometimes too much. I actually just turned off all notifications on it to prevent me from checking every time it buzzes at me. It’s actually been kind of freeing. I only check emails and Words with Friends once an hour or so. Incan focus on other things in the interim.
11. ZaggBuds headphones. Because the apple ones suck.
12. 32 GB 3G iPad with Speck case. Typing this blog post on it. Actually doing it in Pages and will transfer to the blog when done. At first I dismissed this as just a big iPod touch. But I started playing with one that a friend owned. They’re fantastic. This will actually replace the MBP for a lot of travel. In fact, when the MBP gets replaced, it will be with an iMac. And I swore I would never buy a desktop computer again. The iPad is that awesome. Oh, and big freaking GPS, FTW.
13. Apple wireless keyboard. I got this for use with the iPad. I don’t use it as much as I thought I would. I may actually get rid of this.
14. Tools. Grouping these together, too. There’s no way I am going to go through and categorize every flipping wrench, socket and screwdriver. These all work together for a common good.
15. 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis. Paid cash for it. I haven’t paid cash for a car since my first one. And actually, paid the same for this as my first car. This is the primary thing my tools seem to get used for.
16. Books. Grouping these together. I have quite a few books. Have pared some down and will likely pare some more down. Also trying ebooks. Wasn’t sure if I’d like them. But the first couple I have tried haven’t been that bad. Perhaps….
17. Swiss Army Knife. Considered this might be a part of the tools. But seeing as I carry it every day, I am giving it it’s own spot on the list. I have owned this knife since high school as a boy scout.
18. Underwear. Yes, 1 item for the group. I want to keep the list under 100 so I can’t count each pair. Nor can I just eliminate them. I like the support.
19. Socks. I have white socks, brown socks, and black. Covers everything I might need. Can’t stand not wearing socks with shoes. These are as necessary as item 17.
20. Black dressy shoes
21. Brown dressy shoes. I like both of these pairs of shoes. They are multi-purpose. Not so dressed up I can’t wear them with nice jeans but still suit apropos. Leather with leather soles. Built to last.
22. Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. Black. The classics. Enough said.
23. Nike tennis shoes. For when I actually work out. I really need to get better at that…
24. Work boots. Egads. I may lose some man cred by having 5 pairs of shoes. They all serve a purpose, though. As much as I’d like to get rid of a pair, I really don’t think I could.
25. Dark jeans
26. Light jeans
27. Medium jeans. I may be able to cut a pair here. Especially because I own…
28. Dockers light brown
29. Dockers dark brown
30. Brown belt
31. Black belt. Must match belt to shoes. Neither belt is too wide or too thin. Works with jeans and dressier pants.
32. Black polo
33. Black button down
34. Black button down with purple stripes
35. Black button down with white stripes. This is a candidate for downsizing.
36. Green button down shirt
37. Silver button down shirt (no, it does not look like it belongs in a Night at the Roxbury skit)
38. Brown casual button down shirt
39. White button down dress shirt
40. Purple button down shirt
41. White with blue stripes casual button down shirt. May get rid of this.
42. Blue button down shirt. Another one I may end up getting rid of.
43. Undershirts. Have a couple white, a couple black and a couple gray. Like other under garments, this is lumped into one entry
44. Green polo. May get rid of.
45. Orange polo.
46. Charcoal Iowa t-shirt
47. Charcoal Africa t-shirt
48. Danville basketball t-shirt
49. Yellow Predators t-shirt
50. Restore Haiti t-shirt
51. Rolling Stones t-shirt (may get rid of)
52. Gray Iowa t-shirt (for working in)
53. Yellow Preds shirt (for working in)
54. Police tour t-shirt
55. Work jeans
56. Work jeans. The clothes for working in are the ones that I don’t care if they get stained. Most of them are. Dirt. Engine grease. They’re the grubby clothes. Still, I can likely get rid of 1 pair of these jeans.
57. Black Nike mesh shorts
58. Green striped tie
59. Light gray striped tie
60. Black striped tie
61. Watch
62. Swim trunks/beach towel.
63. Cot. I will be sleeping on this in TN.
64. 2 pillows
65, Sleeping bag
66. “back pillow”. For sitting up in bed and retaining better posture. This is the most likely thing I own to be gotten rid of. I won’t be needing this. I do not imagine sitting up on the cot to do anything
67. Royals cap
68. Police signed Synchronicity vinyl
69. Paul McCartney Nashville set list
70. Eagle Scout medal
71. Preds hoodie
72. Preds jersey. Should I even count this? It’s been on fairly permanent loan to Shannon Johnson.
73. Black leather jacket
74.Charcoal pinstripe suit
75. Tuxedo
76. Black dress pants. Haven’t worn these in quite a while. Will likely get rid of
77. Gray pinstripe suit jacket. I haven’t worn this yet. I like it a lot and got it from my grandpa when he passed. Practically speaking, I should get rid of it. I don’t know if I can yet
78. 14″ Remo djembe with case
79. Shakers
80. Miscellaneous drumsticks and stick bag
81. Ludwig Black Beauty snare
82. Baseball glove
83. Umbrella
84. Razor and brush set
85. Comb (yes, I own one, even though my hair is short)
86. Saddleback Leather Wallet
87. Big duffle
88. Small duffle. Will likely get rid of one of these
89. Saddleback Leather Dopp kit (toiletry bag)
90. Flashlight
91. Zippo lighter
92. Nose hair trimmer (the joys of getting older)

There we are. My life, in 92 items. And a few of these are going to be going by the wayside. Also, you may notice that deodorant, toothpaste, etc was not on the list. Not counting consumables. Razor makes the list. Razor blades do not. These are not things you buy to keep. They are designed to be used. It’s been interesting compiling the list. When things are up there in black and white you truly take stock on whether you need it or not. If I was ruthless I could cut 20 things. I think the only thing I might buy in the next year is a camper to live in. The last year and a half for me has been an amazing time of transformation moving out of the so-called American dream and into something more for God’s glory. I appreciate each of you reading this for joining me on this journey.

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One thought on “The 100 thing challenge

  1. Kathy Holeton

    I’ve pared my life down, and yet…
    Wishing I was back to the simpler times. Less stuff! More pedicure gift certificates! 🙂
    Love you

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