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Monday, June 1, 2015

The Less is More Project: Week 22 - The 100 challenge

takomabibelot, Flickr

Five months and going strong! In fact, the Less is More Project is going so well that I have decided to take on a new challenge.

There is a "number trend" in the minimalist world. Just Google "minimalist number of possessions" and you will get an idea. The hardcore ones out there are limiting what they own to what appears to be extremely low numbers, so low that the possessions can easily be inventoried. See for yourself:

If those numbers sound extremely low to you, you are not alone: I feel the same way, as I'm sure many others do, too. To be honest, it probably isn't possible to own 100 things or less if you have a house or apartment comprising more than one room and containing some furniture, especially if you don't live alone. Some of the above-mentioned bloggers are self-proclaimed "vagabonds" who live on the road or alone in a single, small room, which I completely respect and even admire (or envy?) - but I do realize this is not everyone's ideal lifestyle.

That being said, I think we can find inspiration in those radical lifestyles and apply "adapted minimalism" to our more conventional existences. When pondering the 100 things challenge, it occurred to me that if owning 100 things seems unattainable for my family right now, I could still achieve interesting goals if I broke my possessions down into categories. Why don't you try it too?

Exercise #1: Walk into a room and make sure there are no more than 100 things in sight (including furniture and decorations on the walls, but excluding the things that would stay if you moved, such as sinks). Admittedly, that will be harder to achieve in a home office full of books and supplies. For other rooms, such as a small bathroom, or even a living room, dining room or bedroom, it can be achieved easily. Even my kitchen, when the dishes are done, passes the test. Not seeing anymore than 100 things means you are on your way to a decluttered space! And it feels so refreshing.

Exercise #2: Open a drawer, dresser, cupboard or closet and make sure it does not contain more than 100 things. If that proves too easy, regroup to include more drawers or cupboards.

Exercise #3: Establish categories and make sure you don't own more than 100 things in each category. Depending on your lifestyle and the things you tend to hold on to, some categories might be easier than others. Examples:

  • 100 items of clothing
  • 100 items of kitchenware
  • 100 items of furniture and lighting
  • 100 items of decoration (including area rugs, frames, plants, etc.)
  • 100 items of linen
  • 100 items for hobbies and sports
  • 100 books
  • 100 tools and devices
  • 100 "electrics and electronics" (including all appliances)
  • etc.

If that still is too hard for some categories, break it down into smaller categories!

  • 100 items of "regular", daytime clothing
  • 100 items of "other" clothing such as outerwear, underwear, sleepwear, sports clothes
  • 100 accessories such as shoes, bags, belts, hats, scarves
  • Or 100 items for each of the 4 seasons

Try it and let us know how it goes! I will do the same.



It's not a temptation per se, but I am struggling with a dilemma: what to do with presents when I am on the receiving end? With an upcoming birthday, I have already received two early presents. One is the new camera I have been dreaming of for months, if not years. There is no question I am keeping it. Plus, I kind of needed it, since my previous one died on me a few weeks ago. Photography is something I really enjoy and so, even if a camera is not a fundamental need, it will certainly be used and enjoyed fully. 

However, I have also received money. Not to mention the gift cards I got for Christmas that are still waiting in my wallet. Is it acceptable to use money and gift cards this year, or should I wait until 2016? Since the main point of this challenge is not necessarily to save money, but mostly to get used to not consuming? For now, my logic has been the following: hold on to the gift cards and money, and use them when you need something. Which hasn't happened yet.

Donations (good riddance)

I subjected my wardrobe to last week's questions: 
  • do you use it on a regular basis?
  • does it spark joy? (or, that specific case, does it make you feel beautiful/handsome/hot?)

And I can confirm that such questions prove very useful when in doubt about an item. I am donating more clothes again this week. I cannot wait for the day when I don't have to stand for long minutes in my closet, unable to decide what to wear! As long as it still happens, I will interpret it as a sign I own too many clothes.

Observations and cogitations

I as write this post, I hear D "sermon" young A about the best way to use her money, explaining to her how it's best to buy things that you need and/or have been wanting for a while as opposed to rushing to use your money on the first thing that catches your eye...

Your turn to share about your struggles and victories of the week! What did you resist? Did you donate or get rid of anything? Did you face any challenge? Please comment below! And...

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  1. I have very little to donate, and did non this week.

    As far as numbers go, I'm not really on board. That almost institutionalizes the idea, and maybe cheapens it some. Ultimately it comes down to this: I need this, and I'm going to keep it. OR, I don't need this, and I'm going to keep it anyway. At that point, it's all about choices...

    1. Agree about choices and whether we need things or not! Numbers are merely a strategy. :-)

  2. About D & A (DNA?), I totally agree. How sad I was, a few years ago, to hear a mother tell her 5-6 year old daughter : "OK now is the time to spend the money your grandpartents gave you!", in the cheap plastic toy section of a dollar store :-(
    As far as birthday presents go, I think you should clearly tell close family and friends what you do or do not want. The camera is a good example: you clearly wanted/needed it. Gift certificates are nice because you can get what you want with them, even not get anything if that is your choice. I once told my own mother that I did not want any kitchen stuff anymore. People often feel "obligated" to offer something, and when they do not know you closely, will give a lambda item that you may not need or like. When that happens, I try to find someone else (usually a not-for-profit or charitable organization) that can use it in their fundraising Christmas sale or the sort. Now that I live in the country, I find that people offer more (home-made) consumables; they are nice to get and do not create clutter. They also do not cost much, but show some effort. I like that.

    1. I kept all my babysitting money until I was 18 and got myself a very nice sound system, if you remember. Then I collected all my lifeguarding money and went on a big European trip at 23. Never regretted that! :-)
      You are so right about presents. I was talking with a friend, yesterday, who told me how many of her parents' presents she just "regifts" without even taking them out of the original package.
      I do like gift cards a lot, as you can get whatever you need with them. Other than that, gifts in the form of food are great. Or YOUR paintings. ;-)

  3. I've been throwing out (recycling) lots of paper stuff. Years of bills and tax reports that I no longer need to save.

    It feels good to do it, and clear the space for other stuff that I do need to keep, until I don't :-)

    I'm with Roy on the challenge. It's our oppositional defiant disorder, lol

    1. Getting rid of paper is the hardest, but feels the best! (in my humble opinion)

      I've seen worst cases of oppositional defiant disorder... I can deal with this. ;-)

  4. Gifts are always tricky. These days I like to give (and receive) experiences. A dinner out, a balloon flight, an outing of some kind, a trip... No wrapping, no dusting, and I am happy for my memories to be cluttered. One of the best I have received was a trip to our local zoo - to pat the cheetahs. Magic.

    1. Experiences are such wonderful gifts. And the memories, after, are worth more than any object. I still go out with family and friends on a regular basis, and I am excited to travel this summer.

  5. Perhaps a little off topic but I couldn't resist when you said "Photography is something I really enjoy and so, even if a camera is not a fundamental need, it will certainly be used and enjoyed fully."

    Photographs make such special memories that we can almost hold in our hand. I have some lovely black/white photo's of my grandparents that I treasure.

    Always find a space in your home for a few photo's - even if some of them get well worn over the years.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thank you for this comment, Jan! I have to say I agree. Even if most of my photos are only in digital form. :-)

  6. What an interesting and thought provoking post! My family laughs because I do a weekly donation run. I keep a bag in my coat closet and all week I collect and drop it off over the weekend. Thank you for all of these outstanding ideas! I am going to start this by looking in my drawers in my kitchen like you mentioned! Thanks so much for popping by my blog such a great space you have here! Nicole xo

    1. A weekly donation run is probably the best way to never end up surrounded by clutter!

  7. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment so I knew you'd popped by, it's a;ways so nice to hear from other bloggers.
    I do like having a good clear out. I regularly sort through our cupboards and wardrobes and donate to charity shops. My son started to volunteer in a charity shop last year and since then it's spurred me on to donate even more stuff. I feel like the house sighs in relief when another carrier bag leaves heading for shop!
    I don't know if you are familiar with the charity Comic Relief? Many years ago I watched a short report made by one of the presenters. She was in Africa with a woman who had just been given a new home for her and the children she cared for. It was so basic but she was incredibly happy and all there possessions were taken to the new home in a wheelbarrow. That stirred many emotions in me and is something I will never forget.
    Lisa x

    1. I can relate to the relief you feel when a bag leaves the house! Especially when you know it will benefit someone else.

  8. I've recently read the Mary Condo de-cluttering book and did a lot of work getting rid of things. Now I see that I have a way to go :-)

    1. It's on my reading list for the future. All the library copies are out for a while though. Popular book!

  9. I don't think I could got to the extreme of counting my possessions but I am trying to declutter. We've just decorated our bedroom and we went through every drawer and cupboard getting rid of anything we don't use or wear. I'm trying to work my way through the rest of the house now, and donating these things to charity helps other people too.

    1. Careful! You could become addicted to decluttering! I am talking from experience. ;-)

    Ive never counted.
    It's time to count.