Thanks to the internet, one brave individual or gutsy family can go through a very challenging lifestyle makeover, publicize their journey on the web, and then inspire others to do the same. Six Items Or Less is a web challenge for men and women to get by with only six items of clothing for at least a whole month. The Great American Apparel Diet challenges people to not buy a single new article of clothing for an entire year. The Uniform Project, which began from one woman’s personal challenge to wear one black dress and spruce it up with different vintage, handmade, reused or donated accessories for an entire year, has now evolved into an internet meme where brave fashionistas all over the net are seeing how much they can do with just one outfit and a whole lot of creative accessorizing for an entire year (no new purchases allowed).
Here is another cool web challenge that falls into the same vein of downsizing and consuming less: The 100 Thing Challenge, started by blogger Dave Bruno. Can you simplify all of your personal possessions to just one hundred items?
Before you balk at the impossibility of this task, some general guidelines to follow: shared items (like your family’s cookware) don’t count. Neither do non-personal items that are there for a strictly utilitarian reason (cleaning supplies, basic tools, an emergency kit, eating utensils). Collections can count as one item, so your library of books, rare baseball cards or extensive snowglobe collection? Safe–for now.
Now how about all the other stuff that you have in your house or living space? All of your T-shirts, jackets, hats, shoes, cell phone, computer, T.V., family heirlooms, tacky Christmas ornaments, old vacation souvenirs, artwork, calendars, notebooks, pens, bike, et. al–is it possible to downgrade to only a mere 100 items?
A great blog post on zen habits chronicles one man’s challenge to pare down his personal possessions to not just 100 items–but 42! His reasons for decluttering and his process for doing so are both worth the read for anybody interested in doing the same.
So do you think you are ready to undergo a massive downgrade of stuff? Even if you can’t get to 100–or 100 is too easy for you–the point is that all of us really can be just as happy with a whole lot less.
Reading about other people’s decluttering challenges definitely inspires me to start getting rid of junk that is currently taking up space in my small studio apartment. I am definitely motivated to grab a moving box, fill it with unwanted junk, and get it to the closest Salvation Army so I can enjoy more open space all the time!