Jul 022013

If you are into a minimalist lifestyle, and why wouldn’t you be, then you should be familiar with the 100 Thing Challenge.  The 100 Thing Challenge was invented by Dave over at the blog, A Guy Named Dave, as a way to truly test yourself and see how little you can live without.

The concept is simple.  You do an inventory of all your worldly possessions and see how many things you own.  By doing so you get an idea of just how much stuff you have, what you have duplicated, what you use and don’t use, and how much you can get rid of.

While the challenge is so named and uses the nice round number of 100 as a standard, there are no real rules here.  You can set your number to anything you want, as long as you comfortable with it. The idea is to make you more aware of what you have.  Once you start a real inventory, particularly if you are just starting out with downsizing, you may well shock yourself at how many things you actually own, or should I say, own you.

I personally started doing the challenge a couple of years ago and I have been paring down ever since.  It was a real eye opener for me to find out just how few things a person really needs.  Unlike my neighbor who probably couldn’t get by with the 10,000 thing challenge, I have managed to stay well below the 100 thing mark.  My last inventory was around 75 things as I recall.

So, with the impending move off this boat, I decided to pare down some more and do a quick inventory of what I will actually take with me onto the new boat.  Remember there are no real rules here.  For example, do you count a tool set as one thing or count the individual tools?  How detailed should you be?  Do you count things like pens, a toothbrush, stuff like that?  It’s up to you as to how in depth you want to get.  But be honest with yourself.

And if part way through, you decide to give up because you have too much stuff, well, time to downsize.  Start purging.  Begin small and work your way up.  Take a box or a drawer or even a closet.  Take everything out, sort through it, and start getting rid of what you don’t need or use.  If you need a guideline, I use a timeline of one year.  If I haven’t used something over the course of one year, I don’t need it, so I get rid of it.

Now for those of you who don’t live where the weather is nice all year round, sure, take into account seasonal stuff.  Winter clothes, summer clothes, whatever you need to survive the cold, dark, depressing days of winter.  But as for everything else, get realistic about getting rid of it.

Clean out a drawer or a box or closet, and then leave it empty.  Get rid of the box, or else you will be tempted to fill it back up again.  Work your way up to cleaning out an entire room, then on and on and on.  You will be surprised as how much space you don’t need anymore.  Suddenly, that room full of junk is empty.  Then another.  Then some cabinets in your kitchen get cleaned out.  Next thing you know, you are looking at all that empty space and thinking about getting rid of the big house and moving into something smaller.  Keep downsizing until you reach the level of minimalistic comfort that suits you.  And stay that way.  It may take some time, took me well over 10 years, but here I am, down to the very basics and living a very simple, yet fulfilling life…in the Florida Keys no less.

So consider giving the 100 Thing Challenge a try.  Pick your number and see if you can reach it.

As for me, here is what I am taking when I move off this boat:

  1. Backpack
  2. Fishing shirt
  3. Fishing shirt
  4. Fishing shirt
  5. Fishing shirt
  6. Fishing shirt
  7. Long sleeve t-shirt
  8. Long sleeve t-shirt
  9. Long sleeve t-shirt
  10. Long sleeve t-shirt
  11. Shorts
  12. Shorts
  13. Shorts
  14. Shorts
  15. Shorts
  16. Shorts
  17. Deck shoes
  18. Deck shoes
  19. Sneakers
  20. Socks
  21. Socks
  22. Socks
  23. Bandanna
  24. Bandanna
  25. Belt
  26. Hat
  27. Eyeglasses
  28. Spare glasses
  29. Sunglasses
  30. Rain jacket
  31. Towel (like I’m going to go anywhere without a towel)
  32. Blanket
  33. Laptop
  34. iPhone
  35. Camera
  36. Camera to computer adapter
  37. Hotspot wifi
  38. Bear extender wifi antenna
  39. Waterproof phone case (I hope it’s waterproof)
  40. Power strip for charging stuff
  41. Dry bag
  42. Wallet
  43. Passport wallet for captain credentials
  44. Pliers
  45. Adjustable wrench
  46. Slot screwdriver
  47. Phillips screwdriver
  48. Left handed scissors (Hard to find and worth every penny)
  49. Buck knife
  50. Tire pump
  51. Bicycle
  52. Bike lock
  53. Bike lights
  54. Hair trimmer
  55. Nail trimmer
  56. Drivers license
  57. Debit card
  58. Captains license
  59. Twic card
  60. Divers certification
  61. Birth certificate
  62. SS card
  63. Cat litter box
  64. Cat feeder
  65. Cat waterer
  66. Cat carrier
  67. Cat carrier
  68. Laundry bag

Not included:  The cats of course, they ain’t possessions, they are family, and besides there would be some argument as to who owns who.  Also, things like tooth brushes, which get replaced all the time, dishware, which I get from the Dollar store and toss after a few months, and any other consumables.

And that’s it.  My entire empire, virtually all of which I can carry on my back.  That is all the stuff I need, and all the stuff I use.  Anything else at this time is superfluous or a luxury item.

As for stuff for the boat, that I count as being part of the boat.  Whatever I leave behind for this boat doesn’t matter.  What ever I get for the new boat is for use on the new boat, and when the time comes where I sell that boat, all that I got for that boat will go with it.  Very simple.

So there you have it.  It may not look like much but there are some real advantages to living this simply.  Everything on that list, save the computer and iPhone, can be replaced for less than a $1000.  New wardrobe, new bike even, all can be replaced if lost.  Even the computer and phone, while costing a bit more is replaceable in a short period of time.  And it’s all mobile.  I can make this move to the new boat, or wherever I choose to go, by doing little more than stuffing everything into one backpack, slinging a cat over each shoulder, and trudging off to new digs.  No movers, no packing, no boxes, no hassles.  Simple and mobile.  When Labombard comes through with his flying monkey’s to throw us all out, I can be ready.  As for my neighbor,it’s gonna get real ugly if he has to move.

I like living this way a whole lot more better than the days of yore when I owned actual property and stuff.  Living like this gives me a new found sense of freedom that I have sought after for lo these many years and I am not about to give that feeling up anytime soon for the sake of owning a few more baubles and geegaws.  More and more, I desire less and less.

The future is looking way more simpler these days.

Capt. Fritter

  One Response to “The 100 Thing Challenge: Summer Edition…”

  1. I had an advantage when I did the 100 thing challenge. I didn’t have to count things I co-owned with Dave like tools and kitchen stuff. Although you didn’t count any kitchen stuff anyway–not even a can opener? But, I don’t think I counted paper goods like birth certificate either; simply didn’t occur to me.

    The big kitchen in the apartment makes it easier to collect stuff. But, Saturday we bagged up the pans we don’t use to make room to put the small appliances in a cupboard. Kitchen is much easier to clean now.