Why I Don’t Count My Possessions
As I wrote in an earlier post, Dave Bruno has been an inspiration to me. Dave is generally considered the man behind the 100-Thing Challenge (or at least, he got to write the book) which has gained much popularity among minimalists. Leo Babauta, and Tammy Strobel represent just two who have taken the challenge. The goal of the challenge is to pare your possessions down to only 100 things.
If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I have never counted my possessions. Not only have I never counted them, I’ve never had a desire to count them. And while I commend the numerous minimalists and bloggers who have pared their possessions down to less than 100 things, I am not one of them. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I own well more than 100 things. My brand of minimalism will also require that I do. For example: I live in the suburbs. I own a home. I do not live near public transportation. I love to entertain. And my job requires a certain level of possessions.
- Living with 100 things has never sounded attractive to me. I love minimalism. I love the freedom of paring down my possessions and focusing on what’s most important in my life. And I have found more and more freedom by removing more and more belongings. But at some point, it no longer sounds attractive to me. And that number is somewhere higher than 100 things.
- My minimalism has always been rational, not rigid. Arbitrary numbers have never guided by practice of minimalism. Instead, I have tried to allow my life to be guided by the things that are most important to me.
- Counting seems like it would take a lot of time. And that’s why I started getting rid of stuff in the first place.
- And finally, I’m far too competitive to ever give it a shot. I mean, let’s face it, Colin Wright owns 55 things and Everett Bogue lives with 57. At this point, there is nothing impressive about listing 167 or 142 or even 112.
Why I Am Going to Start Counting
With that being said, I am thrilled to participate in Project 333 inspired by Courtney Carver at Be More With Less. Project 333 represents a growing number of participants who have decided to wear only 33 items of clothing for the next 3 months (October 1 – December 31). You can read more of the rules here. I first heard about the challenge through Robyn Devine and couldn’t wait to jump in.
Here are the reasons why I have decided to join Project 333… and start counting:
- It sounded reasonable, but challenging. I’ve always needed a certain number of clothes working in an office 5 days/week, speaking to large groups of people, being an active part of the community, exercising daily, and maintaining the yard. 33 items to accomplish all those responsibilities sounded just about right… yet, still a stretch.
- I needed the extra push. Project 333 will provide extra incentive to push my limits – which is the point. I have sat somewhat content in my minimalist journey for awhile now. This project will hopefully push me to a new edge. And teach me new things about myself.
- The community is exciting. Knowing that I am just one of a large number or participants provides extra motivation. I haven’t heard the final number of participants, but it’s extra fun knowing that there is a group of people around the world jumping in too.
- It sounds fun. I’m in. Two years ago, getting to pick out 33 new items at a clothing store would have sounded fun. Today, limiting myself to 33 sounds fun… Oh, how my life has changed.
My 33 Items.
Here then is my list of 33 items (most are pictured above):
(4) Black Suit – Pants, Jacket, Belt, Tie (to wear once while I perform a wedding)
(4) Yard Work Clothes – Jeans, T-Shirt, Sweatshirt, Boots (mowing, raking, shoveling)
(1) Khaki Pants
(3) V-Neck T-Shirts
(3) Button-Down Shirts
(1) Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirt
(3) Long-Sleeve Casual
(3) Shoes (black dress, black casual, sneakers)
(1) Black Belt
(1) Silver Wristwatch
(2) Coats (khaki jacket, black leather)
(1) Gloves -not pictured.
A Few Notes.
- I feel that being a male gives me a little advantage in the challenge. I have far less accessories than many of the women in the challenge. However, needing to count the suit (4 one-time items and 1 button down shirt that I wouldn’t have normally picked) and the 4 outdoor chore items seems to help level the playing field.
- You’ll notice from the photo above that I am basically wearing white, black, and gray for the 3 months. I removed a few blues for the sake of not needing to carry brown belts or shoes. I typically enjoy wearing those neutral colors anyway, so it was not a difficult decision.
- I have set aside one pair of jeans and button-down shirt for some public speaking coming up (VT, VT, AZ, and now MN). Too alleviate my fear of wearing out those items, I have set them aside exclusively for the speaking engagements.
- I did not include my heavy winter coat in my 33 items… here’s hoping for a mild December in Vermont.
It is never too late to join the Challenge. Perhaps you want to give it a shot. Or perhaps I will enjoy the exercise so much, the next number I will count to is 100… you just never know for sure until you try it.