In 2013, Dave Bruno, figurehead of the modern minimalist movement, created a new social call-to-action to help offset the effects of American-style consumerism, the 100 Things Challenge, or 100TC.
The movement’s premise: that by simplifying and pairing down all of your processions to 100 items, one could live a life of simplicity, characterized by joyousness, thoughtfulness, and unimpaired spacial awareness. The 100TC movement spread like wildfire in minimalist, non-consumerist communities across the nation, and people from all walks of life took up deowning crusade. The 100TC was heralded as the best means for creating lasting interpersonal relationships through the formative power of simplicity. Once a celebration of modern liberation, the 100TC quickly devolved into a sect of participants known as the 100’s, those who took to social to shame others not living with far less than 100 personal belongings.
While the goal of the 100TC was to break free from the confining habits of excessive consumerism, this movement curiosly never answered one central question for me, what did they give up?
I’m a visual person. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve always liked Rainbow Bright or become squirrely in the late hours of the afternoon. Perhaps it’s because I’m addicted to knowing how things work and enjoy watching endless how-to tutorials online. Needless to say, I like a good visual. I also love a good, sound, reasoned explanation. And for me the 100TC challenge was a pudding with very few plums. I just didn’t see the true reflection of responsible, reasonable minimalism in the 100TC movement.
You see, my end goal for becoming a minimalist was not simply to disinfect my home of affluenza. I didn’t adopt a decreased lifestyle to have my news feed bombarded with self-indulging, anti-conspicuous consumption tags. I’m not down with the vegan, techie, relatively-a-deprivationist hipster, documenting their knapsack lifestyle on Instagram kind of gal. I would have continued to be a consumerist if I truly wanted to hear herd-behaviorist rants.
So having become disillusioned with the 100’s, I did what any millennial would do, I created my own Joie de vivre challenge. As so many in the minimalist community were counting the 100 things they own, I thought I’d go the contrarian route and list the first 100 things I no longer own.
My objective: to list each Tuesday in April, 100 common household items my family happily lives without. This post isn’t simply a list of things that I have gotten rid of because I wanted to immolate the life of anyone else, but a chronicle of the things I parted with in life to help me keep down from the Joneses.
As you look ahead at this list I want you to remember three things:
- As a family, we always donate first. Knowing that I’m allowing someone else the opportunity to enjoy my things makes it easier for me to let them go. I do not feel guilty letting items go.
- I kept things in our home that we truly loved. And the reverse was also true, if an item didn’t make us happy or provide us with an important utilitarian need, it was donated. I only want to surround myself and my family with things we enjoy.
- I make no apologies for my decision to part with any item(s) listed in the post.
Here are the first 100 items we no longer own:
- External Laptop USB DVD player- we digitized our movie collection and no longer need this to view movies.
- DVD player – We download movies and watch them on a laptop via Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.
- Stereo system – Our travel-size iPod speakers have been working well for us.
- Record player-we digitized our collection of vinyl.
- Entertainment center we sold our Pottery Barn unit when we KM’ed last Autumn.
- Formal Living Room Sofa: Sold when we KM’ed last Autumn.
- Ottoman – we donated this piece as it took up a lot of space.
- End table – from our formal living room set, was donated last Autumn.
- Bookshelves – we sold our four book shelves from my formal office space.
- Magazine rack – Donated. We don’t subscribe to any physical magazines.
- Dining room table – We dine in our den.
- Dining chairs – See above.
- Buffet – We KM’ed all of our formal dining paraphernalia (china, linens, serving platters) and didn’t need it.
- Sideboard – We sold our formal flatware, Christmas and Easter platters. We no longer needed this piece.
- Area rug – We like bare floors!
- Clocks – We use our phones to tell time.
- Throw pillows – We don’t like moving pillows out-of-the-way to sit down.
- Microwave – We prefer non-radiated food!
- Wooden Salad bowl set – We use a mixing bowl to serve salad.
- Photo albums – We digitized all our photos.
- Candles – We use a diffuser and essential oils.
- Box Spring – We opted for a metal platform frame.
- Dresser – Our clothes are stored built-in drawers and closets.
- Nightstand – Unneeded. We store our glasses and phones on our built-ins.
- Hamper – Our plastic hampers from college were donated to a local women’s shelter .
- Sconces- Donated to our local Habitat for Humanity store.
- Desk – Donated to make room for a upcycled an l-shaped door work station.
- Office chair – No need for it without a formal desk.
- Stapler – I use binder clips, if needed.
- File cabinet – We digitize everything.
- Calendar – I use Google Calendar.
- Printer stand – Donated when we KM’ed. My printer sits on my new desk.
- Desktop computer speakers – Unused. Donated.
- PC Monitor – My husband uses his Smart TV to view his desktop computer for work and gaming.
- Fax machine – We send faxes online.
- Highlighter – Haven’t used one since starting to work-from-home.
- Elmer’s Glue – Haven’t had need for it.
- Pencil sharpener – I use mechanical pencils.
- Ruler – I can eyeball feet generally.
- Dictionary – I use an online version.
- Phone book – Google anyone?
- Coffee maker – We upgraded to a Keurig, and use reusable pod filters daily.
- Butter dish – Our Kerry Gold butter comes in its own dish.
- Gravy boat – We don’t regularly serve gravy.
- Sugar bowl – We drink our coffee black.
- Salt and pepper shakers – We use spices straight from the containers.
- Creamer bowl – I serve creamer from the carton.
- Champagne glasses – We wake up daily. We’re already celebrating.
- Apron – I’m not that messy in the kitchen.
- Tablecloth – Donated when we sold our sideboard and dining set.
- Popcorn maker – We rarely make popcorn.
- Serving platters – We prepare smaller meals when entertaining.
- Personal Blender – I no longer used it.
- Mixer – We use my husband’s grandmother’s manual hand mixer.
- Food processor – Donated.
- Garlic presses – Donated.
- Coffee grinder – We buy pre-ground coffee. Donated.
- Espresso maker – We prefer to use our Keurig.
- Ice cream maker – We make diy frozen yogurt.
- Fondue set – Purchased for our first anniversary dinner. Used once. Donated.
- Smore Maker – We use our patio fire pit instead. Donated.
- Garlic Roaster – Donated.
- Potato and Onion Bins – Donated.
- Grill Dehydrator Sheets – Donated.
- Margarita Glasses – Donated all 12.
- Margaritaville Concoction Maker – Sold last Autumn when we KM’ed.
- Self-Blending Gym Shake Makers – Haven’t had need of one. Donated a pair.
- Sherry Glasses – Donated.
- Whiskey Glasses – Donated.
- Whiskey Stones – Donated.
- Stationary Exercise bike – Sold last Autumn.
- Rowing Machine – Sold last Autumn.
- Gazelle Workout Machine – Sold last Autumn.
- Wine Rack – We’re not into storing large amounts of wine. Sold last Autumn.
- Deck of cards – I play spades online.
- Baker’s Rack – Sold last Autumn.
- CDs – All of our music is digital. Donated 400+ discs last month.
- Hairdryer – Letting my hair air-dry keeps it in better condition.
- Hairdryer diffuser – Went with the hairdryer!
- Christmas trees- We prefer to display a select few ornaments and use vintage glass trees.
- Habachi Grill- We have a full-size gas grill.
- Patio furniture- We plan to upcycle an outdoor palette couch this coming Summer.
- Sprinklers- We are investing in drought-savvy succulents this year.
84. Tiller- We are using potted vegetable varities this year. Sold last Autumn.
85. Electric Chain Saw- We use our gas-powered model for possible needs after storms and hurricanes.
86. Anti-gravity lawn chairs- Never used. Donated.
- Housier- Wasn’t needed in kitchen. Sold last Autumn.
88. Valances- Collected dust. Donated 10 sets.
- Curtains- Donated 10 sets.
90. Sheers- Donated 10 sets.
- Rotary phones- We use a cell phone. Donated.
92. Phone cables and cords- Wasn’t needed.
- Label Maker- We use re-usable chalkboard labels instead.
- Hat Boxes- Donated hats, didn’t need boxes. Donated 12.
- Toolboxes Donated my 6 boxes used for crafting.
- Foot Stool- Kept Metal step-ladder. Donated plastic foot stool.
- Refridgerator- Died. Donated for parts. We use an under-cabinet fridge instead.
98. Dishwasher -Died. Donated for parts last Autumn. We hand wash instead.
99. Range- Died. Replaced with Convection Cooktop.
- Quesadilla Maker- Was never used. Sold last Autumn.
So that’s my own twist on the 100 Thing Challenge. Of course, this is just the begging of my list. The more I started documenting my progress, first with Kon’Maring and then delving further and further into minimalism, my lists expanded. So, be sure to check back next Tuesday for the next 100 things we reduced in our April month of minimalism.
Friends, I hope this post illustrates my minimalist perspective. That my home has become more luxurious by purging, rather than placing items within its walls. For me, living with less isn’t about the number of things you get rid of it’s about living with enough to be content. And the rest? That’s just unnecessary, energy-draining clutter.
So, tell me: what common things do you live without?
Here’s to living with less,