Only 100 Things

I just finished the 100 Thing Challenge, and it made me think. About 3 weeks into the project, I realized that I hadn’t used a lot of the items on my list. There might be enough room on the list that I could follow the examples of others and have only 100 things, period.

Even though I don’t see this actually happening, I think that it will be a good exercise for me as I continue to examine what I really need in my life. Also, a version of this list may end up being my packing list for some of the goals that I mentioned here.

Recently I realized that I still had a number of items on my list that I hadn’t used yet. I was only keeping them for special occasions, which don’t come up very frequently. In essence, then, they were “just in case” items. As such, I’m sure that I could get by without them. And so I decided to see what my list would look like if I only owned the 100 things that on it (similar to the 10 Things list).

Only 100 Things


  1. jeans
  2. jeans
  3. zip-off pants
  4. swim trunks
  5. pj pants, silk
  6. pj pants, fleece
  7. sanuks
  8. dress shoes, brown other
  9. belt, leather
  10. belt, fabric
  11. watch
  12. bandanna
  13. handkerchief, white
  14. underwear, group counted as 1 item
  15. socks, group counted as 1 item
  16. dress shirt
  17. dress shirt
  18. dress shirt
  19. dress shirt
  20. button shirt
  21. polo shirt
  22. polo shirt
  23. t-shirt
  24. t-shirt
  25. t-shirt
  26. t-shirt
  27. running shirt, black
  28. running shirt, gray
  29. sweater
  30. sweater
  31. hoodie
  32. beanie
  33. Daily Use

  34. glasses, prescription
  35. wedding ring
  36. pillow
  37. pillow case
  38. wallet
  39. chapstick
  40. keys
  41. sticky-note pad
  42. cell phone (incl: charger)
  43. Hygiene

  44. razor (incl: brush, soap, stand)
  45. washcloth
  46. towel
  47. deodorant
  48. toothbrush
  49. electric clippers
  50. nail file
  51. Work

  52. backpack
  53. laptop (incl: mouse, power cord, headphones)
  54. camera (incl: case, charger, mini-tripod)
  55. Moleskine planner
  56. writing instruments, primarily fountain pen (incl: bottle of ink, needle for refill)
  57. 3-ring binder
  58. School

  59. books, 2
  60. sketchbooks, 2
  61. cardboard tube – for transporting work from home to school on motorcycle
  62. art supplies, drawing
  63. art supplies, painting
  64. Transportation

  65. motorcycle (incl: saddle bags, t-bag)
  66. helmet
  67. boots, slip-on
  68. boots, lace-up
  69. doo rag
  70. jacket, leather flight
  71. gloves, leather
  72. gloves, neoprene
  73. rain suit
  74. polypro pants
  75. polypro shirt
  76. Other

  77. tools
  78. shoe box of mementos
  79. Camping Gear

  80. hammock
  81. tarp
  82. bug net
  83. sleeping bag
  84. sleeping pad
  85. stove – either JetBoil or home-made alcohol stove
  86. sauce pan and lid
  87. headlamp
  88. water filter
  89. Eat

  90. spork
  91. stainless steel water bottle
  92. tupperware bowl
  93. pocketknife

One thing that I’ve always noticed about other people’s lists that I’ve found, is that they never take into account things like shelter and food. I feel that if you list everything that you own, but use a whole lot of other things on a regular basis, some might consider that “cheating”.

The above list tries to take this into account. Using the motorcycle as my base, I can travel just about anywhere that I wish to. The camping gear provides me with shelter and the ability to prepare food for myself. It might only provide a minimal life, but one of ultimate mobility. I would be able to sleep anywhere I could lay down or hang my hammock (which includes parks and under bridges in a pinch, or a friend’s porch.)

Well, I’m surprised. Even after adding basic camping gear, I still have extra room on my list. I’m sure that there are things I’m forgetting, and I know that more items would add to my comfort level. What do you think that I’m missing?

100 Thing Challenge Wrap-Up

I easily lived with only 100 personal things for the Month of October. The 100 Thing Challenge ended up not being a challenge at all. There were only a couple of things that I missed, and a number of things that I never used.

What I missed

Two things. I can think of only two items all month long that I missed. And really, I didn’t miss them. I just used something else in their place after remembering that I “couldn’t” because they weren’t on the list. The two things that I missed?

  • messenger bag – Because sometimes my backpack is just too big, and it would be nice to use something smaller.
  • slippers – It turned cool, and since the heater hasn’t been turned on yet, it was rather brisk in the mornings. I simply wore my sanuks in their place. Though I could have added slippers to my list, I decided to do without, at least for the couple of weeks left in the challenge.

What I didn’t use

If I thought I was surprised by how few things I missed, I was amazed at how many of the things I kept out never got used.


  1. khakis
  2. shorts – never wore these, because of the weather
  3. pj pants, fleece
  4. dress shoes, brown sketchers
  5. belt, leather, 2-sided
  6. suit
  7. dress shirt
  8. dress shirt
  9. dress shirt
  10. button shirt
  11. polo shirt
  12. rain jacket
  13. Transportation
    (I haven’t used these yet, but with the temperature dropping, it won’t be long now.)

  14. gloves, neoprene
  15. polypro pants
  16. polypro shirt
  17. Eat

  18. lunchbox – I don’t remember carrying this all month long
  19. Other

  20. books in library – I don’t remember referencing any of my books even a single time

17 things that I didn’t use all month long, and there are at least a couple more that I only used a time or two (swim trunks, handkerchiefs, most of the tools, and second doo rag). I could easily drop about 15 things, bringing me to a total of 80.

What I learned

I’ve got far too much stuff, “just in case”. Books that I once read, or tell myself that I will read one day, knick-knacks held on to for the memories they are supposed to provide, decorative items, tools that “I might need one day,” and far too many clothes. All things that I don’t need, and that are just taking up space in my apartment and cluttering up my life.

Removing these things from my life didn’t affect it in a negative way at all. In fact, I didn’t even notice their absence.

However, I also realized that I could get rid of so many things that it would be inconvenient. For this project, I kept out 5 days worth of socks and underwear. The way the laundry works out, that was just the right amount. There were only two times that I “had” to do laundry because I was going to run out. So, while I could live with only two pairs, at this point in my life it is not worth the inconvenience of having to wash them every night in order to have a clean pair the next day.

Was it worth it?

Definitely! It might not have been as much of a challenge as I expected it to be, but I am certainly glad that I gave the 100 Thing Challenge a try. I’ve learned a lot about my relationship with my possessions, and about how much I really need. Now I can more easily get rid of some of the things that I have allowed to stick around, just because.

What about you? Has this project helped you in any way?

Sticky-Note Love now available!

One of my goals has been to write an ebook. I’ve mentioned this before. Even though I’ve had a number of ideas, and written a number of outlines, it has taken me this long to finally finished one, and here it is!

Sticky-Note Love

What it’s about

It’s about keeping the romance burning in your relationship. It gives you a simple way to create some daily romantic adventure. The simple system that I describe is not only easy to follow, but can greatly improve your relationship. I know because I’ve been using this exact system for over 2 years with my wife.

The Guarantee

The guarantee is simple. If you don’t love Sticky-Note Love, then you get your money back. Pure and simple.

I’ve used the Sticky-Note System in my own life. I know that it works, and that it can have profound effects on your relationship. Try it out for 30 days, if it doesn’t strengthen your relationship, let me know and I’ll send the money your way.

Half Price!

If that guarantee isn’t enough, then you can get Sticky-Note Love for half price until October 29th. At that time I will be taking it off the market for two weeks to turn it into a more complete resource; adding videos, worksheets, and more! Then it will be available again, at the full price. If you purchase it now, you will receive updated version at no extra charge.

Want to know more? Check it out.

Why I Decided to Undertake the 100 Thing Challenge

It might seem foolish for me to try the 100 Thing Challenge, since I’m not getting rid of my non-100 things, but only stashing them away temporarily. My closet still has more clothes than I actually wear, my patio storage has quite a collection of tools and camping gear stashed into it (more impressive because of how much there is in such a small space than the scope of the collection), and I have more books than I need. Basically, I have more than I need to live comfortably.

However, I wanted to experiment and see what, exactly, I do need to live comfortably. What areas of life will I end up realizing that I use more than I thought, and which will confirm that I have extra stuff just for the sake of having it? (I talked about this just a few days ago.)

One of the main reasons that I decided to try the 100 Thing Challenge is because it was not a new concept to me. Many is the time that my mind has wandered to the idea that I have too many things. I would start to mentally walk through my daily routine, examining the items that I used on a daily basis. “Why then,” I would wonder, “do I have all of the other stuff?”

My daily routine involves only a few items: clothes, cooking/eating utensils, computer, materials for current project, transportation. All of the extra stuff? It’s basically decoration.

These thoughts have been floating through my head before I ever read about the 100 Thing Challenge that others undertook. Reading about their experiences just helped to increase my interest. Now that I’d seen that it could be done, and how others went about it, my interest was piqued even further.

Of course, I started slowly. The Minimalism Experiment helped me to get moving in the right direction. I took a look at the things that I used on a regular basis, and got rid of the rest. Even after this paring down, however, I still ended up with more things than I used frequently. I continued to discover that I had an extra box of books in the closet, a shelf of clothes that hadn’t been touched since I moved, and more. So it was time for another experiment, one where I pushed even further.

And so, I’m trying the 100 Thing Challenge.

Defining Minimalism

I’m not anti-stuff. I like having nice quality things around me. I enjoy my motorcycle, I get a lot of use from my laptop, and I’d love to have a really nice digital camera. However, it can seem that way, since I’ve been eliminating things from my life during the Minimalism Experiment and now that I’m taking the 100 Thing Challenge. Much of the focus of these experiments has been getting rid of the clutter that I’ve filled my life with. However, those actions are uncluttering, not minimalism.

What is Minimalism

The definition of minimalism is actually quite short (minimalist, you might say).

Eliminate the unimportant from your life
so that you can focus on the important.

While plenty more has been said about it, this is the heart of minimalism. Because everyone will define the important things in their life differently, everyone’s implementation of minimalism will look different. The key is giving yourself permission to remove the clutter from your life in order to really focus on what really makes your life worthwhile.

Why I’m interested in Minimalism

I have a lot of interests, as well as pack-rat tendencies. Over my life I’ve managed to build a lot of clutter based on changing interests and just-in-case thoughts. I have discovered that this clutter interferes with my actual life. It takes me longer to find things that I need, packing to move takes far longer with all of this extra stuff around, and the clutter in my house not only means that cleaning takes longer, but it generally stresses me out. Clutter makes it harder for me to achieve my goals. It distracts me from the important things in my life (this is not only physical clutter, but other forms as well.)

Goals that Minimalism will help me reach

Looking at my Life List, there are at least a few goals on there that will be a lot easier to accomplish after I’ve cut out the clutter from my life. The experience of the 100 Thing Challenge will help me prepare for a few of the others.

    Here are some of the goals that will be easier now that I’m removing clutter from my life:

  • be financially self sufficient – I won’t need to bring as much income to live off of, since my expenses will be less
  • motorcycle trip across the US – I might be able to pack most of my 100 things onto my motorcycle… something that would have been impossible just a few weeks ago
  • Bike ride across US – I wouldn’t carry all 100 things with me, so I’d have to reduce even further. But this is a great start!
  • live in RV – Just imagine how easily you could clutter up an RV!
  • Live in SailBoat – Even less room than in an RV.

I know that my minimalist journey far from completed. It will be a lifetime spent tweaking and adjusting. But I’ve started the path, and am excited about the progress that I’ve made so far.

I Still Have Stuff

I’m currently undertaking the 100 Thing Challenge, and I worked through the Minimalist Experiment earlier this year. However, this doesn’t mean that I have gotten rid of everything that I own. While I enjoy reading about people who only live with what they can fit in their backpack, that is not my goal. I DO enjoy having a clutter-free home (which is sort of odd, since I am more likely to create clutter than my wife is), and I like not having to worry about getting the newest thing.

How I Packed for the 100 Thing Challenge

During the Minimalist Experiment I eliminated a lot of the clutter from my life. I cleared out clothes that I don’t wear, paperwork that I don’t need, and other things that I don’t ever use. Because of this, I had extra room in my closet and in my dresser. This means that packing everything away for the 100 Thing Challenge didn’t take very long. Once I made my initial list, I was able to separate what I was going to use from the non-100 things. The non-100 things were separated and hidden away, out of sight.

I didn’t take the time to find boxes or other packing materials. I had no need for them. That’s one of the good things about only having 100 personal items, is that they generally don’t take up much space. I didn’t need a whole closet for my clothes. I didn’t even need a whole shelf! All of the clothes that I would not be wearing were hung in the back of the closet. The clothes that I was wearing are hung on the shelf closest to the door. My dresser has three drawers. Two of them have the socks and underwear that I won’t be wearing this month, the top one has my limited selection (which has been more than enough). I haven’t opened those bottom two drawers since the middle of September!

Things that I still have

I still have everything that I started with. Since the beginning of the 100 Thing Challenge, I don’t remember getting rid of a single thing. It has simply been hidden away. My clothes are all still in the closet or dresser. The odds and ends that were on my desk are stashed in the office closet. Extra school supplies are also stashed in the office closet. All of my books are on the shelves. Just because I’m not using it doesn’t mean that I sold, donated, or threw it away. This makes the challenge so much easier to undertake, mentally. I know that I can go grab something if I wanted to change items on my list. I won’t miss something because I got rid of it just because. It’s such a relief to know that it’s still available should I need it.

Fully furnished apartment

My apartment is still fully furnished. No decorations have been removed (except the few that were specifically mine), all of the furniture is in its place, and the kitchen is still well-stocked.. One of the appeals of the 100 Thing Challenge is that I was only dealing with my personal items. My wife isn’t affected by my choice to undertake this experiment, the common items in the apartment aren’t affected…. only me and my stuff. I didn’t have to decide if we have too many books, movies, or knick-knacks, because they’re ours.

I just wanted to let you know that I still have stuff in my apartment. I’ve received a few emails asking about the drastic changes. In reality, though, it’s not that different from before, except that I’m consciously deciding to pay attention to and limiting my choices in what I use. In fact, unless someone reads my blog, the only way that they would know I am undertaking this challenge would be to notice that I’m only cycling through a handful of outfits each week. But I did that anyway! If you walked into my apartment, you still couldn’t tell that I’m only using 100 things. You *might* notice that my side of the dresser and my bedside table have less stuff on them than my wife’s (for the first time ever!) but those would be your only clues.

No, my life is not drastically different. It is, however, more relaxed and less cluttered. Life is good!

100 Thing Update

I’ve been living with the 100 Thing Challenge for about three weeks now. I thought there would have been more to write. My expectations included at least a couple of update posts by now. However, my life hasn’t actually been affected all that much. My day-to-day routine hasn’t changed any, except that it’s easier for me to make decisions regarding what to wear for the day.

There are a few things that I’ve noticed

Even though I’ve made a few changes to My List, most of the things discussed below are more observations about how I use the things that I do have.

  • I’ve only worn one of my motorcycle jackets, so I removed the other from the list (and it means it is time to sell it).
  • I put my pocket knife away and have only been using the one on my keychain. I haven’t missed it so far! Removed it from the list.
  • My running shoes were falling apart. So I wore then while white-water rafting and then tossed them afterward. I thought it would be nice for them to go out with one last horrah! Removed from list.
  • I think I’ve worn a single dress shirt one time so far. I like having them, however, and wear them more when I’m not spending so much time in the art studio.
  • Brr… it can get cold on the motorcycle. I’ve managed to layer up and stay comfortable, and can go still colder with what I have on the list. When it gets around to winter time, however, I’ll have to dig out the cold-weather gear. Added some items to the list for that.
  • Apparently I’ve switched back to shaving in the shower, so I haven’t been using my brush, soap, or brush stand. I tend to do this in cycles, however, so I’m leaving them on the list.
  • My initial idea was to list each individual dish, and then just hand-wash them after each meal. That hasn’t happened, so I’ve replaced that portion of the list with a single item: dishes.
  • With the dishes, now that I’ve been paying attention, I realized that I only use 3-4 out of the cupboard. A mug for coffee, a juice glass for juice, a glass for water, and a second glass for water when the other one’s in the dishwasher. And really, the second glass isn’t necessary. Why do I have a whole cupboard full again?
  • I’ve realized that I use more of my art supplies at home than I thought. I prefer to bring my projects home from school to work on, instead of staying in the studio there. So it’s handy to have two sets of some things so that I don’t have to carry everything back and forth with me.

I think it’s interesting to realize how little I actually use on a regular basis. Furthermore, I’ve been surprised at how little my day-to-day life has changed upon undertaking this challenge.

An Easy Challenge

The main reason that this has been easy for me is because I’ve built up to it slowly. During the Minimalist Experiment, I eliminated much of the stuff that I didn’t use on a regular basis. This preparation allowed me to get everything in place in less than two hours. Because I didn’t get rid of anything but only stashed it away, I have no fear that I got rid of something important to me or that I would need. Since I’m only focusing on my personal items, nothing that my wife and I share or jointly own, I eliminated much the stress of having to include someone else in my decision making. Perhaps most importantly:

What I’m doing is not obvious

Unless someone reads my blog, the only way that they would know I am undertaking this challenge would be to notice that I’m only cycling through a handful of outfits each week. But I did that anyway! If you walked into my apartment, you still couldn’t tell that I’m only using 100 things. You *might* notice that my side of the dresser and my bedside table have less stuff on them than my wife’s (for the first time ever!) but those would be your only clues

This fact is comforting. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to explain the experiment to everyone I know (not that I’d mind, just the repetition of having to do so over and over would get to me).

So that’s my update for the first two (official) weeks of the challenge. Not a lot to report, other than the discoveries about my habits. I’m happy with that, however. I would be worried if I’d realized that I needed twice as many things just to get by on a daily basis. So far so good, and onward we go!

Contents of My Wallet

Since I recently listed what I carry in my pockets and on my keychain, I thought that I should detail my wallet as well.

I love my wallet, and have been carrying it for over 3 years now. I received it as a gift, and thus am not sure where it came from. In fact, I don’t even know what it is. The closest match that I can find is a business card holder at Office Depot (which I can’t seem to find online). This thing is tiny. If you take a brand new wallet that is empty, mine is still smaller than that, even when it’s full.

So, here’s what I carry:

    Left Side

  • debit card
  • debit card
  • gift card (there’s something like $3.17 on here, I really should just go spend it so I’m not carrying it around)
  • some cash (folded in either 1/3′ or 1/4’s – more than about 4 bills and it gets to be more bulky than I prefer)

    Right Side

  • driver’s license
  • school ID

    Inside the slip-in portion (all of these items are paper)

  • prescription discount card
  • insurance membership card
  • credit union membership card
  • proof of insurance for motorcycle

I used to carry far more than this in my wallet. It used to be huge (I barely notice this on in my pocket); it was packed with photos, papers with notes and random information, business cards, and more. Once I realized that I never used all of the things that I carried “just in case,” it was easy to cut back to only the essentials. Not only is it now easier to find what I need, but my wallet fits easily into my front pocket (when I’m traveling) and is far more comfortable to sit on.

I’ve tried a number of different wallet styles: 3-fold, bi-fold, duct-tape wallet, paper wallet, rubber band, binder clip. None work as well for me as this one does.

What’s in your wallet?

What Is On My Keychain

Do you ever wonder about the wad of stuff that is on your keychain? Do you really need it all? Or is it just more stuff taking up space in your pocket?

Here is what I have:

  1. house key
  2. key to office
  3. motorcycle key
  4. paperclip
  5. mini pocket knife
  6. P-38
  7. Kroger card
  8. library card
  9. key to lock for locker
  10. key to lock for other locker
  11. mini thumb drive


  1. car key – this thing takes up too much space in my pocket, so I only carry it when I will be driving the car
  2. mini-lanyard
  3. tiny flashlight

I haven’t used the mini thumb drive in some time, so I could comfortably get rid of it. The mini pocket knife actually helped me with the “100 Thing Challenge” because I realized that I only needed one knife, so I was able to quit carrying the separate one. Ideally, the two locker locks would use the same key, but that is not the case (and I see no point in buying a new lock just so that it matches).

Other than the thumb drive, these items get used on at least a weekly basis, so I feel that they are well worth carrying. Since I don’t have any decorative items, this all fits comfortably on a single ring, and does not take up too much space in my pocket.

What’s on your keychain?