100 possessions, nothing more.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Lau, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Lau Guest

    Could you reduce your possessions to 100 things?

    Would you want to?

    I love the idea, and I'd love to do it, but only if I can have unlimited books. And that certain things count as one, like "A box of paper samples" or "A box of photos". ;) (In the article, it does mention exceptions for, say, kitchen or communal stuff, and pleasingly, books :D)

    Similarly, one of my college tutors suggested making an inventory of everything you own and documenting it, which I've always wanted to do. It would make you think seriously about everything you had, and what it was used for or what it meant to you, and why you had it.

    A bit like the guy who sold all his possessions on eBay – there's something hugely liberating about starting afresh. I'm a bit of a packrat at times, and keep all sorts of bits and pieces, but oddly if I came home to find the house had burnt down, I don't think I'd be that bothered by any of it.

    It begs the question – if you had to take 100 possessions and leave, (and assume you then had the money to start again), what would you do differently? Would you buy 7 identical outfits so you never had to think about what to wear again? Would you only buy paperback books all the same height? Or would you revel in the randomness of what you'd bought and been given over the years and build up things the same way again?
  2. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
  3. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    Just don't forget to include something to play them on among your other 99 possessions. ;)
  4. TheAnswer macrumors 68030


    Jan 25, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    I try to do this sort of thing twice a year. It's a habit I picked up after I moved three times in one year. I look at everything and figure out if I really need it, if I've ever used it, if I'm likely to ever use it, etc. I don't limit myself to 100 items, though...maybe I'll try it next time.

    Good thing Safari bookmarks don't count...since I've just added that site to mine. Looks very cool.
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    The list you make to number them has to count as one as well. And the pen you write with...

    Most of will want to keep our Macs, I imagine. With all the cables and peripherals that could come to over ten items in most people's setups. And what about groceries and household items?

    Does your own body count as a possession?

    <lies down at the complicated thought of it>
  6. Xfujinon macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    Iowa City, Iowa
    a variation

    I used to think I was the biggest cheapskate on the face of the Earth, until I met my wife...

    We have a very strict policy about buying things, keeping things, and owning things. Our rule is: if it is free, there is no limit! We get stuff a lot of times from thrift stores, bargain bins, etc. And, since she is a geologist, we collect a lot of "free" things from outdoors, like rocks, sticks, artifacts, etc.

    I doubt I have less than 100 possessions, but what I HAVE been doing for years is a a variation on this theme:

    Every year, I make a list of EVERY single item I wish to buy, those things I want but do not need. Obviously food, some clothing, toiletries, etc. are not on the list. But any item I can live without (even if it is a stretch) goes on the list. I include the cost for each of these items.

    In 2006, my net desires would have cost $255,000.00
    In 2007, my net desires were down to a little less than $188,000.00

    This can be a fun exercise, it really puts into perspective the kind of things you covet, and how much they are worth. You can even break things into categories (for instance, "electronics" accounted for about 30% of the cost, books accounted for about 25%, etc.).

    Try it, it's kinda fun.
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Christ, I couldn't even deal without 100 tools in my garage. I've got three sets of drill bits alone, not to mention collections of fasteners of different sizes and types. And that's before you get to the actual tools.

    Then there's the kitchen. Knives, pots, pans, utensils, appliances...

    And would each frisbee golf disc count seperately?
  8. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    Could I? Not unless I was to be paid a massive amount of untaxed money. :eek: Would I want to? Hm, maybe not 100 items. I mean, hell, I've got over 20 hoodies alone. :eek: But yes, I often wish I really could de-clutter my life, minimize the "junk" I have. The "baggage" I carry. I can't deny that perhaps much of the emotional baggage I carry could be more readily "disposed" of if I were able to at least let go of the tangible.

    I'd love to say that I'd be a whole new me. That I'd be all the wiser. That I'd only acquire that which would be truly meaningful. Unfortunately, I think that it's simply my nature to hoard and that I just wouldn't be able to change. I'd fall back on keeping. Mementos, no more significant in the eyes of many. Perhaps not truly to me even. At least not forever. And at least not on a daily basis.

    But when you hoard the way I do, and you eventually come across a little keepsake... a simple receipt that recalls a simple but pleasurable memory, you can't help but to smile wistfully and appreciate having kept it and then finding it later...
  9. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    I only own 8 things which I value to a significant degree, each of them is very important to me for reasons other than monetary worth or geekery
  10. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    I can't do it. I'm love my possessions too much!!

    *Hugs stuff*
  11. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i don't think i could go as low as 100. but i'm in the process of getting rid of the things that are of no use to me. it'll take a bit but i think i'll be better for it in the end.
  12. imac/cheese macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2007
    I probably have over 100 personal items in my office. I just counted 52 writing instruments. When you add in rulers, scales, certificates, calculators, water bottle, radio, etc I know I bust the limit without even going home. And of course every single one of them is essential. :eek:

    Having been in the military and required to move every couple years, my wife and I have really limited our possessions and developed a rather sparse living pattern. Nothing ever makes you want to throw out all the crap you have accumulated like moving across the country.

    The article did say that tools were an exception so you should be ok.
  13. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    Looks like you're well on your way, you pawn star you. ;)
  14. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Even if you counted groups of like items as one "thing" (like the more than 100 stuffed animals living with us) I could never get close to 100 things. Perhaps 1000 things, and only if it's 1000 per room, not for the whole house.

    Just call me Doctor Packrat.
  15. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Yup, I think so.

    I'd ideally like to keep more than 100 books and my iPod with all the music. But after those, I think I could come up with another 98 items without too much trouble. Which is a sobering thought since it means that I really don't need most of the junk in my flat :eek:
  16. ibook30 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2005
    2,000 light years from home
    Brilliant idea.

    A simpler life would be a better life for me. So much time maintaining stuff, and so much time spent working to afford stuff, and the electricity and space it needs. If I had less stuff, I could retire early, have more focus on things in my life, and more time to spend on the important facets of life.

    My list would definitely include several apple products, and the basics to stay fed and sheltered as well as items to repair things(tool box full of tools = one thing). Box o' books, toiletries, and a guitar.
  17. Iscariot macrumors 68030


    Aug 16, 2007
    Don't worry friend, tools don't count, and collections only count as one item.
  18. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Just move yourself every year! :)

    I think that it is always good to get rid of things you don't need. But the easiest way to do that is not get them in the first place which is so hard to do.

    Talking about being packrats, I just found some keypunch cards that I made over 30 years ago. Still in mint condition.

    So does a computer and all of it's attachments count as one?

    Lau thanks for the link.
  19. iLoveiPod macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2007
    Hmm, since collections count as one, everything i own is now "the collection of my life."
  20. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Reminds me of Hungry for a Month.

    Basically, the guy only allowed himself $1 a day for food (or $30 for one month, depending on how you look at it).

    Very interesting. ...One of these days I'd like to try it.
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    This is so stupid. Tools are not a collection. If it's a collection, then my clothes count as one thing, my computer counts as another thing. At this pace, I own around 7 things.

    I'm not saying "count every nail as being individual." However, a hammer is one thing, nails of one type is another. A screwdriver set is one thing. A mini/jewellers screwdriver set is one thing. Screws are one thing. A glue-gun is one thing. A band saw is one thing.

    Personally, even if I count all my camera lenses as being separate, and my 2 cameras as being individual things, 3 backpacks, 4 pairs of shoes, and around 30 shirts/t-shirts/PJs, and 6 fancy dress shirts, 4 pairs of pants, 4, pairs of shorts, etc........I still own less than 100 things. OK, not true, but I can totally live without the 2 Christmas ornaments that are sitting on my desk, or the hodge-podge of stuff sitting atop my bar fridge.
  22. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    You know, I thought I was doing really well. Having moved from the states to England and thinning down my wordly possessions by like 80% or so and taking only what I really really wanted. Reading this just makes me see that I'm a big junk collecting turd. I probably have more than 100 clothing items FFS! (in fact, I know I do)
    Damn these Zen people! Damn them! :p
  23. Queso Suspended

    Mar 4, 2006
    No way. Even in the late 90s when I was moving house every six months I never got it that low. Think about it. A week's worth of underwear is 14 items (or 21 depending on whether socks count individually or not). Chuck in all the other clothes, a few books, CDs, a couple of musical instruments and the bits that go with them (plectrums, cables, spare strings, keyboard stands, MIDI interface), the computer stuff, and some tools for the bike and I'm already well over 100. Then what do I cook with, eat with, clean with etc.

    No. Can't be done in the Western world. I'm all for clearing out what you don't need, but 100 is way too low a number to achieve.
  24. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    No chance. I'm a bit of a hoarder as it is. All my old mobiles probably account for a quarter of the allowance, and I probably have a quarter more in computer equipment :D Omg, and then you've got the ingredients for an Elit Cosmo, plus the shaker and the glasses, ohh and the ice machine...

    ...no :D
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    They're not asking, "How many possessions do you have now?" The question is "Do you think you can live with 100 possessions or less?".

    I think I can. I could easily live without physical CDs (they didn't say whether digital music counts....), and I don't wear undershirts, so all I really need are 7 boxers for a week. Actually, I usually wear them twice before washing them, although it depends on what I've been doing that day, the temperature, etc.... I could live with 4 pairs OK, although I'd have to do laundry more often. :(

    If you live by yourself, you could survive with around 2 plates, 2 bowls, 2 spoons, 2 forks, and 2 knives. If desperate, you could live with only one of each. ;) Throw in a frying pan, cooking knife, chopping board, and a pot, and you're set. Add a stove and microwave.

    People in hotter climates have an advantage. They don't need to dress for hot and cold occasions, so they can cut out jackets, scarves, hats, etc. Also, I rarely wear socks to uni. :) I doubt I could do it if I lived in Canada, but while I'm here in Australia, I think 100 things is more than doable.

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