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Less is More: The 100 Thing Challenge, Simple, Frugal Living

Updated on April 12, 2013

Frugal & Loving it!

I love living frugally. When I take a look at our family budget every month, I relish stretching every dollar, making things last and living with less. But it wasn’t always this way, I didn’t always embrace the less is more philosophy. In fact it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the 100 Thing Challenge website that I was able to quiet the constant voice in my head that whispered “more, more, more,” and asked myself “what if what I have is enough…or even too much?”

A Way of Life

The author of this website, and now founder of an entire movement, challenges people to pare down their personal possessions to just 100 things, to live with less and see how it impacts their life. It is incredible and transformative and really affirms that less is more. And by this I mean; owning less, caring less about financial gains, using less of our physical and mental energy to acquire possessions frees us all to fill our lives with more meaningful pursuits like relationships and family and generosity.

On my Way

I wish I could tell you that I have successfully completed the challenge myself, but I haven’t. Although 100 seems like a big number, it’s not by today’s standards, so I’ll say I’m mid-process, but I truly believe that 100 items is more than enough. So I am trying to reduce my possessions everyday and am refusing to “buy in,” to a consumer culture anymore.


Unexpected Gifts

Through the 100 Thing Challenge and my frugal living ways I have discovered many unexpected gifts. My hope is that by sharing them here people will be inspired to take on the 100 Thing Challenge and embrace the less is more philosophy.

Less Money Equals Less Stress

When I had more money and more things I needed more money and more things to service the things that I had. I was on a treadmill of wanting more and needing more money to pay for the things I already had, but hadn’t finished paying for or cost money to maintain. Confusing and exhausting. And did owning any of these things really make me feel better? Nope. Did the debt of having all of these things make me feel incredibly stressed out? Yup. Less money forced me to separate my needs from my wants and let me get off the endless treadmill of acquiring more stuff. Really the less you have the less you need to worry about. Less money really does equal less stress.

Confidence

Living with less has forced me to become a more resourceful person than I ever thought I could be. I’ve learned that I can live on very little money, I can grow my own food and can reach out to the ties in the community I have made through sharing what I have and that we can lean on each other to get through tough times. I can feed my mind and spirit by being out in nature with people I care about instead of mindlessly staring at a screen alone. I have the confidence to throw what I can into a backpack and hit the road to see what life has in store for me if it comes down to it and that is an incredible feeling that doesn't come from owning things or having money.

Source

Health

Packaged food costs more money, making things from scratch takes more time, but costs less money and is healthier for you. Gas costs money, riding your bike to the grocery store doesn’t cost money and is exercise. Watching TV every night leads to a sedentary lifestyle and isolation, going for a walk every night leads to health, well-being and seeing other human beings. I’m sure you see where I’m going here. Is having more money and a bigger TV worth your health? I’ve decided it isn’t.

Source

Friendship

When you stop owning everything yourself you find yourself reaching out into the community to see if anyone would be willing to share or barter with you. And wouldn’t you know it you end up talking with people and finding out about their lives and becoming friends. I think it’s what people used to do before texting and Facebook. It’s a strange and wonderful thing having relationships with people and speaking with them face to face.


Go for it!

If you’ve made it here why not take that next step? Get a box or a bag and walk around your house right now and find ten things to give away. Put the word out to friends and family that you’re willing to share and barter. Become a frugal ninja and grow your own food and turn off that TV. You may even go so far as to think about what life would be like if you worked less and lived more.

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    • shawna.wilson profile image

      shawna.wilson 4 years ago from Arizona

      I just started reading Mary Lambert's book "Living With Less." She talks about how to downsize to 100 personal possessions and references Dave in her book. I'm not sure I can get my things down to 100 but I can definitely get rid of a whole lot! And I'm looking forward to less clutter in my life :)

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for the kind words pinot2011 and the support. I agree that we have all bought into a very complicated existence based on way too much stuff. Good luck in your quest for simplicity and happiness.

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi thundermama! Quite interesting and realistic hub in this materialistic hustle-bustle artificial jungle. We have really complicated our life with all sorts of gadgets and should prune down to your list to become happy.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      Wow, so wonderful to read all this fantastic feedback. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It really is an ongoing process for each one of us to not get sucked in by an abundance of stuff and pair down to what really matters and is necessary. I wish each on of you luck in your journey to live with less.

      And a giant thank you to the wonderful hubbers who have shared this hub. I am filled with gratitude.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I am in the process of decluttering my house right now. I had my kids make lists of stuff they wanted, and I am boxing that stuff up for them to get it out of my house.

      Everyone has too much "stuff".

      My Dad used to say you never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.

      Voted UP and shared.

    • gaplumber profile image

      gaplumber 4 years ago

      An old man told me one time, "Son if you don't have anything you don't have to worry about anything", I caught myself about a year ago and have been trimming back since then. Good Hub!

    • rambansal profile image

      Ram Bansal 4 years ago from India

      Having only 100 things in possession is a grand idea of leading a minimalist lifestyle -

      https://hubpages.com/health/The-Boon-of-Minimalist...

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I love this. Read it twice. From a different perspective I have been slowly paring down the "things" in my life. 12 years ago I emptied my attic repurposing, giving or throwing away. 10 years ago I got rid of 80% on the things in my garage.

      8 years ago I gave away half of my books (that was the hardest) and dishes and I still have more than plenty. 6 years ago I gave away a few small pieces of furniture and a lot of knick-knacks.

      4 years ago I gave away 2/3 of my jewelry and 1/3 of my clothes 2 years ago I went through every closet in the house and disposed, one way or another, of half of the contents. This year I am going to go through my books again (as I have re-accumulated) and my music collection asking what do I really need? What do I actually listen to?

      I guess it's a forever process for me, but I hope in my sixties and seventies to live "very lightly." Terrific Hub. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Thank you for a thought provoking hub!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      "Living with less reduces stress." (This just came to me :) And it's true. I just made a major move and learned that I feel more free since scaling down from 0% to 99%. Love your message! Voted up and across and sharing.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much for reading NSmiss. It is something I still aspire too. Thanks for the website tip, will definitely check it out.

    • novascotiamiss profile image

      novascotiamiss 4 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      What an inspiring hub about frugality. I couldn't agree more with your ideas, although I must admit, 100 things sounds rather minimalistic, even for a frugal person like me. I will definitely check out this website as I find it a very interesting concept. I found another equally intriguing website for Christmas which is called "buy nothing at all" which gives a similar message to yours.

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Wow! Pairing down my life to 100 things would be really hard. I would be curious to see lists of the 100 things that people were able to pair their life down to.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 5 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      You have a very good ideas here. I suppose the steps you take will also depend on your personality, like am a bit of a hermit and going out to meet other people is very tiring to me.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Jools! I admire the bold step you are taking leaving your job behind. Thanks for reading and good luck with this next step in your life.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Thundermama, I am just starting this journey and intend to quit my job in about 6 weeks time - goodbye to stress mainly but also a way to get back in touch with really just living. I am growing my own fruit and veg for the first time and cooking more from scratch and saving like crazy (cos I will have no income soon) but you know, I am looking forward to it, I don't fear it.

      Great hub, voted up etc n shared.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      @Natashalh Thanks for reading, I am just starting to grow my own food and am finding it challenging but rewarding. A friend of mine gave me some soap nuts to make laundry detergent out of, have yet to try them. Looking forward to doing more for myself.

      @Billybuc, your journey inspires me so much. I really am finding having less is leading to a lot of personal growth and happiness.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      We began a similar journey almost a year ago and I gotta say I love the freedom that living frugally gives us. Hooray for you and keep up the good work.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Love it! I enjoy growing and making my own food, as much as possible, and finding ways to live a simpler life. I usually bike to work and have even made my own laundry detergent. It's great to find a like-minded person!

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      @Availiasvision, great advice,sometimes I do get hung up on the number. It's better to focus on what is important.

      @Jamie, thanks so much for the kind words and stopping by. Good luck with your move!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      Thundermama, I could really benefit from this challenge, I am SUCH a pack rat but it causes huge anxiety to have to decide if I want to get rid of something or not. I think I may even be a mild hoarder. We are getting ready to move to a new apt and I SO want to go through everything as I am packing and get rid of things but I'm so scared that I don't even want to pack and we have two weeks to be out!! Your hub is timely for me... I don't know if I could get rid of everything except 100 things but I could sure get rid of some things. Thank you for the inspiration :)

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 5 years ago from California

      Great advice on how to be a minimalist, something very dear to my soul. I haven't obtained the 100 things title yet, but I'm loving the lifestyle change minimalism brings. The number of items isn't as important as the reason you are making the change and the subsequent benefits bestowed on you. No need to fret if you own 137 items. People can get over obsessed with what counts as a "thing" and miss out on what really counts.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 5 years ago from New England

      Yes I have! I am not sure if I am allowed to put the links to them in my comments, but a couple of the titles include "10 Great Things About Cohousing" and "Cooking for a Large Group of Neighbors, Cohousing Style." If you visit my profile and search my hubs for content with the word "cohousing," a list of related articles under which I put "cohousing" as a keyword/tag will pop up on the left. I hope that helps. Enjoy!

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Seafarer you are living my dream. I really feel that cohousing is the way of the future. Sharing, helping, not possessing. Have you written any hubs on the experience? I would love to read about it.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 5 years ago from New England

      Great ideas in this hub. I know other people who have taken the 100-thing challenge. I am on my way....not quite there yet...but it feels good to be on the journey. :0)

      I live in a cohousing community, so the opportunities to be engaged socially and to share/barter are great! :0)

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Anancelete, thank you so much for your kind comments. It is a wonderful thing to become self reliant and know that you are capable of doing anything with very little. So glad my hubs struck a chord with you. I sounds like we are birds of a feather.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      This is awesome! I learned to be frugal the hard way. But I am happier than most people I know.I learned to do things myself and teach my children to be self reliant.I have only the essentials and we recycle everything! I loved your Hub!! Blessings

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Wow BL, to me you are living the dream. Incredible! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 years ago from Brazil

      OMG, I couldn't agree more. My husband and I live frugally as well. We can stretch a chicken dinner further than anyone we know. No TV, no heating, no air cond., and we try to do most DIY without hiring anyone.

      We drink fresh fruit juice daily from our trees, and eat fish from our lakes. Chickens keep us in eggs and the goats keep the weeds down.

      We are healthier and happier than we were when we worked 8-5 for more money.

      Great hub.

    • Thundermama profile image
      Author

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Wow, thank you for your positive comments everyone. This challenge really inspired me too.

      ED it does include books, CDs and DVDs, so I am kind of cheating and digitizing mine. You can see Dave's list of 100 things on his website.

      Jill the books we're the absolute hardest for me too. At first I just had to get down to 100 books. But it is so liberating when you do. I donated most of mine to our small town library and the school book sale and felt great about it.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for sharing this! It's a great idea and I am all for it. I might have problems with my books though, but I'm willing to give it a try.

      Voted up and useful!

    • Electro-Denizen profile image

      Charles 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      I'm inspired by this hub. My whole life I've been trying to simplify and get rid of things in favour of simplicity. 100 objects? Does that includes books and cds/dvds?

    • profile image

      avantitexan 5 years ago

      Great concept and challenge. Sounds like a journey I want to be on, thanks for sharing!

    • JanHeath profile image

      JanHeath 5 years ago from Australia

      Great idea, I love it. I'm going to find my ten things to give away now...