The Making of a Minimalist | 100 Things Challenge

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” ― Nathan W. Morris

In college, I became a minimalist to maximize my time.

I had a lot to balance between career, class, clubs, and conquering Catan…kill the sheep and burn the wheat!

After graduating, I then got rid of even more stuff as a consequence of another decision I made…

As I stood atop a mountain with my hair blowing in the wind, I pronounced to the world, “I shall be a digital nomad!”

Metaphorically speaking. Physically, I was hunched over a list of pros & cons; with one of the “cons” being that I’d have to massively downsize.

My digital nomadic lifestyle took the form of buying a 21 ft R.V. and traveling around the United States.

2 years later I sold the R.V. and now I live out of a suitcase as I travel around Southeast Asia, which further limits my possessions.

Flight Attendant: Sorry sir, we can’t fit all your Catan board games in the overhead bin.
Me: Make it fit!! Do you know who I am!? I am Anthony the Great, destroyer of all those who question my absolute power!
Undercover Agent: Excuse me sir, but we’re going to need you to step off the plane.

The other day I put all my stuff in a pile and counted. I own 90 things to be exact.

I absolutely love it! I love the freedom of being able to throw it all in a suitcase and within 24 hours live in a new country.

I love not wasting too much time organizing, cleaning, or hunting for things.

Me: Honey, did you see where I put my keys?
Imaginary Girlfriend: Did you check the tall cabinet next to the bookcase on the third shelf behind the small cup of colored pencils? I said the small cup!!
possessions = stress

I like minimalism so much that I believe even my future, richer self will also keep his personal possessions to around 100 things while letting his future genetically engineered and/or clone babies and wife robot 3000 decide for themselves how minimalist they want to be.

But ultimately minimalism is not a number, but a mindset.

I just like shooting for a number to keep me in the mindset! It’s a fun way to force me to think creatively about what I need and can combine, for example my iPhone case functions as a wallet too.

100 Things Challenge: Count everything you own. Donate/Destroy until you get to 100 possessions.

STEPS

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” ― Joshua Becker
  1. Put all your stuff in a big pile (Pile A).
  2. Then move must-keep stuff into a new pile (Pile B).
  3. Next move maybe stuff into a third pile (Pile C).
  4. Throw big pile of sh*t out (Pile A).
  5. Count what’s left in the two remaining piles (Pile B & C).
  6. Ultimately there is a subjective nature to this challenge when deciding what counts as a “thing”. For example, one could count all socks as one or each separate sock. Rationalize what works for you!
  7. If you live with other humans then only count your personal possessions because you don’t want to turn into the Genghis Khan of item removal.
  8. If you find it hard to throw out more stuff then consider buying/redesigning things to combine functions.
mug plate

9. If you still have over 100 things then put stuff in a someday box with a date on it and whenever you take something out, keep it out. Then after the date you get rid of whatever is still in the box (uh oh how’d this little guy get in there?!).

10. Moving forward, whenever you buy something new, throw something out.

BENEFITS

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” — Socrates
  • More Focus: Minimalism is not about less for less sake. It’s about only owning those things that bring you joy and advance you toward your goals. So much fluff & bullsh*t out there. As my Grandma used to say, “Cut the sh*t, Anthony!”
“Minimalism is not subtraction for the sake of subtraction. Minimalism is subtraction for the sake of focus.” ― Unknown
  • More Time: When you aren’t spending a ton of time packing and cleaning you have more time to do the things you really enjoy. And happiness research shows that people derive more satisfaction from spending money on experiences than stuff.
  • More Freedom (risk taking): More stuff means more expenses, which makes you more dependent upon the income from your job, which means you’ll have to play it safe.
  • More Giving: Don’t look at what you get rid of as a loss. This is what is referred to as the sunk cost fallacy. And by donating or selling the things you don’t use it will be a gain for someone else who will use it.
  • More Courage: I think many people, especially the rich, wrap themselves around stuff to fill the emptiness in their life. People are afraid of the emptiness. Embrace it and I believe you’ll lose some of the fear that comes with attachment.
“This is today! What will tomorrow bring? Life arrives and departs on its own schedule, not ours; it’s time to travel light, and be ready to go wherever it takes us.” ― Meg Wolfe
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