Issues of sustainability are a major concern these days. Instead of being a victim of consumerism and constantly replacing and upgrading stuff, the Challenge asks you to consider the real worth of objects (not just the financial worth) to you. Western societies consume far more than is sustainable for the planet as a whole and much of what we buy involves waste at all stages of production and consumption. You can help to reduce this waste.
Instead of having to repeatedly buy the latest ‘thing’ the Challenge asks you to instead understand the value of fully utilising a core set of things, and you’ll save money along the way for more important things.
The Challenge requires you to rethink your complicity in the consumer society model. Instead of being a passive purchaser subject to the whims of advertising, you can follow the mantra of ‘reuse, recycle, repair’. Instead of worrying about things, you can allow time for things that are important to you: relationships, family, your work, whatever. As the founder of the Challenge says, “It’s not about counting things to keep or get rid of. It’s about freeing up space in our lives.”
The founder of the 100 Thing Challenge explicitly says it’s about ‘American-style consumerism’ but it doesn’t require you to stop buying things, only to assess and understand the full impact of purchasing things and ownership. In fact, the main point of the Challenge is more about inner change and finding the time to realise your true personal values. It’s even a bit Zen in its need to rethink.
The number of things is completely arbitrary. It can be 100. You can be an extreme minimalist, and aim for only 50, or you can have many more. You don’t have to be a hermit and live in a cave. You can make up your own rules (like choosing to count all your shoes as one ‘collection’). The more important purpose of the Challenge is to change your thinking and your relationship to things. It’s really asking you just to become more mindful of your values, and to contextualise the full impact of Things.
It’s not about an impossible goal. It’s about the challenge of the journey.