My 100 Items

8 Nov

In a previous post (Could You Live With Only 100 items?) I committed to coming up a list of only 100 things I would own if I were to attempt this method of minimalism.

An arbitrary number presents a challenge, and some have handled the challenge with semantics, counting hundreds of books as “one library”, or by not counting things also used by others (like furniture).

I admit to having a hard time with this list.  Rationalization did occur.

Some of my belongings are contingent upon my living space or financial situation.  For example, I did not count my lamps, or storage bins, because if I lived in a house with more overhead lighting, closet space or built-in shelves I would not need them.  I did not count appliances because they often come with the house.

Some of my belongings are necessary for health or hygiene.  For example, I elected not to count my toothbrush, shampoo, eye drops, or sunscreen.  Also, some belongings are very small, like my library card, and I did not count them for that reason.

I ultimately decided to count items that I choose to own based on my values, lifestyle, and individual needs.  I also counted sets as one item, within reason, for example “bed” refers to the bed with the pillows, sheets and blankets included.

My list:


#(1)  Car with GPS

#(2)  Laptop

#(3)  Digital camera

#(4-5)  Music systems for bedroom and living room

#(6-8)  Houseplants

#(9)  Cellphone

#(10-19)  Art hanging from the walls and ceiling

#(20)  Photos

#(21)  Pine needle basket made by my late grandmother

#(22-26)  Purses and wallet

#(27)  Leatherman tool

#(28-30)  Vases

#(31-34)  Art supplies

#(35-38)  Board games and deck of cards

#(39)  Drawer of jewelry

#(40)  Calendar

#(41-44)  Cookbooks

#(45-51)  Pots, pans, dishes, flatware

#(52)  Towels and bathmats

#(53-57)  Organizational file binders

#(58)  Bookends

#(59-63)  Bed, chair, table, shelves, dresser

#(64-100)  Clothes and shoes


I think you can tell a lot about me from this list.  Some might question why I used up three numbers on houseplants but didn’t include a television…but I stand by that choice.

If I actually had to put this into practice, I am sure I would have to change some numbers, or even sacrifice some things, but I tried to be as realistic as possible and I am happy with my list.

13 Responses to “My 100 Items”

  1. Teri November 14, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Very difficult exercise. Would make it easy to have a very small living space!

  2. Expressmom November 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

    My mom lives with me right now. We gave her the master bedroom snf it is has an ensuite bathroom. Admittedly her room is quite large.
    Just today I am packing her things for a move. She is already on box 16 and that is JUST knick-knacks!!! She owns more knick-knacks in that room than we do for the entire house. LOL!

    I think she may need to read this blog!

    • acleansurface November 15, 2010 at 9:46 am #

      16 boxes of knick-knacks? Yikes! That makes for a lot of dusting.

  3. SherryGreens December 19, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    I have thought about the 100 things thing, and wondered if it is possible, really, when you have 2 kids. I do not think it is possible! Do each of us get 100 things? I commend your vases choices (we all need pretty things that hold pretty flowers) and lack of TV. I think I want to go on a TV challenge for a month, to see if I could give it up. Oh the things I could accomplish without TV! I also like how you determined that the bed was one thing, because where does it stop? My bed could be 11 things if you counted each part of the bed (each matress, pillow case, sheet etc). I like this thought exercise, though, I should do it. Why do we need all this extra stuff?

    • acleansurface December 20, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      Sherry, I am not able to do it either, but I would like to get a little bit closer to it!

  4. Sally January 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Hey Rayme, what a great idea. I have been reading a lot about the 100 thing challenge on various minimalist websites but everybody seems to be actually doing it and then living nomadic lifestyles that don’t require basics like kitchen appliances & equipment, furniture, linen and all those things that you need when living in a house or even an apartment. It’s great to see a ‘what if’ scenario for a change.

    You’ve given me the inspiration to write my own fantasy 100 things list, I’ll post it in a couple of days. If I could get down to 100 things here’s my dream minimalist apartment:

    • acleansurface January 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      Wow, Sally, that dream apartment is so white I’d be afraid to eat in there! And forget about kids…
      Yes, the 100 thing challenge is not for everyone. I look forward to seeing your list.

  5. jtlindsey January 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    Just checked back to your blog and ran across this. It’s a fantastic idea. I would love to see what happened if people put it into practice. I’m in the process of putting together my list now, thanks for inspiring my next post.

    • acleansurface January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

      Thanks, Joshua. It is similar to counting blessings, I think. It forces you to consider what has the most value to you, aside from family and friends.

  6. inwardsun January 7, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    Interesting. I have been living more or less in a suitcase for the last ten years (I am 29) and I defintitely know what it is like to live with a little.

    That not said that I don’t love my stuff, the memories I have collected over the years; photoalbums, paintings, travel hats, foreign crafts, books…so I think for me to pick 100 things would be difficult. As for technics, yes, my laptop is crucial (but I have never owned a TV) music is also non-negoitable, a good sound system creates a good atmosphere wherever you are. Hence why my iPod is my always with me.

    Although I like to see myself living an artist’s life with nothing but books, art and music around me (in a beautiful setting) I know there are many modern electronic devices that I’ve gotten used to; the camera, the cellphone, the chargers, the straightener, the hairdryer, the blender, the toaster, the cappuccino-foamer, even the electic toothbrush!

    The simplicity list was easy in theory 😉

    Do you know this blog already? I highly recommend it!


    • acleansurface January 7, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      Yes, it is much, much easier in theory, Helen. The technology we are used adds to our “necessities”. Thank you for visiting, and for the Zenhabits recommendation. I will check it out.

  7. Emily January 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    … it is not healthy to start right away. Try it in steps.
    Step …
    1. Visualise what the items would be (you’ve already done this)
    2. Try to just use those items. (but don’t throw the others away) Make a few tweaks to the list if you need to.
    3. when you’ve developed a habit of this, slowly get rid of the items you don’t use, starting with the least important.
    Voila! You now have 100 items!

  8. Victor July 9, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    Thanks for the explanation! Many years ago I had a year abraod in Sweden, and it just occurred to me that it was then that I learned how nice it can be to live without extraneous stuff. I had the suitcase I arrived with, one big box sent ahead, and a few things I bought for my furnished room (there was a shared kitchen). I may not get to that point again, but I am definitely paring down and downsizing now, later in life.

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