Could You Live With Only 100 Items?

Over at the New York Times, they have a profile of a woman in Portland, OR, who has spent the last three years with only 100 items to her name. In addition to living with less clutter, she and her husband have also managed to erase $30,000 in debt.

“The idea that you need to go bigger to be happy is false,” she says. “I really believe that the acquisition of material goods doesn’t bring about happiness.”

She and her husband gradually began winnowing down their belongings: unused clothing, shoes, books, even the TV were all sacrificed.

She explains:

My lifestyle now would not be possible if I still had a huge two-bedroom apartment filled to the gills with stuff, two cars, and 30 grand in debt.

Give away some of your stuff… See how it feels.

But the question is: Could you do the same?

But Will It Make You Happy? [NY Times]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    If each article of clothing is a “thing,” then no way.

    • Martha Chang says:

      I’d imagine a single outfit would count as a thing, i.e. a pair of jeans is not a thing, but a t-shirt, jeans, socks, shoes, and underwear all collectively count as a thing. I dunno, clothes is kind of a hard thing to categorize.

      Also, does software count as a thing? Things we pay for vs. things that are free? Is the copy of Windows on my desktop a separate thing from my computer? Are all the programs on my computer separate things within themselves? Does the netbook I’m typing this up on count as only one thing since it runs Linux, or does the inclusion of a wireless mouse make it two?

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        According to the article, each item is a “thing.”

        • ArcanaJ says:

          The hell with that then. The TVs can go, my clothing needs are minimal, I certainly don’t need all the chachkas, but they can have my books when they pry them from my cold, dead, page-turning fingers.

          • kennedar says:

            Maybe they have a kindle or other e-book reader? Then its only 1 thing, but you have all your books!

            • Kishi says:

              Replacing my physical books with e-copies would drive me into that 30 grand of debt.

              • Bibliovore says:

                Same here, and nowhere near all of mine are available in Kindle form. Not that I’d want to get rid of my books regardless — I’m with ArcanaJ on that.

                • Bibliovore says:

                  (er, that was “same here” to Kishi’s comment, not FigNinja’s)

                  • wufflebunny says:

                    I think we are missing the point here.. paring down to 100 things is more of a money saving thing (eg reducing debt and living frugally) as opposed to what don’t you have space for. Thus I would count earch item of clothing, each piece of software and each ebook.. because you have to pay for them..

              • FigNinja says:

                I don’t need to replace all the books I’ve ever owned. I buy what I’m interested in reading at the moment. I got rid of most of the public domain books I owned and novels I didn’t think I’d read again. I still have more than 100 books, mostly reference, but I found it quite comfortable getting rid of most of them. I’m not the sort that collects things though. I really asked myself if I would use it again. If not, away it went.

          • Firethorn says:

            My clothing needs would be minimal; but being in the military I am required to keep enough sets of uniforms to add up to the ‘100 things’ very quickly if you break them down.

            If you don’t count them, don’t count software or furniture, I’d be able to do it.

        • Bibliovore says:

          Hard for people who do creation-type things, then — anyone who does any carpentry must have over 100 nails and screws and bolts and such (let alone tools), anyone who sews has over 100 pins alone (I’m not sure you can buy fewer at once), and so on. I’ve easily got over 100 items in my stage makeup kit.

      • It'sRexManningDay! says:

        This is a deeper question than I think people realize. What does it mean to be a “thing”? What does it mean to count? Is the exercise “living with only 100 discrete objects,” or 100 things that matter? And does something really matter if it has to stand alone versus if it is partnered up with other items? Can anything really matter if it isn’t considered in relation to other things?

        /philosophy rant!

      • Charmander says:

        I would imagine that each individual item is a thing. You are wearing a shirt, underwear, pants 2 socks and 2 shoes….that is 7 things already. You’ve only got 93 left.

        That’s why I voted NO WAY.

  2. smo0 says:

    I’ve been going through tons of stuff – boxes of crap I’ve pack-rat-ed for years.
    I think I gave around 4+ bags of old clothes and shoes… not to mention – just straight up threw away 6 bags worth of stuff… I’m still going through things but yeah – the theme for everyone this year, get rid of old junk – better yet, try to sell stuff…. erase debts… minimize… I feel like I can breathe when I walk in the door now.

  3. medfordite says:

    Having lived in a cluttered house in my past life (previous marriage) I now enjoy the less cluttered life and find it refreshing to come home to less and have to deal with less stuff to put away and move around when cleaning house.

    It makes me almost physically ill to be around a lot of extra stuff we don’t need and clutter. So, yeah…I would have to modify the list somewhat – obvious items like silverware, and kitchen items can easily meet the 100 item mark, but if you grouped those as a couple of items, then certainly!

    Every few months, I “Decompress” my environment and eliminate extra items I have accumulated by getting rid of them unless they are seasonal. :)

    • Harrkev says:

      They ride bikes around. A single collection of screwdrivers and a socket set can easily hit the 100 mark.

      Also, the woman works on a computer. Assuming that it is NOT a laptop (maybe it is), then you have a computer, monitor, two power cables, mouse, keyboard, mouse pad, speakers, printer, etc. That can easily be a dozen or more.

      On the other hand, if you count the computer as one item, and the tool box as one item, I could see this working.

  4. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve been living with 100 items for the last 6 years.
    Unless you count each paper in a file box individually – then I’d have more.
    Oh wait, if each individual LEGO block is counted, then I do havemore than 100 things.

  5. raphaeladidas says:

    How do you count the 100? My books alone would leave me out.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      Me too. I have over 600 books at last count.

    • Aeirlys says:

      Book collections should count as a single item.

      • George4478 says:

        That kinda defeats the purpose of decluttering. Otherwise, a clothes-horse could declare his/her ‘wardrobe’ as one thing. An audiophile could declare their vinyl collection as one thing. Etc, etc.

        My book collection numbers close to 1000, so I voted ‘no way’ in the poll.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Well, do you read all those books routinely?

      No? Then the local library would fulfill your booking needs. Or, if you somehow needed the shiny, crisp, new book, you could read it and then sell or donate it.

      Or if you’re a tech nut, buy an e-reader, which is one item capable of housing thousands of books.

      Sounds like right now you’re thinking in terms of consumption rather than conservation.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Actually, the local library, as big as it is, doesn’t fill all of your needs at every moment. There are many books that library systems don’t have and with the systems being so cash-strapped, good luck requesting the book that probably won’t get a huge following.

        I could never restrict myself to just 100 books, and I wouldn’t want to. Reading is an important hobby. It’s educational and relaxing.

      • JoeDawson says:

        and re-purchase all the books i have in dead trees? I don’t read them all the time, but they are there like the “library” for me to access at 3am when i need to know an obscure fact from a book.

        • Bibliovore says:

          This, this, this. And no, of course I don’t read all of my books all of the time, any more than people listen to all of their songs or watch all of their videos or wear all of their clothes all of the time. But I have them to access whenever I want, to loan to friends and family, to re-read if and when I wish, and to reference for work or school or any random interest, and I don’t have to worry about getting them back to the library in time to avoid overdue fees.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        I think it’s cute that you assume people with a lot of books have ‘shiny, crisp, new’ books. The average age of the books in my collection is 50 years old. That’s the books themselves, not simply the original date of publication. When it comes to the ones that are 100+ years old, few libraries can compare to the selection I have in my area of expertise.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      I’m right there with you. I have an e-reader, and it’s great for travel, or taking with me someplace that I’ know I’m likely to be waiting (Dr’s office, auto maintenence). But nothing compares to having the physical book in your hands.
      And, for those who suggest using the library, there is no lending library that I’m aware of that could fulfill all of a person’s reading needs/wants. Sure, if I want the latest bestseller, I’m sure to find it. But if I want some obscure little book that just has a cult following, then I’m going to have to buy it myself.
      And I do loan my books out, which is not something you can do with ebooks.
      So, if we didn’t count my books, I’m pretty sure I could limit myself to 100 items.

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    No. I’m a Class 1 or 2 hoarder, so it would be near impossible. I think I have at least 100 receipts on my spike in the kitchen right this minute…

  7. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I don’t really understand why 100 things was the goal. I mean, they sold a bunch of their stuff to get rid of debt, and that’s laudable, but it seems to me that they were living…not excessively, but perhaps beyond frugally. Two car payments, a two-bedroom apartment, and living in a higher cost area contributed to their change.

    I don’t know anything about Davis, CA but is it metropolitan enough that she have kept her job there and still give up her car for a bicycle to get to work? She nearly cut her salary in half, making it much more difficult to actually save up after getting rid of the debt.

    We already give away a lot of stuff. Every year there’s always clothes that people give us, things that are getting old, books that get donated to the library.

    • dangerp says:

      Davis is a fairly small college town, and is incredibly bicycle friendly. I don’t think I’ve seen so many bikes in one place in my life.

      Reading between the lines in the article, it seemed that the change of location/career was more about doing what made her happy. I’m sure she could have downsized in Davis just fine.

    • ArcanaJ says:

      Yeah, in Davis it’s likely that she could have used a bike to get to work, or a combination of bike/public transport.

      I’m all for scaling back, but this seems excessive. A smaller apartment and no car payments would have been sufficient to beat their debt into submission.

  8. NarcolepticGirl says:

    Actually, now that I think about it – I guess I have more than 100 personal items. I mean, I have about 10,000 photos that are in a box or in albums.
    Plus, even though I sold a lot of them last year, I still have about 50 books, a handful of DVDs and a handful of CDs.

    I have always been able to move with 1-2 car loads of stuff, though.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      A photo album would be one thing, despite having a hundred photos.

  9. nbs2 says:

    What’s a thing? Look at basic cooking products – I have a large, bulk storage container of flour, sugar, rice as well as kitchen based storage for each. That’s six of my items right there. Do my oven and stove count as separate items? That’s two more. Let’s say I have one oven safe container and one cooktop – that’s 10 items. But wait! I need to have a sponge to get them clean. Over 10% and I’m not even really eating, let alone clothed or working. And let’s not even get into having kids.

    100 things sounds like silliness for the sake thereof, but I suppose it would be easier if I ate out every day.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I started reading the article and when I got to the part where it says she owns four plates and two pots, I nearly emitted a strangled cry. Four plates? Two pots? What about pans? Four plates? They must wash dishes a lot.

      Again, I understand they sold stuff to pay off debt, but I don’t see the point in keeping yourself to 100 items, and selling essentials like your pots and pans and dishes.

      • FatLynn says:

        Besides, can you really re-sell pots and pans for any sort of real money? Making the decision not to replace something that is broken is one thing, but selling stupid stuff is another.

      • Blueberry Scone says:

        I think her point is that she realized she was holding on to things because she felt that she “had” to have them. Maybe she had a KitchenAid mixer – because she was told she “had” to have it – but realized it was impractical because she didn’t use it that much. So, why not get rid of it and free up some space in your kitchen?

        I can also see her point where the small apartment size seriously restricts what they can bring into the apartment. I am trying to enforce a “bring something in, take something out” rule in my own home, just to cut down on excess Stuff we don’t need.

        But yeah, I couldn’t imaine not having more than four plates. Do they invite friends over for dinner?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I have a KitchenAid mixer that I’ve used twice. It weighs about as much as I do and I can’t lift it by myself. But I’ll never get rid of it because it was a gift that was given with a lot of thought. And it’s not something I would have ever been able to bring myself to buy for myself.

  10. sonneillon says:

    yup 5: shirts, slacks,socks, underwear.
    1: Coat Belt Wallet.
    Clothes 23 items
    Couch, Chair, Car, Computer, TV, Bed, GPS, sauce pan, frying pan, Table,
    33 items and I’m good. 70 if you include stuff like stationary and silverware.

    It’s easy being a guy.

    • sonneillon says:

      appliances would probably add another 6 and toiletry another 10.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You left out phone, shoes, a glass or mug, hygienic products, any books, and any DVDs.

      • sonneillon says:

        This is about needs. A phone I need. I suppose a glass I would need also. I did make an edit to include toiletry. Which is about 10 things. Books DVDs all that stuff I can get on my computer. It’s the cheaters guide to entertainment.

        • NarcolepticGirl says:

          each fork counts as one item.

          also, don’t forget any wall decor, rugs, welcome mat, vaccuum, cleaning supplies, blankets, pillows, pens/pencils, trash cans, tools (screw drivers, etc), shelves, etc

          • sonneillon says:

            I don’t even own most of that currently. I have a vacuum, bleach and dish detergent A couple of bowls a few forks and a couple of knives and a big ass spoon. And I counted Stationary, but because I am a contractor that’s really part of my work, still we’ll count it.

            So with appliances, cleaning supplies stationary and supplies it is still under 100 items between 90 and 95 depending on what I have and what I am out of, but i don’t think the OP counted those. Because while I can subsist on a bar of soap, a bottle of shampoo, some toothpaste, a tooth brush and a mach 3. I have never in my 28 years met a woman who that kind of minimalist bathroom supplies.

            • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

              Then count every piece of software on your computer as a “thing.” Or any game you downloaded on Xbox Live Arcade/PS store/WiiWare (delete as required.) Still under 100 “things”? Seems to be rather ludicrous to believe you can own fewer than 100 things and get along in life. Yes, I part with things I don’t need, but to keep that to under 100? No.

              • sonneillon says:

                Now your just being difficult. You can keep breaking things down to ludicrous amounts. Every piece of paper in your stationary is a thing. Every piece of chicken in your General Tso’s chicken is a thing. That is disingenuous in wording and in spirit to the original post.

  11. womynist says:

    I think 100 “items” is pushing it a little. I mean, I have a bin full of medical/hygiene items(lotion, contact lens solution, cortisone cream, etc.) that probably has about 50 things in it. So that alone would put me near the limit. I’m all for consolidating and getting rid of useless stuff, but come on…100 things and that’s all?

  12. ChimmyChai says:

    Nope. I have a house with a yard to keep up. The various maintenance tools (screwdrivers, lawn mower, etc.) number over 100 themselves.

  13. evnmorlo says:

    They have two ridiculous pieces of furniture, a fat cat, and she is wearing some dumb footwear. They should be deeply ashamed for having more than 96 objects.

  14. veronykah says:

    The only thing I’m in debt for is my education, otherwise me and my well over 100 item lifestyle are debt free.
    Just because you have things doesn’t mean you are living beyond your means.

  15. mommiest says:

    Living frugally is a good idea, but 100 items is arbitrary. The lady profiled has four plates. If you want to have a bunch of friends over for spaghetti and a rented movie, that’s pretty cheap, but she doesn’t have the option unless she goes with paper plates or has others bring their own dishes.

    In my case, that number wouldn’t let me do what’s important to me.

    And what if your hobby is sewing?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      And what if your hobby is sewing?

      The system ate a comment I left earlier but I checked my Ravelry account after this post went up: I have 136 skeins of yarn. That’s adding up the partially used ones, but still.

      Any hobby that allows or requires you to create any kind of stash blows this out of the water and I’m not sure there exists a hobby, art, or craft that doesn’t do that. Hell, people who sew are buying fabric, thread, interfacing, needles, ribbon, trim, closures, patterns, muslim, etc. The list for the types of things for sewing before you even get to having more than one of anything.

      • mommiest says:

        Yeah, with me the hobbies are cooking and gardening. Lots of toys, but they mean something to me and add to my family’s quality of life. We don’t waste money on things that are unnecessary or unimportant, but I blew past the 100 objects when I was single with my first kitchen.

        Frugal living still needs to be living.

  16. BrianneG says:

    I hate doing laundry, so I probably have 50 items just of knickers, bras, and sports bras.

  17. El_Fez says:

    Impossible. Just clothing alone would kill 10% of your hundred.

    2 pants, 2 shirts, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 underwear – and you’d be doing laundry every 5 days (or stink like crazy). A couple of more basic needs – a pot, a plate, a bowl, a cup, a knife, fork and spoon, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush – and you’re already pushing 25% of your capacity. Heaven forbid you add in disposable stuff like TP, aspirin, or shampoo.

    Oh, but you need something to sleep on! beds, pillows and sheets can easily get you to 50%.

    This is before figuring in ANY thing fun to do, or something like photo albums or a hobby (hell, my photography kit has 100 things in it alone!)

    So yeah, have fun sitting there naked and smelly in your big empty house, bored out of your mind. Be sure to tell me how that works out for you.

    • DriverB says:

      ‘have fun sitting there naked and smelly in your big empty house, bored out of your mind.’

      This made me laugh. :)

  18. Muddie says:

    Why would I want to? I’m happy with my more then 100 items. I have disposable income. I donate blood and plasma, I volunteer for charities and donate to others. I have zero debit and haven’t had any in years, and all while having more than 100 items.

    I thought the point was to be happy and harmonious. Me having less then 100 items wouldn’t achieve that.

  19. pantheonoutcast says:

    I understand that the purpose of this experiment was to gauge one’s happiness and make a lifestyle change accordingly, but I don’t think whittling one’s life down to a handful of objects is going to rectify the underlying cause of the unhappiness in the first place.

  20. HighontheHill says:

    Not even conceivable. I am far too self sufficient to rely on anyone for anything but the most specialized things I cannot possibly do myself, this would include all vehicle work, work on my home, my property, hell I even jacked my house off the foundation to completely remove and replace the damaged foundation, a job I was quoted as much as $50,000. to have done but which I did for $6,000. As such I probably have over 100 sockets which fit on a dozen or so ratchets…. My shop is as big as our home.

    We most definitely live within our means but I find the notion of living like a destitute hobo utterly unappealing. To the extent that I am aware you only go this way once and you never know when your number may get called, you may as well live like you mean it.

    Even if that means you have 3 dozen pairs of underpants so laundry is a once a month scenario…. ;)

  21. lain1k says:

    God, I don’t think I own 50 things. Everything in my apartment is owned by my room mate. I prefer not to own things I expect will be a hassle to move, get rid of, or can survive without until I actually own a house and plan to stay in one location a long time.

  22. Jacquilynne says:

    Do digital things count as things? Because if I have to count every one of my mp3s, no. If I only have to count my iPod, maybe.

    What about my computer? There’s a monitor, a mouse, a keyboard, a tower, an external hard drive, a printer, a USB hub, a KMV switch, a router, a modem, cables from the wall to the modem, the modem to the router and the router to the computer. Are each of those ‘things’ or is that just item #37 on the list, ‘computer’?

    Realistically, I have almost that much underwear, so no, not a 100. 500 maybe. Assuming I got rid of my CDs and my books.

  23. HeyApples says:

    Judging from the comments people are getting too side tracked in the semantics of what constitutes 100 items. Forget it.

    The underlying idea of reducing clutter, expenses, and simplifying one’s life is what is important. It is about lifestyle.

    • Bibliovore says:

      I suspect the comments are focusing on the number of items because that’s what the article focuses on — it’s not just about decluttering, but about having done so to a specific number of items, and many here are saying that decluttering to only 100 items is farther than they could comfortably go, even if they’re otherwise happy to minimize.

      • TWSS says:

        It doesn’t focus on the arbitrary number, though. The writer used it as a jumping off point to talk about how living with less makes us happier.

        Obviously, its impractical for most people to be happy with 100 personal items. Rejecting the concept of simple living enriching happiness based on that arbitrary number is intellectually lazy, though. The purpose is to take the time to figure out what ACTUALLY makes you happy, and let the other cruft go, regardless of precise numerical quantities.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Judging from the comments people are getting too side tracked in the semantics of what constitutes 100 items.

      Semantics matter. You can’t answer the question posed by the pole if you don’t know whether digital items count, whether duplicates of the same item count (like silverware), etc. Depending on how it’s defined, 100 items could be reasonable or terribly extreme.

  24. Beeker26 says:

    I fully believe purging is good for the soul. But 100 items… that’s a bit steep for me.

  25. WhoLikesPie? says:

    I really hope they don’t count each one of my individual skittles as a thing. I’d be screwed at Halloween.

  26. redskull says:

    Hell, why stop at 100? Go all the way and get rid of it all. They can surely fashion clothing from leaves or animal skins, and they can always forage for food and live in a cave. It was good enough for our ancestors after all.

    Look, I freely admit that Americans are champions when it comes to buying crap they don’t need, but this is a bit extreme. There’s nothing wrong with buying something superfluous once in a great while. Who wants to live like a monk their entire life?

  27. Outrun1986 says:

    Purging is great, and yes its good to whittle down your stuff, but why limit yourself to only 100 things. Its not that hard, just get rid of stuff you don’t use. If you haven’t used it in a year then you probably won’t use it again, especially when it comes to things like clothes that go out of style and if you have a job that requires wardrobe updating, which most jobs do.

    On the flipside if you have obtained stuff super cheap that you think you might use eventually, it might be better to keep the stuff provided you have room, especially if you have a hobby that requires it and it might get used one day. It could cost you a lot more if you have to start replacing the stuff you threw out, especially if you originally bought the stuff at rock bottom prices.

  28. AnonymousCoward says:

    This all started with a guy in San Diego several years ago. There was an article about it in Time magazine in 2008 (google, the article is still there). I think the concept is sound, but 100 is of course an arbitrary number that has to be defined by the person doing the counting. I have no interest in picking some arbitrary number of things to have, but my family’s goal for 2010 is to end the year with “a lot less stuff” than we started the year with, and we’re meeting the goal by ruthlessly cleaning out one closet (or cabinet, or whatever) every month or so, and selling, donating, or recycling everything we’re not actively using. Which has led to some interesting things. For example, we’ve taken up bike riding again for the first time in years, because the option was to either ride the bikes or get rid of them. We rode them once, to keep them from the scrap heap, and realized we’d forgotten how much we liked bike riding. Now we park the cars on the weekends, and ride our bikes everywhere, and our lives are better as a result. Go figure.

  29. OneTrickPony says:

    “Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.”

    Um, there’s a big difference between owning 100 things and having 100 items in your clothing and toiletry collection.

  30. CaptCynic says:

    Heck, I’ve got more than 100 things in my backpack that I carry everyday.

    If this kind of minimalist living makes them happy, good for them. But the reality is, for almost everyone, this kind of arbitrary limit is impossible. I notice they don’t have children. Good luck keeping that lifestyle with a couple of toddlers. I think this is probably only sustainable for a short period of time. Want to have friends over, well, they’ve got nowhere to sit and have so share plates with you.

    I also suspect people that live this kind of lifestyle probably have a very condescending attitude to those of us who don’t. If it makes you happy to be able to put all your earthly belongings into a rubbermaid tote bucket, go for it. I’ll be playing xbox with my kids, sitting on my comfy sofa and having friends over for dinner tonight. Abundance of possessions does not equal happiness, but a lack of possessions doesn’t either.

  31. thedarkerside.to says:

    I’ve been clearing out regularly every few years.

    I don’t really own a lot of stuff. I mostly own books and my camera equipment. Outside of that there isn’t really that much crap, never felt the need to it.

    Having said this, I still have more than 500 books and I don’t really want to part with them either, though at times I wonder really why I keep them around….

  32. INsano says:

    You Betcha*

    *books /= things

  33. Lollerface says:

    Would each album on an iPod be a “thing” or would the iPod and all its contents count as 1?

  34. JulesNoctambule says:

    Yeah, no. There’s no way I’d give up my manuscript cookbook collection — each of them is completely unique and absolutely irreplaceable.

  35. erratapage says:

    It’s easier to winnow down to a 100 things when you can live with a partner who can also have 100 things. Personally, I think it’s a concept that is worth exploring. Maybe I won’t get down to 100 things, but it would be nice to be able to downsize from a 5 bedroom house to a studio without feeling cramped. And my life would not be the worse if I didn’t need a car that I didn’t have.

  36. Garbanzo says:

    I like my stuff, and have no interest in getting rid of it. I was always mystified by the conventional wisdom that accumulating possessions doesn’t lead to happiness. Then I read this: “Most shoppers eventually regret nearly 80% of the discretionary items they buy; but cheapskates are “premeditated shoppers” and, because of it, are largely immune from buyer’s remorse. Nearly 90% of the cheapskates surveyed say they “never” or “rarely” regret a purchase.” (from http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2010/07/28/surprising-secrets-of-the-cheapskate-next-door/ ).

    I prefer “frugal” to “cheapskate” but, yeah, I rarely regret a purchase. I really like my things!

  37. richco says:

    No way! I have close to 100 CDs and 500 or so DVDs and a lot of books. I like having a madia library.

    I got rid of a lot of stuff recently though (Toy collection, laserdiscs, old clothes etc) either by selling them or giving them away. I throw nothing away that is usable, it gets donated or taken to the flea market.

  38. coren says:

    I *could*.

    I ain’t gonna, I like my ridiculous t shirt collection, I love having books available whenever, and the ability to play whatever games I have when I feel like instead of borrowing or renting is nice.

    Course, all my stuff fits in an 11 by 11 room fairly comfortably, and I’m approaching 30 grand in liquid assets, so I’m pretty happy with that :)

  39. brinks says:

    I’m a coupon shopper and I buy lots of stuff at thrift stores, and, since my neighbors really don’t like me anyway, I don’t buy cool stuff just to impress them.

    I can’t imagine feeling fulfilled if I gave my somewhat unnecessary stuff away. And it certainly won’t make me feel superior to other people, which is kinda the vibe I’m getting from this lady. I’m not impressed by people with a ton of cool stuff, nor am I by people with almost no stuff.

  40. ap0 says:

    The definition of a thing is far too ambiguous to make this meaningful in any way. I feel like I have far less than 100 “things” but if you add up each piece of silverware and all the plates and bowls I have, that takes up half of my “things” already.

  41. Unicorn-Chaser says:

    Does a pair shoes count as one thing or two?

  42. Myotheralt says:

    Next summer, I am thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. Every single thing I need will be carried. I can also guarantee that by mile 50 I will have dropped many items that I really didnt need.

  43. tehbob says:

    Honestly i think that woman is confusing things. “my lifestyle now would not yada yada…..30 GRAND IN DEBT”

    The issue was not that stuff was making her life crapy and that now with out it she is happy. The issue is that she and her husband were living beyond their means and went 30k in debt to fund a lifestyle they could not afford.

    While i think she is now happier I do think most of that has to do with the fact that they now are living with in their means, are not 30k in debt anymore, so that they do not have to worry about that.

    Id be happier too if i went from owing that much money to not owing that much money

  44. DariusC says:

    Another “money doesn’t buy happiness” story… 100 items? Does that include food as well? Socks? Shoes? Shirts and Pants? Hygine Supplies? Shower curtain? TV? Cables for your computer to send this rediculous email?

    I doubt they lived with 100 items… Also, money may not buy happiness, but it rents it for a very long time.

  45. jstlookinground says:

    Jesus, you have one life to live, and this is how you want to spend it? I’d rather take the debt.

  46. dwarftoad says:

    I always wonder where this idea that fewer possessions leads to independence or self sufficiency or happiness comes from. Sure, get rid of stuff you don’t like or aren’t going to use! Or replace it with stuff that is more functional or higher quality. But you do need some tools for living (and that definitely includes enjoyment, comfort, etc.).

  47. DrunkenMessiah says:

    For the Most part, yea, this wouldn’t be too tricky for me. I own a computer, a phone, a car, a modest wardrobe and basic kitchen utensils. If I get to fudge the number a bit (count whole outfits as things rather than individual garments, computer is one or two things rather than a brake-down of 20-odd components) I could mostly pull it off.

    The big problem would come with my tools. I’m much better organized than most tool guys, but the fact remains that I’ve got 4 sturdy boxes of the things plus a bag full of larger power tools and the collection grows with each job I do. Generally I think an exception could be made for tools as they are one of the few types of possessions that actually ADD monetary value to your life rather than subtract. Most larger possessions subtract value (the TV prompts you to purchase content to play on it, the car guzzles fuel and countless other expenses) The amount of money I save doing maintenance on my household’s cars and other round-the-house repairs is huge.

    If you are trying to simplify your life then cutting down on your possessions is important, but not all “things” are dead weight around your neck causing you to sink deeper into debt. My tools have liberated me from the tyranny of multiple over-priced service industries (plumber, car mechanic, etc) and have saved me thousands upon thousands of dollars.

  48. nutbastard says:

    i dont think i own 100 things. maybe 20 pieces of clothing, tv, ps3, car, some tools, laptop, ipod, sansa… does every socket in my tool set count? or is the tool set one thing?

  49. SuperNinjaâ„¢ says:

    1. Become a “Blogger”
    2. Do some drastic “Life-changing” thing
    3. Pro$$it?

  50. Senator says:

    Does my house and the stuff inside count as one item?

  51. Captain Packrat says:

    I think I have more than 100 things in my pockets.