Monday, June 16, 2008

100 things

George Carlin once had a routine on "stuff." He theorized that houses are just places for your stuff--basically, "your stuff with a cover on it." And as you accumulate "too much stuff," you have to buy a bigger house, and in some cases, "put your stuff in storage."

Well, Americans now have "too much stuff." There are entire industries devoted to storage and getting rid of your stuff. There are many TV shows and organizing gurus devoting their lives to decluttering the nation. I myself will admit that my condo could use some decluttering.

So last night I'm reading this article in TIME Magazine about the whole "purging revolution", an articled titled "The 100 Thing Challenge". Dave Bruno, a San Diego online enterpreneur, looked around his family's home last summer, decided there were too many possessions, and launched "The 100 Thing Challenge," where his goal is to reduce all of his possessions to only 100 items. Early this month, he was down to five dress shirts and one necktie but wasn't sure if three pairs of jeans was too much.

So, in my quest for decluttering, I decided to take into account my 100 Things, the possessions I cannot live without. We'll start with the basics:

1. Housing
2. Automobile

I know that there are those who can go completely without a car, like my friend Dom, but I cannot. Dom lives in Manhattan and relies 100% on public transportation, but I live and work in an area where there is very little, if any, of that. So for me, a car is essential.

Let's continue:

3. Oven
4. Refrigerator
5. Dishwasher

OK, I know there are those who wash ALL dishes by hand, and I say, good for them. But I don't always have the time or energy to handwash. Plus, I only run my dishwasher once a week.

6. Washing machine
7. Sink
8. Computer
9. Cell phone
10. iPod

Bruno got rid of his iPod. Again, I say, good for him. I can't get rid of mine, since I can't live without music.

11. Toilet

OK, do built-in household appliances, like toilets and sinks, count for these 100 things? Well, a toilet is a part of a house, and I've already claimed my house as one of my 100 things, so let's cross off toilet.

I just came back from the kitchen, where I got a glass of water. I have many drinking glasses. Bruno argues that a pair of shoes counts as one item, so should drinking glasses count as the same? I really only need one drinking glass, but what if I have company?

One item.

11. Drinking glasses

When I was in the kitchen I also noticed the other small appliances that I own:

12. Coffee maker
13. Microwave
14. Blender
15. Food processor

Really, do I need both a blender and a food processor? I don't really use the blender that much, but I do like smoothies in the summer.

ARRGH, this is hard!!! Smoothies in the summer...

The blender goes, the food processor stays.

Now here's where it gets tricky. We haven't even got to the living room or bedroom, but since I am The Bookkitten, there is one category that needs attention:

16. Books

In the TIME Magazine article, a waitress named Cait Simmons treats her entire collection of shoes (20 pairs worth) as one item. I own more than 100 books, maybe 150, even. So does this mean I can treat all of my books as one item? They're too important to me!


Well, as I sort through the mental clutter that's already going through my mind, I'm going to end this post. Still, I managed to pare down my possessions by one item, so I figure that's a start.

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