Eco Wise

One Man's Anti-Consumer Challenge: Live With Only 100 Things

In his purge, Dave Bruno made an exception for his books. He's keeping
In his purge, Dave Bruno made an exception for his books. He's keeping "one library." (Dave Bruno)
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stuff. Man, we have a lot of it. And they're nice, these belongings. Entertaining and helpful and cool. And yet: They're also a little oppressive, the way they clutter our homes and dictate our actions. Lo, the 100 Thing Challenge: an endeavor by Dave Bruno, a San Diego resident who decided to whittle his way down to 100 personal possessions. Gone was the iPod. The baseball jersey signed by Pete Rose. The dress pants and the sport coat and the nose-hair trimmer. Purged, all of them. Bruno, a 37-year-old Web editor, officially began his challenge Nov. 12 and plans to continue it for one year (track his adventure and see a list of everything he kept and ditched at

When you decided to start this challenge and began weeding through your things, were you horrified by how much you had?

Some things I thought, "Oh, I don't have as many shirts as I thought I had" -- but then, wow, how do I have all these extra pairs of shoes?

Is there a feeling of wastefulness that accompanies discarding all these items?

I put a lot of stuff on Craigslist and gave a lot away, but some stuff wasn't going to make it out the door unless it got thrown away. There's not much you can do with an old battered shirt.

You didn't just put items in storage. You actually got rid of them. Is your plan to repurchase these things once the year is up?

I don't know. For the year, I don't have these things to go back to. My anticipation is that I won't even want to. . . . It's not a bad practice to give up stuff for a while, to come back with a fresh perspective and new appreciation.

Your challenge makes exceptions for things like socks and undergarments -- each category counts as one thing.

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