“Is prosperity only a material condition? Is there not prosperity of the soul? Outward riches without inward peace, I think we can all agree is a tentative state of wealth.” –Dave Bruno
Having never actually been a follower of Dave Bruno’s Blog, I only had a vague idea what the 100 thing challenge was all about, and in my ignorance I was very sceptical about the concept of paring down to only 100 things. The odd snippets I did come across while reading minimalist blogs gave me the impression that a lot of people were jumping on the band wagon like it was some kind of competition as to how few things the participants could live with.
When out of the blue I received an email from Mary at Harper Collins asking if I would be interested in receiving a free copy to review my initial reaction was to think – Do I really want to add this book clutter to my home. Then I thought – What have I a got to loose, I can always hand the book on when I am done.
Well I have to say the book pleasantly surprised me. The story is simply one man’s attempt to break free from the constraints of American-Style consumerism. As my readers know I am a strong advocate for adopting a more sustainable approach to consuming. My first advice when it comes to decluttering is to be conscious about what you buy or you will just be re-cluttering while you are decluttering.
Dave lives with his wife and three daughters in San Diego, California. He sets his story up with a little information about his life from both a business and personal point of view so we get to know him a little. He outlines the rules of his challenge so we know exactly what is considered personal items, and what items are considered shared property, so not included in the challenge. Dave is honest and open about his struggles during the challenge, and about the mistakes he made with some of his choices.
He touches on how disappointment is built into the products we buy causing us to be constantly dissatisfied with our purchases. I could really relate to this and have blogged about this problem myself in the past on Day 214 and Day 111. Sustainability is not even a factor in some of the useless and flimsy products on the market.
Even though he took a year to reduce his belongings to the 100 thing limit, it forced him to part with some things that he later regretted not keeping. This particularly concerned me as he then talks of replacing those items once the challenge was over. He also traded a few items out as the challenge went along. All in all though, compared to the average consumer he certainly set a fabulous example for how we can all live a fulfilling life with minimal possessions. Several months after the challenge is over he is still living with less than 100 personal items, and content that the challenge brought him to to his goal of being a more thoughtful and joyful person.
Would I recommend reading this book? Yes, I personally preferred reading the first half of the book, it tells of Dave’s soul searching to choose which 100 personal items to keep. He delves into the reasons behind why he was clinging to certain objects in his life, how he came to terms with and untangled those ties. How there is more to it than just parting with the items but also letting go of the unrealised dreams that those items represent. For this alone the story is really worth the read.
I wouldn’t suggest that you reduce you personal belongings to 100 things on a whim? No, but it is not unreasonable to think that in the endeavour to simplify and declutter your life you may wake up one day and realise you have done just that. I have no doubt that you would be happier for it.
Today’s Declutter Item
Another DVD that Liam decluttered. He has been very cooperative with the decluttering lately and I am milking that for all it’s worth. There is no telling how long it will last.
Things I am grateful for today
- I have managed to resurrect a favourite pair of shoes today with the help of a bottle of suede/nubuck dye.
- I found a good red lentil dahl recipe on the internet.
- I have my car back – Steve’s motorbike is finally back on the road.
- I made it home safe and sound each time I left the house today – despite the fact that in four separate instances when vehicles tried or did take my right of way. I seem to have been a crazy driver magnet today.
- Memories of reading bedtime stories to my children when they were younger- I loved reading to them and sometimes I would con them into brushing my hair so I would read an extra story. I love to having my hair brushed.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow.