20 January 2011

The 100 Thing Challenge

I have way more than 100 things.

In my kitchen alone, just for starters there are fourteen appliances (not including the stove and the fridge), thirteen pots and pans, fourteen baking sheets and pans of various shapes and sizes, and eight sharp knives for paring and chopping. Empty canning jars by the dozen. All of that stuff gets used pretty regularly, though, except maybe the twelve-cup percolator and the ice cream maker.

In my closet, twenty-one pairs of shoes (including roller blades I should probably let go of already, and two pairs of hiking boots), fifteen blazers, and three vests; I'm not going to count pants and dresses and shirts and sweaters. And I'm definitely not going to count books, because I'd have to locate them all and it would just take too long. You want exact tallies, go see a guy named dave at the 100 Thing Challenge.

Dave counts
guitar accessories as one item along with his guitar, and he counts his socks and his underwear as one item each. But he counts jeans and dress shirts as separate items. So one of the questions that comes up is, how do you group stuff?

But the important message behind Dave's counting has to do with resistance to a culture of consumption.

I'm not going to try to pare down to 100 items. I'm not, for instance, going to get rid of a perfectly good pair of shoes just so I can own fewer things, when that means the remaining pairs will wear out faster. But I've already been trying to obtain new stuff more slowly than the old stuff wears out, and Dave's project is good inspiration.