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You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
~ Vernon Howard
Frustrated with the demands and dictates of our consumerist culture, many people have opted out of it. They have embraced simpler lifestyles, even minimalist ones, to rediscover what makes them happy.
Some of these people have gone a step ahead and shared their minimalism experiments online. They’re not the first ones to embark on these kinds of projects. But unwittingly, they have sparked off widespread, unprecedented interest with their lifestyle changes. Today we bring you three such experiments that took off in a big way, and continue to inspire and help netizens reshape their lives for the better.
Can you limit the stuff you own to a hundred items or less? That’s what Dave Bruno did as part of his 100 Thing Challenge, and you can do it too, to pave the way for a lighter, easier-to-manage life. This deliberate paring down forces you to come to terms with what’s really important to you. Long-standing necessities appear like luxuries that you’ll do just fine without. The idea behind the project is to “free yourself from your stuff”.
Reduce (some stuff)
Refuse (more new stuff)
Rejigger (life priorities)
Use 100TC as a starting point for your simple living journey, and not to reach a certain “golden” number of possessions or to live like a monk (unless that’s how you want to live). You can choose to leave items like tools, books, and stuff you share with your family members out of the final list of hundred, and count each collection as a single item, as Bruno did. But that’s up to you.
How It Started
In 2007, Dave Bruno downsized his life and scaled down his personal possessions to a hundred items, with some exceptions. It was his way of fighting what he called American-style consumerism. Various popular bloggers such as Leo Babauta, The Minimalists, and Colin Wright followed suit and came up with their own x-things-I-own lists. Bruno eventually wrote a book on the 100 Thing Challenge.
What if you were allowed to have only 33 items in your wardrobe? Wouldn’t you have to dress more creatively? Shop more thoughtfully? That is what Project 333 is all about, and if you thought it was only for women, think again!
As part of this challenge, every season / 3 months you dress with 33 items or less, chosen to match the kind of lifestyle you lead. At the start of the next season, replace certain pieces with ones appropriate for the upcoming season. Stash away the items from last season till you need them next. This is not meant to be an exercise in deprivation, rather a way to cut out some decision-making from your life and free up some of your time. The bottom line is this: Buy less, buy well, dress smart.
There are several interesting capsule wardrobe experiments being written about online, but Project 333 seems to be the most popular of them all. Here are the basics of Project 333, in case you want to join in.
How It Started
In 2006, a brush with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) forced Courtney Carver to rethink her life. She set about making it as stress-free as possible. Her efforts simplified her life, giving her the time and space she needed to heal. Eventually, she began blogging about her experiments in simple living, and as part of her efforts at dressing with less, the minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 was born. It was featured in the March 2014 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
Tiny House Living [No Longer Available]
If a cozy, low-maintenance, environment-friendly home is your idea of the perfect living space, making it a reality is not impossible. Tammy Strobel and Logan Smith’s 128-square-foot mobile home is proof of that. The decision to own a tiny home not only makes you weed out the unnecessary from your home and life, but also forces you to confront the deep-seated impact of cultural expectations on your life choices. Ask yourself:
- Are you really happy with your life right now?
- Do you want to make space in your life for more of what matters to you?
- Are you ready to step off the beaten track to pursue something close to your heart?
Tiny house living is not the way to answer these questions, but it might be worth considering. It has worked out well for Tammy and many others. Will it be an uplifiting move for you? You be the judge of that. If you do decide to take up such an adventure of your own, there are plenty of online resources (including Tammy’s blog, Rowdy Kittens) to help you get started.
How It Started
When their frustration with their financially stressful lifestyle reached breaking point, Tammy and Logan decided to take some serious action.They cut back on their possessions bit by bit, and kept moving into smaller living spaces. Eventually, inspired by Dee Williams’ move from a 1200-square-foot home to a 84-square-foot one, they took the “tiny house” plunge, moving into the mobile home shown below.
Tammy blogged about how their minimalism experiments like tiny house living and frugal experiments like going car free helped them turn around their financial situation, changed their perspective of life for good, and allowed Tammy to pursue her entrepreneurial aspirations. Her writing struck a chord with many across the Web, and got them rethinking their living space needs.
Are You Ready For A Life Experiment?
While minimalism is not a new concept, thanks to the reach of the Web, it’s now bringing more people into its fold. If you’re also interested in learning more about this movement and making minimalism a part of your life, the projects listed here make excellent starting points to look for inspiration and support. What better time to say goodbye to the clutter in your life than the end of the year?
Have any of these projects spurred you to make changes to your own life? Do you know of similar projects that have created a wide circle of influence? Tell us!