October 13, 2009

Could You Live With Only 100 Things for a Year?

From: Tesh.com
"For a lot of people, there’s a silver lining in this recession. They’re finding out that a simpler life is better. According to USA Today, the combination of shrinking paychecks and environmental concerns is causing a lot of North Americans to simplify their lifestyles. Many people are finding out that not only can they live with less, their lives are actually richer for it.

A Gallup poll found that one-third of people say they’ve been spending less - and they intend to keep it that way. One-quarter claim they’re saving more - and plan to continue. Julie Morgenstern is the author of Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life. She says that people are getting back to what’s most important to them. They’re valuing material things less, and people and experiences more. Eric Dykstra is the pastor of Crossing Church in Minnesota. He came across a man named Dave Bruno who thought up the “100 Thing Challenge” – to live with only 100 possessions for an entire year. Pastor Dykstra took Bruno’s challenge – and encouraged his congregation to do the same. Dykstra says that people have taken it to heart. He collected a warehouse of items and donated them to charity. He says the purpose of the experiment is to break the spell of materialism, and it’s been very freeing. There are other signs that living with less is catching on:

  • The Northwest Earth Institute in Portland, Oregon offers “voluntary simplicity” courses and enrollment has gone up more than 50% in the past year.
  • Hundreds of schools are showing the short film The Story of Stuff about the environmental costs of consumerism. More than six million people have viewed it online.
  • The non-profit, Simple Living Institute has seen its online traffic double in the past year.
According to Dave Bruno, who’s making do just fine with his 100 things, the recession is a good wake-up call for all of us. If you want to learn more about his “100 Thing Challenge” check out his blog GuyNamedDave.com."