Friday, November 1, 2013

200 Things Challenge - What is Your Relationship with Things

Within the Tiny House movement is the 100 Thing Challenge. It didn't start in the Tiny House community, but many within it decided it made sense and paid if forward by sharing it with others. It quickly took on a life of its own simply because the size of a Tiny House forces one to reevaluate all their possessions, to determine what is most important, and what is superfluous. Eventually the challenge was increased to 200 Things, but the intent is the same: Choose what you own carefully and don't bring anything in without taking something out. 

Certain types of possessions take priority over others. These are items that can do double-duty, be used in more than one way, take precedence over items such as purely decorative ones. A library of books can be stored in one e-book. Laptops replace desktops. No longer is there a walk in closet full of clothes, but a wisely chosen wardrobe of key pieces that can be mixed and matched. There are countless other ways to eliminate unneeded belongings.  Lina, over at her blog This is The Little Life, recently looked back over her 200 Thing Challenge and wrote about her experience:  
"I’ve found that My 200 Things Challenge has made me a better minimalist. I am less attached to my possessions, but more pleased with the things with which I surround myself. I am more likely to loan something out. I am less worried about wearing something out because there’s a new excitement about acquiring something new. I am more likely to decorate with fresh flowers or fall squash. I only wear clothing that I feel comfortable in. I own few possessions that I don’t use on a daily, weekly, or at least monthly basis. I don’t have to shuffle things around as much to get to the other things I need. I no longer own things that frustrate me because they are broken because I have repaired, replaced, or purged them. I am more particular about what I allow into my home, which means I no longer take something just because it was free. I am more likely to consider whether or not I really need something before I acquire it. I am more likely to get rid of something I’m waffling about. But most importantly, I give less attention to my stuff and more attention to my experiences."

Lina offers workshops in Portland for those who are interested in how to go about participating in the challenge, but most can undertake it on their own. Here are some things to think about if you want to downsize: 

  • What is the most important thing you own?
  • What clothing must you have vs what is just hanging in a closet or stuffed in drawers?
  • If you don't love it, leave it.
  • What can you fit into technology (Books, photos, documents, etc.)
  • How will you store all your items?
  • Can items fill more than one role?
  • How big is the footprint of the item? 

Living in a tiny house and living the Tiny House lifestyle comfortably requires thought and consideration. It is most certainly and adjustment, but I have yet to hear of anyone who was disappointed by their choice. If you are considering downsizing, you can begin preparing long before you move. 

What is one item you would never part with, even if you lived in a tiny house? 


  1. Hi Karin, I have to tell you a little story. I had a flood in the house and lost the hardwood floors. In order to replace the old floors everything had to be moved out of the house and my daughter and I were displaced for a month. We packed a provisional wardrobe and, after we moved back into our rooms, we actually didn't want the rest of our wardrobes back at all! There was something so satisfying and comforting about having a limited amount of clothes. We have so far taken a lot of stuff to the Salvation Army and are loving our pared down home. :) Visiting from UBC and hoping you're having a lovely Sunday. I am. :)

  2. Wow, I can imagine it takes quite a lot of discipline to live the Tiny House lifestyle. I'm very impressed. I've been getting rid of clutter a lot lately, but am certainly not ready to reduce to 200 possessions.

    My most prized items are my books, journals, pictures, art collected on my travels from around the world and my laptop.

  3. I am with you that 200 items seems a little small. I am not sure I can pare down that much either. Like you, I prize books, journals, and things collected in my travels. I will just have to find a way to make it all fit :)