Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

100 things challenge to become a zen minimalist master


My good friend Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and Mnmlist blogs posted a 100 things challenge - meaning he’s committed to have only 100 personal possessions in his home. Later he scratched that and went with 50 things. That’s a minimalist to an extreme, I thought. And then I looked around my home office…

100 things challenge to become a zen minimalist master

My home office is as Zen as it can get… or so I thought

If you’ve followed my blog for a while you can see I’ve been designing all my home offices with zen in mind but the problem started showing up in the closets… as I had too many gadgets and cables piled up in many places.

So I challenged myself to start with my home office and wanted to go down to 100 things (including furniture)

After one day of hard-work I went down to 99 things and 23 books.

It was a hard day - I had to throw away many cables, swtiches and office appliences. I had many cool gadgets I was never using so I photographed them all and put them in a separate box. Now whenever someone visits me at home and he (or she) is a geek, I tell them I have this great gadget box and if they want something, I welcome them to just take it. Putting it all on eBay would be time wasted and I get a reward someone receives a gadget gift from me upon their visit to my house.

The idea goes beyond 100 things - it’s about conscious choice of what we really need.

As Leo Babauta confirms it, it’s not about the 100 things - it’s about training your mindset to let go of keeping stuff for the sake of keeping it. To learn what you really need, to evaluate each subsequent purchase (like: “I have all I need, I don’t have to buy this shiny new gadget, even though it’s from Apple and it’s amazing”).

Give it a try - you won’t regret it. You’ll get to know yourself better.

After this hard lesson I went to my favorite electronics store to see if I can really make it… and then to the Apple store… and surprise, surprise - I had no urge to buy anything. I knew I didn’t need anything and I just was comfortable window-shopping without taking out my credit card. I’m still a geek and an “inspector gadget”… but now I know which gadgets I really need and which are totally useless… and my office is closer to zen and looks even cleaner than before.

1st battle is won - now it’s time to look at my clothes…

Now that I’ve trained my mindset I’m going to check my wardrobe and throw lots of stuff out. I want to have 100 things there as well (maybe I’ll count “socks” as one category, but we’ll see) - I’ll report back on this blog how it’s all coming along. Wish me luck!

Have you ever tried becoming a minimalist zen master? What can you throw away today?