by CBS News national correspondent Jeff Glor
Think about it.
If you had to live with 100 things or less, could you do it?
If so, what, exactly, would they be?
We're talking laptop computers, coffee machines, couches, cars, jackets, iPods - all of it. Every item counts. You have to get down to 100 items or less. Not easy, right?
Despite the difficulty of the challenge, started by a blogger named Dave Bruno, a lot more people are trying it, especially in these lean times. The recession, retail experts and professional organizers say, has readjusted our expectations of what we think we need, and what we'll buy moving forward.
If you're at all interested in trying the challenge, we should say, there is some wiggle room.
For example, to start with the number one exception, most extreme minimalists count underwear as one item. In other words, you have ten pairs of boxers. That's one item - your underwear. As one minimalist explained to me, he wants to be conscious of not wasting things and not buying what he doesn't need - that's the point of minimalism - but he also doesn't want to be gross. So, all your socks are one item. All your underwear is another item. Other apparel, like jackets and shoes and pants, DO get counted individually. If you have four jackets, that's four items. Even with the exception for underwear, you'll see, it still adds up fast.
The other generally agreed upon exception in the minimalist world is on food. Food doesn't count, because you're going to eat it. It's going to go away. The apple on the counter will get eaten. The couch in the living room will not.
And there are other exceptions people create - some by parents. If you are a parent, you know, kids come with, and accumulate, lots of stuff. So some parents who consider themselves minimalists don't include their kids' items in their tally - just their own stuff.
There's no truly right or wrong way to do it, to be honest. If you can get down to 100, it's pretty extraordinary. The goal, overall, is just to be a little smarter and savvier about spending, saving, and not wasting.
So, go ahead, give it a shot, if you like. You don't even have to clear anything out right away. The first thing I tried to do was to just think of the items I need - going room by room - to see if I could keep it to less than 100. I couldn't. Maybe you can.
Just remember, don't be gross. Buy all the underwear you want.