Minimalism & Zero Waste | Carisa Hendrix | Award Winning Magician, Circus Stunt Girl & Fire Eater | Calgary & Edmonton

Minimalism & Zero Waste

What’s in our Go Bags? Travel Tips and Favorite Things!

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Articles for Magicians, Articles for Performers, Blogs & Vlogs, Gismos & Gadgets, Minimalism & Zero Waste, Travel & Adventure Leave a comment

Full-time touring professional entertainers Carisa Hendrix and Tianna the Traveller show you how they pack their go bags/mobil office bags/personal carry on item sized bags. When you are living on the road, it’s important to have the right things with you, and not a lot extra. Essentials will be different for every person based on where you are traveling, how you are traveling and who you are. Tianna and Carisa have different destinations, traveling styles and personalities which you can see reflected in what they packed in their personal carry on sized bags, but both run their companies from the road and have for years.

The goal of a bag this size is to contain everything you need to make your office mobil and your flight comfortable.

**Many of the links bellow are amazon affiliate links

Carisa’s Bag

Tree frog notebook backpack
Front Pockets
Reusable metal drinking straws
Pens – Stolen from a hotel
Passport, money in different currencies and keys
Reusable grocery bag
First Pocket
2X 2TB portable external hard drive
Sugru moldable glue
Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB microphone
Mic windscreen in blue
Second Pocket
Bagsmart cord bag
Many cords, thumb drives and memory cards
Jaybird X3 in-ear wireless bluetooth sports Headphones
Camera panasonic lumix DC-ZS70
Bullet journal
Tooth brush and Toothy tabs
Eye mask, sun glasses, wet wipes and deodorant
Wow stain remover stick
Ear covers
Folder for papers
Coffee mug
CamelBak eddy water bottle, 25oz 
Big Pocket
Macbook pro

Tianna’s Bag

Resistor Charged Backpack
Front Pockets 
Ear stuff / Ear plugs and headphones
Luggage scale
Rechargeable lithium battery kevlar iPhone cable –
Laptop charger
A bag of hotel toiletries
First Pouch
Asthma Inhaler
Shea butter
2TB portable external hard drive
Thumb drive
USB wall plugs
Pens – Stolen from a hotel
Micro USB cord
Promo cards
Pencil case with pens, sharpies and highlighters
Pens, fancy multi color
Swiss army knife
Second Pocket
Lock Safe Bags
Bullet Journal
Personal Life Musings Journal
Go Pro
Bobby pins, chap stick, Lavender oil, mascara, lipstick
Travel Tooth Brush
Extra Charging Cables, Tape Measure, sewing kit with upholstery thread
Big Pocket – It opens all the way!
Macbook Pro
MEC Smaller foldable backpack
Coffee Mug

The tyranny of tiny bottles!!

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Articles for Performers, Blogs & Vlogs, Minimalism & Zero Waste Leave a comment

Today was all about bubble show decluttering!
For many years I have been doing bubble shows. Often I will pick up a few fun new bubble tools to test out, which all will inevitably come with a bottle of a tiny bottle of bubble solution. All these little bottles just go straight in a box in the storage room, never to be seen again; until today when I took them ALL out, sorted them into the two basic types (traditional and touchable bubbles), consolidated them into larger containers and washed and recycled the remains.

This has me thinging, what else can I consolodate into fewer bottles?

Tossing Business Cards, Notes, & Manuals – Minimalism

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in 30 Day Challenges, Articles for Performers, Gismos & Gadgets, Inspiration, Minimalism & Zero Waste Leave a comment

When it comes to notes, instruction manuals, business cards and really anything else with a potentially useful bit of information, I had the worst sorting habits for years. I refused to get rid of any scrap of potentially useful information for fear I would be at a loss without it. However, since I did such a terrible job of organizing any of it when the time came to find something I would end up digging through boxes, not finding the stupid thing and making a giant mess.

When I had a meeting at the bank last month and could not find a single file they requested, I realized that something had to be done and with the help of Evernote I managed to digitize absolutly everything into a searchable database of secure files I can access anywhere in just 3 days.

Evernote is a program that uses image capturing, audio recording, tags, and notebooks to digitize, store and organize your information in a way that makes it searchable as hell.

Business Card Capturing

One of Evernote’s best features is business card capturing, which is perfect for helping you remember the people you meet at events of conventions. The business card camera capturing feature takes the clearest possible image of the card, reads the data and adds it in the appropriate fields then finds that person’s Linked in profile and saves everything into a contact note.

This feature alone is worth the price of admission, which can be as little as free depending on which features you need.

Notes & Document Capture

No scanner? No problem. Scannable is a sister app created by Evernote’s that captures paper documents quickly and sharply and creates high-quality scans you can sort, save and share with the touch of a button. Alternativly you can also scan documents into the Evernote app directly, but there are a few extra features with Scannable that are worth considering, including a crop feature.


Once in a while a product actually comes with an electronic copy of the manual, yay! You can file any of these immediately in your Evernote storage. I created a Notebook just for the manuals, then tagged each with a “type” (#tools, #appliances, etc.) to make them easier to find when I need them.

If you don’t have a digital copy of the manual, it’s time to go on the hunt. We can start by visiting the manufacturer’s website since most companies have a cache of docs going back years; as long as you have a model number for the product—usually printed right on it—it is typically easy to find. If that fails you can search manual collections online. ManualsLib is my preferred hub for product manuals, I am always surprised how few people have heard of them since they are likely the largest online database of product manuals.

When you’ve got all your documents digitized and sorted you can go ahead and recycle the original paper copies saving space in your office and your mind.

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Tossing my Bills & Recipts – Minimalism

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in 30 Day Challenges, Articles for Performers, Blogs & Vlogs, Gismos & Gadgets, Inspiration, Minimalism & Zero Waste Leave a comment

After tossing all my membership and loyalty cards, the next thing to downsize was the pile of business receipts and bills that had been accumulating for years. Every little write-off since I started the company years ago, I was overwhelmed.

In just 3 days, I use 3 killer tools to climb out of the pile of paper and into a clutter free office. (Note: please recycle the paper you declutter)

Automated Book Keeping

Gone are the days of paper bookkeeping, although I loved my paper accounting ledgers I am now a complete Mint convert. Mint is a free online bookkeeping system that automatically pulls transactions from all your accounts in real time. The super clean and easy to use interface allows you to sort and categorize purchases, build budgets, search past transactions and even creates little charts that help you to visualize your spending habits. You can add cash spending transactions manually and the program even starts to learn how to automatically sort your purchases over time.

Easy Receipt Management

Of course with all your bookkeeping migrating online, what do you do with those pesky receipts? Expensify is by far the best app for keeping track of your recipes! Their “SmartScan” system reads your receipt and uses OCR technology to automatically scan for details that allow it to sort and categorize them in an instant.

Paying Bills Online – Go Paperless

The last major change was to make sure all my bills were available online and were no longer being mailed to the house. Phone, internet, power and gas, they can all be paid online which would avoid the extra filing and the extra paper waste. Some companies want you to switch to paperless billing so badly they even charge a small fee, so check your statement to make sure you’re not getting dinged for paper bills you didn’t want in the first place.

Staying on Top of Paper Clutter

The best part of this deliberate purge and move towards digital solutions is that with Mint tracking my bookkeeping, Expensify sorting my receipts and no new paper bills coming in, keeping on top of the office paper clutter is remarkably easy.

If you want more tips and tricks about minimalisum, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info, just good clean fun.

Subscribe to our mailing list

If you want more tips and tricks about minimalisum, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info.

Tossing my Loyalty & Membership Cards – Minimalism

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Blogs & Vlogs, Gismos & Gadgets, Minimalism & Zero Waste, Travel & Adventure 1 Comment

I’ve spent a lot of time today getting on top of my paper clutter by creating clear management systems for everything from mail to loyalty cards. This has been a huge relief and I want you to experience the same freedom I am now enjoying. All you need to get started is a smartphone and a couple of minutes.

Loyalty & Membership Cards

Stocard, Key Ring & UGO Wallet are the top three apps for lightening your wallet, they allow your to quickly and easily digitizing all your Loyalty and Membership cards. All three are avilable for android or IOS, all three are totally free and all three are currently sitting on my phone. Yes, that’s right, I downloaded all three apps and uploaded each and every one of my cards to get an idea of the quality of these three apps and to determine if there was one outlier in the bunch.

The answer is yes, after playing with all three and using them in stores I can definitively say that Stocard is the superior app. You can upload your cards at twice the speed of the other two with the impressive barcode reader, the interface is clean and simple and is has the largest database of shops.

Highly recommended!!!

If you want more tips and tricks about minimalisum, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info, just good clean fun.

Subscribe to our mailing list

If you want more tips and tricks about minimalisum, travel, life hacks and more, join the “Tips & Tricks” mailing list. No spam, no ads and I’ll never sell your info.

Winter Sequin Look – How to Convert a Dress into a Skirt

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Fashion, Minimalism & Zero Waste, Random Fun Leave a comment

We all have those fantastic pieces in our collection that go constantly overlooked. Recently I’ve been attempting to sort through my clothes and part with anything that doesn’t fit my style or is a bit worn out. However, this practice has revealed a third category of neglected clothing, the tragically uncomfortable but insanely beautiful. Most of these are sequined, maybe it’s the magician or the children’s entertainer in me that craved sparkly garbage, but it can’t be helped.

I’ve had this amazing navy blue sequined dress for over a year now. I thrifted it in Reno and it was love at first sight, unfortunately, when I got it home the relationship became somewhat hostile. The tiny scratchy sequin which had been used in the garment combined with the cut of the dress to add up to a sort of cheese grater effect. It would scrap up my underarms and chest after an hour of wear, epic dress fail.

I see this in some of the sequined outfits to come out of the “fast fashion” industry all the time; built to look amazing on the rack but wears like a monk’s hair shirt. So toss it? No! The sparkle is just too amazing, it must be saved! What to do? Hmm…….Ahh!

With just a couple snips and a quick run through the serger this torture device is transformed into a stylish high-waisted skirt.

Simply measure and pin the best place for your cut, either on a dress form, against another high-waisted garment or right on your body. Zip the zipper down so you can still use it to fasten your new skirt, cut with very sharp fabric shears, turn inside out and surge the seam along the waist line. Stick up the new top of the zipper and tada! Skirt!

Paired with grays and blacks you can dress down the sparkle for everyday casual wear. I’ve added some layers to help make it winter-worthy and made this shirt a comfortable and elegant addition to my wardrobe.

5 Types of Persistent Clutter – Minimalism – It’s Just Me

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Art & Design, Blogs & Vlogs, Inspiration, Minimalism & Zero Waste Leave a comment

Yay! Vlogging again!! This one is about the 5 Types of Persistent Clutter #Minimalism

In this video I wanted to talk about the different types of clutter that seem to haunt me.

The Pendulum Swing, 100 Things Challenge Part 4

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in 30 Day Challenges, Blogs & Vlogs, Minimalism & Zero Waste Leave a comment

My last 100 things post revealed how indulging in little purchases sent my list well above the limit. In true fashion, I have since overreacted to the slip-up and trimmed my list all the way down to 77 items. How? Well, I found a way that makes maintaining your personal inventory easy. By shifting your focus to upgrading, repairing or replacing, rather than buying new things, it’s easy to maintain control over junk creep. I upgraded my laptop with 2 extra gigs of ram and replaced the damaged charger cord, bought a very cool toothbrush I had long coveted, and replaced tattered clothing with more fashionable, better-fitted ones.

It has been more satisfying, and easier to manage since there are no new things to keep track of or add to my list and now that my stuff is in tip top shape, I feel less distracted that nagging feeling that something was not quite right. And here’s another interesting paradox. Although I own even fewer things than before, I feel as if I have everything I need. Each item is now better suited to its job, works just right or fits perfectly.

I better appreciate each shirt and every gadget and with fewer items, I’m even finding it easier to make everyday decisions. It reminds me a conversation I had at a dinner party once. I was chatting with an ex-Mormon (or No-Mo-Mo), eventually, I couldn’t resist my urge to ask if she ever missed any part of the Mormon faith. She said “the only thing I miss is always knowing what to do, fewer options made my choices feel easy and correct. I almost never know if I made the right choice anymore.” That statement really stuck with me and now I feel I understand what she meant. It’s like the common belief that Einstein wore the same thing every day and had a closet full of the exact same suits, shirts, ties, and shoes. He didn’t want to take time or focus away from his work to spend on the repetitive task of deciding what to wear. It would seem that having a few good choices is far better than having many mediocre ones.

If you learn from a mistake then nothing was really lost. My previous 100 thing failure has become, as one particularly insightful friend would call it, a teachable moment.

My Very Few Items


  1. Shirt – White Tank Top
  2. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top Black Lace
  3. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top Orange
  4. Shirt – Long Sleeve Knit Top, Horizontal Striped
  5. Shirt – Solid Red Fitted T-shirt
  6. Shirt – Patterned Yellow Fitted T-shirt
  7. Shirt – Patterned Black & White T-shirt
  8. Shirt – White Buttoned Down Top
  9. Shirt – Work Out
  10. Shirt – T-shirt for Lounging at Home
  11. Sweater – Gray Wrap
  12. Shell – White Lace
  13. Shrug – Black Ballet
  14. Pants – Fitted Dark Jeans
  15. Pants – Black & Orange
  16. Pants – Black & Blue
  17. Pants – Charcoal Coloured Dress Pants
  18. Pants – Work Out Shorts
  19. Pants – Stretchy Yoga Pants for Lounging at Home
  20. Skirt – Long / Black
  21. Skirt – Short / Red Striped
  22. Skirt – Mid Length / Grey
  23. Dress – Pink and White Sun Dress
  24. Dress – Little Black Dress
  25. House Coat – Kimono
  26. Socks – 10 Pair
  27. Underwear – 10 pairs / 2 Bras
  28. Bathing Suit – Polka dot one piece
  29. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  30. Shoes – Brown Moccasin Stye Winter Boots
  31. Shoes – Black Exercise Shoes
  32. Shoes – Grey Ballet Flats
  33. Shoes – Heeled Boots
  34. Long Warm Coat
  35. Sun Glasses
  36. Hat – Warm Tuque
  37. Gloves – Warm Brown
  38. Belt – Wide and Black
  39. Hip Sack – Blue


  1. Jewelry Pieces (3 items)
  2. Make Up Palette – Mac Palette
  3. Make Up Brush / Grooming Kit
  4. Hair Straightener
  5. Hair Brush
  6. Hair Comb
  7. Hair Clips
  8. Toothbrush – OHSO Pocket Toothbrush
  9. Diva Cup
  10. First Aid & Repair Kit

Office and Electronics

  1. Laptop – Macbook with Second Skin Folder
  2. Video Camera – Flip
  3. Camera – Point and Shoot / Olympus Water Proof Digital
  4. Phone – iPhone & iPhone Mobile Tail
  5. Hard Drive – 500 GB
  6. Hard Drive – 100 GB
  7. Thumb Drive – 10 GB
  8. Headphone – Wrap Around
  9. Headphone – Ear Buds
  10. Podcast Microphone
  11. Battery Charger
  12. Solar Powered Battery Charger
  13. Label Maker
  14. Notebook – Mole Skin
  15. File Folder

Items Just For Fun

  1. Book – Non-fiction
  2. Bike – Hampton Cruiser
  3. Art Collection

Every Day Items

  1. Keys
  2. Money Clip
  3. Business Card Holder
  4. Messenger Bag – ChicoBag
  5. Portable Purse Hanger
  6. Water Bottle – Nalgeen
  7. Aeropress Coffee Maker


  1. Suit Case – Carry On
  2. Suit Case – Blue, Air Canada, Medium Sized
  3. Hanging Toiletry Kit – Victorinox

Resources for this article:

Dave’s original post that inspired his later book
The Times‘ Article About the 100 Thing Challenge
The Zen Habits’ blog article

Getting Ready For the 333 Challenge

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in Blogs & Vlogs, Inspiration, Minimalism & Zero Waste Leave a comment

Guest post for the 333 Challenge Website

Like many people, I’ve always wanted to pull off that casual, sleek and pulled together look. Glamorous friends have offered advice on creating looks or proper accessorizing, but I could never will myself to do the work. My overstuffed closet felt oppressive; too many choices and possible combinations. It was much easier to fall back on the same reliable comfy yoga pants and plain black tank tops.

During one lazy afternoon of web surfing, I came across the 333 challenge and a light went off in my mind. It played to my affinity for minimalism, my love of challenges, and my desire to improve my fashion sense or, at the very least, finally face my closet full of bad purchases.

I marked the start date on the calendar and started to work on my game plan.

I began preparing for this project 3 months in advance knowing it would take some effort and look for a few simple steps that would make my 333 Challenge easier to handle.

After some over thinking a came to 5 reasonable steps to do it right; Minimize, Set your wardrobe staples, Choose a few flattering and versatile feature pieces, Play dress up, Fill in the gaps.

Minimize – Clean out your closet and drawers

Going through a massive closet of clothing and picking only 33 items to be faithful to for 3 months is overwhelming. That’s why I decided it would be best to minimize first. I figured it would put me in the right mind set, clear away the distracting visual and mental clutter and give me a better sense of what I had to work with.

I was further convinced of the minimize step by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, in which she mentions a paradox. Although she had fewer actual items after cleaning out her closet, and giving away 3 giant bags of clothing, it felt as if she had more since all the remaining items were things she would actually wear.

Here’s how to do it
Get 2 bags and a couple boxes. One bag will be for throw aways and one for give aways. The boxes are for things you want to keep but won’t wear, for example, seasonal items or things kept for sentimental value alone. Give yourself a good day to go over every sweater and gown, then go over it again.

There are lots of hanging organizers and other tools created to help you clean your closet, but I found that good music and a good mood were the most useful.

Tip: Don’t know were to start? Try taking out all the frayed, ripped or otherwise worn out items and toss them first, or if they hold sentimental value put them in storage. Items with their original tags or rarely worn are next up for scrutiny, if you’ve never worn it you probably never will. By this point you should be on a roll, just keep up the momentum and you’ll be done in no time.

Staples – Get set up with the fashion basics

Fashion staples are the items you build your wardrobe around. Although these items will be slightly different for everyone (for example, I work from home so I don’t need much in the way of office clothes) there are a few pieces most experts recommend.

From my research combing over fashion magazines, style guides and the advice of well dressed friends, the following are the most recommended fashion staples.

  • Cashmere / knit sweater
  • White button-up
  • Black / white camisole
  • Fitted T-shirt
  • A-line skirt
  • Black knee high day-to-night skirt
  • Fitting jeans
  • Versatile black dress pants
  • Black leggings – not to be worn as pants but under dresses and skirts
  • Sophisticated belt
  • Wide belt
  • Pashmina
  • Versatile fitted blazer
  • LBD – little back dress
  • Sun dress
  • Boots
  • Flats
  • Heels

Keep in mind that these items should fit your body shape, be comfortable and well built. They will get the most wear so don’t skimp on quality.

Tip: Try to identifying what activities you will be doing in your clothes. This will make it much easier to identify which staples fit best for you. Whether it’s business lunches or art galas your lifestyle should impact your clothing choices.

Choose a few feature pieces – Setting your style

The staples only make up the base of your wardrobe, you’ll still need to choose some feature pieces to the add personality and flare that makes fashion fun. These can be accessories, scarves, apparel, anything you like.

Choosing more versatile, flattering pieces will serve better for this project. I combed through my wardrobe and found a few items that reflected my personality and fit really well and make a mental note of these before starting on the next step.

Play dress up – Creating different look

I recommend you employ the help of an honest fashion wise friend who will tell you which things don’t fit right or should return to their proper era. If you decide to do this step on your own try to be honest with yourself; either way you will need a full length mirror and a good sense of humor.

Put on an outfit as if you are on your way out the door then ask yourself “is this the look I’m after?” Consider the colors, do they match? Consider the pattern, are there too many? Try swapping out items, adding accessories and, most importantly, have fun with it.

Here are some hard and fast rules I used to get started:

  • White and black go with everything, except too much of themselves, for example, black sweater, black leggings, black shoes, back belt is too much black, but make the leggings and belt another color and it’s classy.
  • Patterned items are best worn with solid ones and vice versa, for example, try wearing a patterned skirt with a solid colored shirt, preferably a color present in the pattern.
  • Tight items are best worn with loose ones and vice versa, for example, what looks better? A tight tee and leggings? or a tight tee and an a-line skirt?
  • Trying to match colors that are a bit off is no good, for example, a bright red and a slightly more washed our red or a slightly yellowish green and a slightly bluish green. Fashion should look deliberate, either the colors are exactly the same or they are different and complimentary.
  • Avoid visible panty line by wearing boy short underwear or a thong under tighter bottoms.
  • Silver or Gold, avoid mixing. There are ways to mix silver and gold jewelry in one look, but it required a far better eye than I have so I decided to stick to silver for the 33 challenge. How should you decide? In a nut shell, gold works better with warm colors, silver with cold or brighter colors.

Working out these different combinations now will help you get a good idea of the types of looks you can build out of your wardrobe which will save you the 30 minutes of trying different things everyday that makes most of us decide not bother at all. You’ll know what works and you’ll be able to spot any holes in you wardrobe for the next step.

Fill in the Gaps

After all these steps you might notice there are a few missing things, for example, when I finished the final outfits and had decided to keep my favorite patterned pants in circulation, I thought it would be nice to have an orange shirt to wear with it to bring out the orange in the pattern.

Make of list of the remaining items you need and remember to stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted and end up seduced into buying a dress and 2 shirts that won’t fit into your 33 items and will go unworn for the next 3 months.

In the three months it took me to get ready for this challenge I went through each of these steps a few times. Now when I look into my single drawer of expertly folded clothes I feel proud and excited, more organized and even a little more successful.

My 333 List

  1. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top, Black
  2. Shirt – Spaghetti Strap Top, Orange
  3. Shirt – Tank Top, White
  4. Shirt – Long Sleeve Knit Top, Horizontal Striped Black and Grey
  5. Shirt – Solid Red Fitted T-shirt
  6. Shirt – Patterned Yellow Fitted T-shirt
  7. Shirt – Patterned Black & White T-shirt
  8. Shirt – White Buttoned Down Top
  9. Pants – Fitted Dark Jeans
  10. Pants – Black Dress Pants
  11. Pants – Black & Orange Flare Bottom
  12. Pants – Black and Blue Flare Bottom
  13. Skirt – Long, Black
  14. Skirt – Short, Red Striped
  15. Skirt – Medium length A-line, Grey
  16. Dress – Pink and White Sun
  17. Dress – Little, Black
  18. Shoes – Brown Moccasin Stye Winter Boots
  19. Shoes – Walking Shoes, Grey
  20. Shoes – Heeled Boots
  21. Long Brown Coat
  22. Gray Wrap Sweater
  23. Sun Glasses
  24. Belt –  Wide, Black
  25. Hip Sack – Blue
  26. Bag – Messenger Style, Orange
  27. Shell – White Lace
  28. Shrug – Ballet Style, Black
  29. Gloves
  30. Knit Hat
  31. Jewelry – Earrings Dangling & Feathered
  32. Jewelry – Red Circle Necklace
  33. Jewelry – Amber Pendant Necklace

Too Much Stuff Fail, 100 Thing Challenge Part 3

Posted on by Carisa Hendrix in 30 Day Challenges, Minimalism & Zero Waste 1 Comment

Edited by Patricia Taylor

After two months of doing the 100 Thing Challenge, I’ve run into some…well…challenges. My initial 97 items have ballooned into 112. It wasn’t even until I went through my things in preparation for this article that I noticed how many new items I had actually acquired.

How does this happen? How do we accumulate so much stuff without even noticing? I asked around and did some research and discovered that we are all susceptible to a few common traps.

The Trap of Justification

Whenever we think about making a purchase, there are little justifications we use to convince ourselves the item we want is really and truly the item we need. If you are anything like me the internal monolog of retail rationalizing sounds a little bit like this:

“Do I need it? It’s a bit pricey, is it really worth it? Can I get it cheaper? Well, I’m here now and I have that money coming in next week from X, Y, and Z. I deserve a little treat anyway, and I think I’d use it. Imagine all the stuff I could do with it. Yeah, I should get it.”

Next thing you know you’re bouncing home, purchase in hand, confident you made the right decision and have enriched your life with this new trinket. Fast forward a week or two later, where is that item you were so sure you couldn’t live without?? In a closet? In a drawer? Or in the trash?

The Trap of “I Deserve It”

At the beginning of May, around my birthday, two interesting ‘stuff’ related things were happening. First, I was feeling very grateful that most of my friends were giving me digital gifts, or taking me to dinner or a show for my birthday. Nearly no one bought me physical items that would count towards my list. I felt warm and fuzzy when I thought of how this reflected the support of my friends and family, though part of me suspected it may have actually more to do with convenience since I am notoriously hard to buy for.

I also found myself unable to resist a few birthday purchases. It was so easy to tell myself “well it’s my birthday, I deserve it” and buy a new iPhone and other gadgets guilt free.

I suspect this trap of rewarding ourselves with new stuff is a huge contributor to our mass consumption, crippling credit card debts and overstuffed houses and minds. There is nothing wrong with celebrating your successes, in fact doing so can contribute to the overall better quality of life; but what about taking a nice bike ride, having a lazy afternoon or curling up at your favorite coffee shop with a good book from the library. Why not start a habit of rewarding ourselves with experiences rather than things, it’s at least as satisfying, usually cheaper and better for the planet.

The Trap of Things as Crutches

Whether it’s retail therapy issues, buying things to reinforce identity or being unable to resist a sale, it helps to know the ‘why’ behind the things you buy. Take some time to do a little soul searching and ask yourself why you keep buying all that unnecessary flotsam and jetsam.

In the last couple months, I have fallen prey to many of these traps and I realize now that I’ll have to try a lot harder if I want to keep to 100 items.

My Too Many Items


  1. Sun Glasses – Clic Googles
  2. Hat – Fedora
  3. Hat – Fox Tuque
  4. ***New*** Hat – Ball Cap
  5. Belt – For Pants
  6. Belt – For Dresses
  7. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  8. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  9. Shirt – Warm Weather / Spaghetti Strap
  10. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  11. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  12. Shirt – Warm Weather / Tank Top
  13. Shirt – Warm Weather / T-shirt (Fightlinker)
  14. ***New*** Shirt – Warm Weather / T-shirt (Firepedia)
  15. Shirt – Warm Weather / Red Jacob T-shirt
  16. Shirt – Warm Weather
  17. Shirt – Warm Weather
  18. Shirt – Warm Weather
  19. Shirt – Button up
  20. Shirt – Cold Weather / Invader Zim
  21. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black
  22. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black
  23. Shirt – Cold Weather / Black and Grey Striped long
  24. Shirt – Cold Weather
  25. Shirt – Cold Weather
  26. Sweater – Lulu Lemon
  27. Sweater – Long & Grey
  28. Sweater – Work Out
  29. Vest – Leather
  30. Pants – Jeans
  31. Pants – Pin Strip Black Formal
  32. Pants – Lulu Lemon
  33. Pants – Lulu Lemon
  34. Pants – Work Out
  35. Pants – Work Out
  36. Pants
  37. Pants
  38. Pants
  39. Shorts
  40. Leggings
  41. Leggings
  42. Skirt – Long / Red
  43. Skirt – Long / Blue
  44. Skirt – Long / Partnered
  45. Skirt – Long / Black
  46. Skirt – Short / Black
  47. Skirt – Short / Grey
  48. Dress – Evening
  49. Dress – Sun
  50. Dress – Cocktail
  51. Suit – Grey Pinstripe
  52. House Coat – Kimono
  53. Socks – 10 Pair
  54. Bathing Suit – Pokka dot one piece
  55. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  56. Bathing Suit – Bikini
  57. Underwear – 10 pairs
  58. Shoes – Flats
  59. Shoes – Converse
  60. Shoes – Heels
  61. Long Coat
  62. ***New*** Black Jacket
  63. ***New*** Hip Sack – Blue


  1. Small Jewelry and Costume Pieces (12 items)
  2. Make Up Palette – Mac Palette
  3. Make Up Brush / Grooming Kit
  4. Hair Straightener
  5. Hair Brush
  6. Hair Clip
  7. Hair Clip
  8. Comb
  9. Toothbrush – Electric
  10. Face Cloth
  11. First Aid Kit

Office and Electronics

  1. Laptop – Macbook
  2. Video Camera – Flip
  3. ***Replaced*** Camera – Point and Shoot / Olympus Water Proof Digital
  4. Old Camera Broken- Point and Shoot
  5. ***Replaced*** Phone – iPhone
  6. Old Broken Phone – iPhone
  7. Hard Drive – 500 GB
  8. Hard Drive – 100 GB
  9. Thumb Drive 10 GB
  10. Headphone – Roots
  11. ***New*** Headphone – Ear Buds
  12. ***New*** Headphone Splitter
  13. Podcast Microphone
  14. Battery Charger
  15. ***New*** Solar Powered Battery Charger
  16. Label Maker
  17. Notebook – MoleSkine
  18. Filing Portfolio


  1. Book – Non-fiction
  2. Book – Fiction
  3. Bike – Hampton Cruiser

Every Day Items

  1. Keys
  2. Money Clip (Bulldog clip)
  3. ***New*** Business Card Holder
  4. Water Bottle – Nalgene
  5. ***New*** Reusable Coffee Mug
  6. ***New*** Aeropress Coffee Maker

Travel and Repair

  1. Passport
  2. Suit Case – Carry On
  3. Suit Case – Blue, Air Canada, Medium Sized
  4. Suit Case – Day Pack / Hydro pack
  5. ***New*** Flight Case -Blue
  6. Sewing Kit

Home Decor

  1. Comforter and Sheet Set
  2. Art – Water Color Painting
  3. Art – Waterhouse Print
  4. ***New*** Art – Print
  5. ***New*** Art – Print

Resources for this article:
Dave’s original post that inspired his later book
The Times’ Article About the 100 Thing Challenge
The Zen Habits’ blog article