My Year of Eco Challenges – Challenge 3!

I’ve given up shampoo, I’ve given up supermarkets  and now I am going to give up new things!  For the rest of my challenge year (i.e. 10 months) I am not going to buy anything new or second hand for myself and I am going to try and make the stuff we use in my household last as long as possible.
Why am I doing this new challenge? There are several reasons which are (in no particular order):

  • I want to simplify my life. I am constantly decluttering, but somehow our house still seems to be full of stuff (not all of it mine by any means). I’m hoping the less I bring into the house, the less cleaning and tidying, re-organising and decluttering I will need to do. 
  • I want to go on a mending spree.  We have an ever growing list of things we need to repair. We have been doing some quick fixes, but a lot of them could do with mending properly.
  • The less stuff we all buy the better, for reasons clearly spelled out in the Story of Stuff linked to below:

It will of course save me money too, which in my mind is just an added bonus!
So what are the rules of this challenge?
  • Only I am taking on this challenge in my household, not my husband and kids.
  • I can buy new and second hand things for other people (although I will try to avoid buying new things)
  • I will allow myself to buy new things for myself that I need for safety reasons e.g. new tyres for my car.
  • I can buy new every day reusables which have worn out e.g. tea towels, scrubbing brushes, toothbrushes etc (if needed) which would be unhygienic or ineffective to carry on using.  
  • I will obviously allow myself to buy new consumables e.g. food, cleaning products etc
  • I can accept gifts from other people new or secondhand (although I will try to discourage this).
  • I can get things for free from websites such as freecycle and freegle or via swapping parties for example.
  • I can spend money on experiences e.g. going out to eat or going to see a show (not that I do either of those things very often..)
  • Before I came up with this challenge my husband and I had already decided to make some home improvements (we need to deal with some damp problems in our bedroom, probably involving changing a patio door for a window and our driveway needs replacing). So although not ideal I will make exceptions for those things. (I have been putting them off for ages in the hope that I would find some practical eco-friendly alternatives, but I haven’t been successful so far..)
This challenge has also been inspired by 3 bloggers.  
  1. The Clean Bin Project – a challenge carried out by Jen and Grant to buy nothing new (or secondhand) for a year and to also throw nothing away!  I met this inspirational couple in August when they came to Brighton to show a screening of their brilliant documentary film about their project, which I think is a must see for anyone concerned with environmental issues.
  2. My Make Do and Mend Year – Jen Gale also decided not to buy anything new for a year and instead mended and made her way through the challenge.  I have been so addicted to this great blog which is filled with good advice on how to make and mend things as well as the reasons why we should all be consuming less.  Jen is still blogging although her challenge year is over and I highly recommend popping over there for a really good read!
  3. Free Our Kids – A very brave Hattie Garlick challenged herself to spend nothing on her son for a year, finding ways to get clothes and toys for free and making their own entertainment! She is still going with this one and you can catch up with her adventures here
I’m definitely not the only one setting myself this type of challenge – there are other people out there doing it. Lets hope more people join in this trend as we all start to realise that not only can we live with less – we need to and it is better for all of us!
I will be posting on my progress with all the challenges I am undertaking so far on the blog and will be announcing my next challenge on the 20th December – so don’t forget to look out for my updates and the next challenge!

If you have a moment I would really appreciate it if you would consider sponsoring My Year of Eco Challenges with an action on my DoNation page. Also if you liked this post please click like on Facebook and follow on Twitter – thanks so much!

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