It’s that time of the year again, the time when the phrase ‘New Year, New Me’ makes its way around the social scene trying to peer pressure us into compliance. Everywhere you look, friends and family members are vowing to lose weight, are aiming to get fit and signing up to 12-month gym memberships, are swearing off alcohol or cigarettes and basically attempting to turn into new and improved versions of their 2018 selves.
So if you’re committed to being a better Earth citizen but New Year’s Resolutions aren’t exactly your thing, here is a round up of some zero waste, minimalist and intentional lifestyle challenges that you may prefer to experiment with instead. These challenges will help to minimise your eco footprint, hopefully maximise your life satisfaction and make you a more conscious, evolved person in the process.
Now to make reading easier, I have divided the eco challenges list into subcategories. If there are others that you believe deserve to be included, make sure to leave a note in the comments below!
Minimalism and Decluttering
1. 30-Day Minimalism Game
This minimalism game challenge by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus AKA The Minimalists is super fun and super popular. Each day over a 30-day period you are required to declutter your home by removing household contents from it. You can play with friends and family, or undertake the challenge alone. It’s completely up to you.
Here’s how this minimalism ‘game’ is played: You get rid of one thing on the first day of the month. Two things on the second. Three things on the third and so on and so forth until you reach Day 30. By midnight each day, you are required to remove the items out of your house by either selling, donating or giving it away, recycling or trashing (if it is completely broken and unfixable).
Learn more: theminimalists.com/game
2. Buy Nothing New Month Challenge
Living in a house of clutter and sick of tidying it up? Wardrobe overstuffed with clothes? Cupboards bursting with shi*t you don’t even use or haven’t looked at in years? This challenge will help you tackle your shopping addiction, reassess your consumption behaviours and reconnect you with the items you own.
Here’s how you complete this challenge: Just avoid buying things you don’t need, and if you must, by second hand, rent your outfit or borrow.
I successfully completed the Buy Nothing New challenge years ago (read about it here) and I recommend it for anyone who wants to tackle their mindless consumption habits. Now remember, this challenge isn’t about cutting down the things you actually need, like food or office supplies if you’re running a business. It’s about cutting out the stuff you don’t really need.
Buy Nothing New Month is typically held in October but there’s nothing stopping you from attempting the Buy Nothing New challenge this month, next month or whenever.
Want to wasteful consumption a thing of the past? Try this challenge out.
Learn more: buynothingnew.com.au/how
3. Project 333™ Challenge
Created in 2010 by Courtney Carver the woman behind the Be More With Less blog, the Project 333™ is a fashion challenge that invites people to dress with 33 items or less for three months, hence Project 333.
This minimalist wardrobe challenge will help you look at your existing wardrobe differently and help you create outfit combinations you didn’t realise were possible. Popular with fashion and shopping addicts, minimalist-wannabes and capsule wardrobe enthusiasts.
Learn more: bemorewithless.com/project-333
4. 10×10 Wardrobe Challenge
First launched in 2013, the 10 x 10 Challenge™ capsule wardrobe challenge created by Lee Vosburgh the founder of minimalist fashion blog Style Bee, invites people to challenge themselves with a micro wardrobe of 10 pieces of fashion to create 10 outfits for 10 days straight.
Want to flex your creative fashion muscles but don’t want to commit to the three-months set by Project 333? This minimal wardrobe challenge is for you. Our very own Canada-based writer Cassandra Ciarallo tried this out and enjoyed her 10×10 capsule wardrobe experiment which you can read about here.
Learn more: stylebee.ca/10-x-10-challenge
5. The 100 Thing Challenge
Sick of the American culture of consumption blogger Dave Bruno decided to simplify. In 2007, he launched his 100 Thing Challenge (which he turned into a book in 2010) deciding that he could live and enjoy life owning less than 100 things.
Now the rules weren’t set in stone. Bruno made his own rules (shared family household items weren’t included, neither were books and tools, collections were counted as one item) so you can too of course. The aim is to live a more simpler and meaningful life not stick to hard and fast minimalist lifestyle rules. So feel free to give it a go and enjoy the challenge too!
To buy The 100 Thing Challenge book, click here.
6. 101 Items to Get Rid of Without Regret
Not so much a challenge as a checklist but still worthwhile reviewing, particularly if you need some structure to decluttering your life and your home.
Check out the 101 decluttering list from Organise My House here.
7. 30-Day Minimalism Challenge
This popular minimalism challenge created by minimalist fashion blogger Anuschka Rees is designed to help you live a more intentional life. The challenge requires you to implement one task that will help you let go, destress, refocus and live more consciously, whether it be disconnecting from social media until lunchtime or clearing out your junk draw.
There’s a pretty printable you can download and print out if you need it. Check it out here.
8. The Six Items Challenge
If you’re keen to go on a fashion fast, this challenge is for you. The Six Items Challenge concept is similar to the 10 x 10 challenge only for this one, you choose six items of clothing from your wardrobe and pledge to wear only these every day for six weeks.
Created by not-for-profit workers’ cooperative Labour Behind the Label as an initiative to help fund and support their garment workers’ efforts to improve conditions for workers around the world, you can participate in the formal challenge to be held in March or just undertake one yourself.
Read a first-hand account of what it was like to undertake the Six Items Challenge here.
9. 20-Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge
Want to develop a sustainable wardrobe mindset but unsure where to begin? The 20-Day Sustainable Fashion Challenge by Summer Edwards, the blogger behind Tortoise & Lady Grey, is formatted to help guide you through the process. You’ll receive daily emails with tips and tricks, so you’ll feel more confident to shop in a way that expresses your individual style without causing harm to people and planet, and you’ll learn how to reconnect with clothing again – before fast fashion ruined our experience of it!
Learn more here.
Zero Waste and Plastic-Free
10. 31-Day Zero Waste Challenge
The 31-Day Zero Waste Challenge by the founder of popular American zero waste blog Going Zero Waste Kathryn Kellogg is the perfect environmental challenge if you’re looking to dip your toes into living waste free and need some help and guidance along the way.
Want to break up with trash? Need to change your wasteful habits? This challenge is definitely for you. You’ll receive daily zero waste lifestyle tips and you also have the opportunity to join a supportive community of like-minded people who are keen to minimise their waste too. Great challenge to complete with friends and family.
Learn more about this month-long zero waste challenge here.
11. Plastic-Free Month Challenge
Plastic-Free Month is typically held in July, otherwise known as Plastic-Free July, but you can undertake the challenge at any time, in any month. If you’re concerned about the amount of plastics polluting our oceans and environment, why not commit to saying no to single-use plastics and disposables such as straws, cutlery, coffee cups and much more?
To help you successfully complete your Plastic-Free Month, here is a comprehensive post about plastic-free swaps to get you started.
Learn more about Plastic-Free July here.
12. Meat-Free Month
If you’re an eco-conscious meat eater, you may already be aware that animal agriculture has a huge impact on the environment, from water consumption, release of methane gas through to land clearing for raising livestock. So take your cue from the No Meat May challenge and why not try cutting meat from your diet for a month?
To help get you successfully complete the month-long meat-less challenge, read our comprehensive post on how you can switch to a vegetarian diet here.
13. Meat-Free Week
If you don’t think you can go a month without eating animal flesh, I mean, meat, why not try a week then? Meat-Free Week is typically held in September, but you can always undertake the challenge this week, or next or whenever you want really.
Learn more about Meat Free Week here.
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