Other Inspiring Challenges

After the Rubbish Diet Challenge, I’m keeping my eyes open for something new. Here is a totally not-exhaustive list of some of the more fun challenges I came across on the internet.

Less Stuff

The Packing Party
From: the Minimalists.com, part of the 21-day journey into minimalism
This one is probably the most effective of all the declutter challenges I listed here. The official challenge is to give yourself 1 day to pack all your stuff into boxes. Cover large items you can’t box up with sheets. Now, for the next 7 days, if you really need something, unpack it. After those 7 days, everything that is still packed you can trash, sell, or donate. Of course all kinds of variations are possible. You could do one room at a time, or give yourself more time in the unpacking phase.

Digitize Your Stuff
From: the Minimalists.com, part of the 21-day journey into minimalism
This challenge is to scan in all your photos and all the documents you really need. Also store your CDs and DVDs on your computer. For safety, you could sign up for an online backup service. Then you trash/donate/sell the physical items.

100 Thing Challenge
From Guy Named Dave [Earlier references: 1,2]
Keep only 100 things, or: live one year with 100 or less personal possessions (so things shared with others are exempt). Collections can be counted as 1 thing. Want more of a challenge? Why not go for just 50 things? Exile Lifestyle made the list visual with pictures — very nice.

10 Things Challenge
From Simple. Organized. Life.
Get rid of 10 items a week. Very feasible, and you still get rid of 520 items over a year’s time!

Less Clothes

Six Items or Less
Choose six items of clothing and wear only these for one month, not counting undergarments, swim wear, work-out clothes, work uniforms, outer wear, shoes and accessories.

Project 333
From Be More With Less
This challenge is a lot like the previous one, with slightly different rules. Pick 33 items, including clothing, accesories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes, and stick to those for the next 3 months. Again some exemptions: underwear, sleep wear, workout clothing, and the wedding ring.

The One-Year Wardrobe Project
From Get Rich Slowly 
Following the same principle as the Packing Party: move all your clothes to a spare room. Whenever you need something, and it is not in your closet, get it from the spare room. Once you wore something once, it can stay in the main clothes closet. After one year, get rid of the clothes you haven’t worn.
Don’t have a spare room? You can also hang all your clothes with the hangers backwards. Once you used the item, hang it up with the hanger the right way. After a year, you can see exactly what you have worn, and what can go.

One Dress for One Year
From the Uniform Project, Little Brown Dress, One Dress Protest
Wear the same dress for one full year. Change it up by combining it with different items and accessories. Very inspiring to watch the Uniform Project Picture Book video. That is one versatile dress!

Less Buying

The Great American Apparel Diet
Do not buy any new clothes for a year. Exemptions: underwear, shoes, accessories, gifts, and of course: second-hand clothes, and making your own clothes.services, charity, plants, art supplies, (legal) digital books and music.

Buy Nothing New for a Year
From The Compact, through And then there were four (more readable text)
Don’t buy any new products of any kind — borrow or buy used. Some exceptions: necessary stuff such as food, drink, medicine, cleaning products, underwear,

Less Chemicals

No-Poo Challenge
From Feeling Feminine, via The Thrifty Mama
For at least two weeks, go without shampoo or conditioner. You can just wash your hair with water (hot, and close off with cold), but there are also other alternatives for washing, such as baking soda and vinegar.
I have been trying for a couple of weeks with apple vinegar, which worked great, but I don’t like the smell. You do wash it out, but while in the shower, it is not really nice. So at the moment I switched to the water-only method.
On a related note, you could also try to replace other personal care products with natural ingredients. For example, think about your deodorant, shaving cream, other creams, facial masks, scrubs, hair masks. Google can point you to a lot of fun recipes to try.

Show Your Plastic Trash
From My Plastic-Free Life 
Collect all of your own plastic waste for a week. The first week, live normally, so you can see your starting point. Take a photo and list out the items. Fill in the online form where you can ask the community for tips, but also think about what you could easily replace with plastic-free alternatives, what items you could give up, and what items are problematic. Then go for the next week; continue for as long as you like. It is an ongoing challenge.

Doing Less

The Four-Day Week Challenge
From: A List Apart
Work four days a week instead of five. You’ll probably end up more focused, more efficient, more creative, more relaxed, and more connected to the important people in your life.

Doing More

101 Things in 1001 Days
Make a list of 101 things you want to do, then try to do them over the next 1001 days. Here is some inspiration to get started.

52 in 52
From Kelly’s World
A variation on 101 in 1001: do something new each week.


30 Sugar Free Days
From OlsonND
Eat only low glycemic index foods for 30 days: no sugar, no grains, no starchy vegetables or high glycemic index fruits such as bananas. What you can eat: most veg, fruits, protein. The website has a link to a pdf which contains a more explanation, and a detailed list of good and bad foods.

Run 30 / 40 / 50 Miles in 30 Days
From: Map My Run
One mile (1.6km) a day. Sounds very feasible, doesn’t it?


YES! No Impact Week
From YES! Magazine
“Challenges you to live a radically greener and more connected lifestyle–for just one week.” Each day has a different focus: consumption, trash, transportation, food, energy, water, giving back, eco-sabbath.

Flylady Babysteps
One month to get your house in order.

Write 50,000 words in one month. Yearly returning challenge that always starts November 1. There are a couple of variations on this, for example for creating your own comic.

The GOOD Challenge
A different challenge each month, to try to live a better life. Examples of past challenges: Give up soap and shampoo; Give up processed food; Drive less; Go vegetarian; Waste less; Unplug at 8 (less internet).

Create a New Habit in 30 Days
From: The Power of Less
Pick only one habit to focus on. Start small: just 10 minutes a day. Commit publicly. Write out exactly what habit you will be forming, when you will do it, any rewards, and how you will overcome obstacles. Tie the new habit to something you already do consistently every day. Be as consistent as possible. Report your progress every day. Give yourself rewards each week, and stay positive. (Accompanying PDF)


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