Living Well with Less Stuff

Living Well with Less Stuff is an exciting challenge – inspired by The Story of Stuff – that encourages participants to think about the contribution our buying habits make to climate change. Our new challenge starts on Wednesday October 2nd 2013 with a meeting at 7.30pm.

This will be our second Living Well with Less Stuff challenge – our first highly successful challenge lasted one year, culminating in a very lively and well-attended evening in May this year, which included a Q&A session with challenge participants, followed by a swap-shop, where almost everything disappeared really quickly! We have decided to offer more flexibility this time, with participants having the choice of dipping their toe in the water of low consumption for three months, for a bit longer (six months) or trying the whole year!

Why is this a good idea?

Did you know that around one third of the average UK carbon footprint is down to our buying habits (excluding food, home energy and transport) – often higher than our home energy consumption? And this tends to go up if we have a higher income, with every added £1000 of expenditure adding roughly half a tonne of CO2.) Trying a challenge of this kind is an enjoyable way of breaking our addiction to shopping in company with like-minded others to encourage us – our previous participants found that they really enjoyed the challenge and have made permanent changes to their shopping habits, while still enjoying a good quality of life. (The challenge is not about deprivation!)

How does it work?

Make-do-and-mend evening

As part of the challenge  participants aim to reduce their general consumption over their chosen period of time – this can mean a range of things, from buying no new stuff at all except toiletries to cutting down new clothes purchases or gadget buying, for example – you choose! The group supports each other to overcome the issues that arise in the course of the challenge.

There are regular opportunities for participants to meet up during the challenge, to encourage each other and share ideas. Some get-togethers have a particular focus, for example, a ‘make do and mend’ evening, with people sharing tips on repairing, remodelling clothes and other things. (See Bev’s post on that evening, which also involved a bring-and-share local seasonal meal). In addition, participants share experiences and tips via the challenge blog.

What are the benefits?

  • Explore the contribution our buying habits make to climate change
  • Make the connection between consumption and waste
  • Save money by finding what you need second hand or by sharing stuff with other participants
  • Make new friends – join our regular get-togethers!

Quote from a participant:

“Taking part in the Living Well with Less Stuff Challenge has made me really conscious of how much I buy without really thinking about it. In the past, if I needed a new T-shirt or wanted a new top, I would just get one new  – now I look carefully through my wardrobe to see if I already have something I could revamp – and often I do! If I still feel I really need something, I aim to get it second hand, whether via a friend or family member or from a charity shop or car-boot sale. It’s very satisfying!”

Join the challenge!

For more information about Living Well with Less Stuff or to join the challenge, please contact Cambridge Carbon Footprint ( You will be given the address of the meeting on Wednesday 2nd October once you book. We look forwarding to welcoming you to the group!