Design a 30-day SS challenge

tortoise

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I'm due for a challenge, but it's hard to find an appropriate one. I tried a challenge last October, but many of the activities had lead time so I wasn't able to just do one thing each day to keep me exploring SS lifestyle. I did like that I could take a "newbie" challenge and try to do "one more" thing or explore more in areas I was familiar with. I like a challenge that I can repeat every few months for inspo and accountability.

What would you include in a 30-day SS challenge? I will start a draft in this first post and update it as ideas are generated in comments.

  1. Trash audit. Sort out your garbage can to see what you are throwing away. What one type of trash could you reduce by pursuing an SS activity. Example: Do you have a bunch of tortilla bags in your trash? Learn to make tortillas!
  2. Sleep hygiene. Take an action to improve your sleep quality or duration, such as reduce caffeine, increase exercise, get morning sunlight, avoid artificial light before bedtime, block artificial light in sleep area. Poor sleep increases your appetite and decreases your impulse control. You're less likely to skip the drive thru and eat a home-cooked meal when you haven't slept well.
  3. Research livestock. Whether you're daydreaming about your future, considering adding a species to your farm, or learning more about animals you already have. Welfare? Nutrition? Breeding? Home-grown feed?
  4. Plan for power outage. What happens if your power goes out for an hour (in summer and in winter)? What if that hour is when your alarm clock was supposed to ring in the morning? What if it's when you're trying to feed your family supper? How hard would it be to cope? What happens if the power goes out for 6 hours? 12 hours? 24 hours? If you have a plan for short-term power outage, what if a part of your plan fails? What is plan B?
  5. Inventory your stash. Whatever your hobby you probably have extra supplies. Maybe it's yarn, fabric, building materials or scrap? A casual inventory of your extras will help you see how you can use what you already have to move towards your goals. Need to build a chicken coop? Need to make handcrafts to sell? Start with what you already have.
  6. Use a natural resource. What resources are in your area? Clay? Grass? Saplings? Cattails? What non-food ways can you use them? Can you make pottery? Weave a basket? Make a piece of furniture?
  7. Evaluate your finances. Got debt? Can you sell an item and pay off some debt? Can you make an items or provide a service and pay off some debt? Debt is the anti-thesis of self-sufficiency.
  8. Maintain a deep pantry. How long can you sustain your family comfortably with the pantry you already have? Do you know what you have? Is it rotated for dates? If you have a large amount of a single item (e.g., 50 pounds of rice, 10 pounds of spaghetti, etc.) do you have appropriate foods to go with? Do you need to use something up before it expires?
  9. Practice a power outage. Turn your power off for 6 hours and continue your normal activities. If you live with others, as a housemate to turn the power off on a day and time you don't expect it. Did your power outage plan work? What was difficult? What skills would make it less disruptive?
  10. Make your own. Choose a food or product that you already buy frequently and learn to make it yourself. Bread, granola, tortillas, buns are food items that cost less to make from scratch at home. Soap, exfoliants, skin masks, toothpaste or powder, deodorant, are goof choices too.
  11. Plan a camping trip. An excellent test of SS skills is camping. Can you build a safe fire? Can you cook on your fire? Can you keep your food at safe temperatures? Are you an experienced camper? Great! Can you camp in inclement weather or temperature extremes? Can you backpack in to a remote campsite? Can you camp for more than a week at a time?
  12. Everyday BoB. Some people call this a purse :lol: This is your bag for all the "little things" that you would otherwise spend too much money purchasing in a panic. Dropped your coffee on the way to a job interview? Bloody nose on the way to work? Oh noes!! Pick a bag and stuff it with a change of work clothes, blister bandaids, safety pins, deoderant, wet wipes, chap stick, etc.
  13. Learn or practice a new skill. What's something you can't do yet? Drive stickshift? Knit a hat? Prepare a wool fleece? Spin yarn? Weld? Tune up a small engine? Start learning how. Can't start today? You can make a list of supplies you need and find someone in your community to help you learn your new skill.
  14. Internet time-out. How would you be affected if internet wasn't available? Could you work? Could you cook? Would you feel lonely or bored? Turn off the internet when you're done with work today. What voids did you find? How can you meet your needs without the internet?
  15. Grow your own. SS gardening is a year-round operation. After harvest, the garden is weeded, bedded, cover-cropped or amended. Cold frames, hoop harvests and greenhouses can extend the harvest season, but these take planning and attention to detail. Soil amendments are gathered throughout winter, seeds are purchased and start indoors between 4 months and 2 weeks before planting dates. Soil tests are performed. Garden plans are developed. Seeds are sorted and winnowed or purchased. Regardless of the time of year and your gardening experience, what can you do today towards growing more of your food?
  16. Try meditation. When times get tough, mental health and emotional regulation are critical. If you meditate - or if meditation is intimidating - try a different relaxation practice, like guided visualization, body scan, or deep breathing.
  17. Conserve electricity. Electricity is probably the least SS resource we use the most often. You might not be interested in going off-grid, but you can save some money and be more independent by using less electricity. Can you turn lights off or put them on a timer? Dry your clothes on a rack overnight before tossing them into the dryer? Can you go to bed earlier? Would you survive if you shaved 30 seconds off your shower? Pick one way to use less electricity every day.
  18. Hospital BoB (bug-out bag). Not what you're thinking! Many people think of a survivalist's bug out bag that would allow them to travel and survive in a wilderness. Not that. Everyone needs an urban BoB. What happens if you, a family member or friend has a medical emergency? Do you really want to leave someone on their deathbed because you forgot to pack essentials to take care of yourself? Of course not! So grab a backpack, put a change of clothes, travel toiletries or baby wipes, your medications, and important papers like your advance directive, health insurance, and any important medical information.Chapstick, dollar bills for vending machines and an extra phone charger too! If you are on a special diet, consider adding a day's worth of food.
  19. Preserve a food. Choose a food that is in season, and preserve it in a way that makes it shelf-stable, such as salt-preserves, smoking, canning, dehydrating or fermenting. Use trusted sources such as Center for Home Food Preservation website. Been there, done that? Preserve one food 3 different ways.
  20. Explore minimalism. Minimalism and SS have an interesting relationship. In some ways, they seem to oppose each other. But they also overlap! People who explore minimalism focus on what is "enough" for them, and let the rest go. When difficulties arise, they understand their priorities (e.g., what to reach for when evacuating). They understanding what is essential and what is extra, so they are more resilient to disruptions. Note: minimalism is not about getting rid of all of your stuff. It's about identifying your values and aligning your entire life (including your possessions) with your values. Is your teacup collection the light of your life? keep it! Is your maintaining your teacup collection an obligation that is limiting your relationships? hmmm... maybe it's not worth it.
  21. Exercise. You can't outrun a tsunami if you can't run. Schedule a doctor appointment if you need a physical, and find some movement you enjoy. Functional movements are great SS choices. Shovel snow? Hoe or weed the garden? Scrub the floor by hand? Stack firewood? Knead bread by hand? But don't forget to include some cardio, in case of that metaphorical tsunami.
  22. Temperature acclimation. What happens if your power, heat or air conditioning systems fail? Will you get ick or die from heat injury? Would you get hypothermia? The human body can acclimate to hot and cold temperatures, but only if you let it. Temperature acclimation causes physiologic changes to the body, such as changing how much sodium is excreted in sweat, or the amount of heat-producing brown fat in the body. These changes take 2 weeks or longer. Temperature acclimation is done safely by gradual introduction to the hot or cold temperature, increasing no more than 20% duration per day. Age, various health problems and lack of physical fitness can make temperature acclimation difficult or unsafe. What can you do today? Can you take a cold shower? Can you air condition only one room of your house? Can you turn your thermostat up or down 1 degree?
  23. End of life planning. Not everyone will experience a tornado, hurricane, or house fire. But everyone will experience death. Do you have a will? Do your family members know where it is? Do you have a way to pay for end of life expenses? Do you have an advance directive or a medical power of attorney? Does your doctor/hospital have your advance directive on file? Are your beneficiaries up to date? If married, do you and your spouse have access to each other's accounts, including passwords?
  24. Cook a meal off-grid. Using equipment and food you already have, cook a meal without using a gas or electric appliance. How difficult was it? Was your back-up cooking method or camping gear easy to access? (Could you find them without electricity?) Are you proficient in using your off-grid cooking devices? What is one thing you could do (e.g., organize your storage) or buy (e.g., camp stove, fire pit tripod) to be make it easier next time?
  25. Play a different part. Do you live with others? What skills do you rely on others to do for you? Change the oil? Split wood? Tame the children? Mow the lawn? Cook meals? Shopping? Start a list! Practice one of these skills so you'll be ready when that person is sick, injured, or deceased.
  26. Use less. One way to rely less on consumables is to learn to use less. Will you survive if you use one less sheet of toilet paper? Is half a scoop of laundry powder good enough? Is dishwasher detergent necessary? Do you really need a liquid toilet bowl cleaner? Will you starve to death if you measure your food servings? Choose one item to use less of and see if you notice a difference.
 
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tortoise

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I'm thinking a trash audit is a good idea. It's a reality check for what types of items we are not SS for. Most of my trash is non-recyclabe plastic packaging - and most of that is from food. I didn't realize until I did a trash audit. It's something that can be repeated to gain awareness of progress or areas of potential growth.
 

tortoise

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I would include some things to work on health because fatigue or weakness can push people into purchasing items for convenience. (I'm thinking prepared / processed food mostly)

Maybe sleep hygiene
 

JanetMarie

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I would like to build a survival shelter on our property out of all natural materials, and live in that. Gather only from our land for food, use water from the creek (filter it of course). In reality this would only last for a few days.

A more reasonable 30 day SS challenge would be to do one or the other, and the gathering would have to include what is growing in our garden.
 

Trying2keepitReal

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For me part of being SS is being wise with money and debt free. We have one car payment and our mortgage that is it. A challenge for me would be no extras-nothing beyond our monthly bills and any perishable foods we might need or any school fees needed for the kids. No extra anything, no extra trips wasting gas, no extra "fun" items (e.g. seeds I dont need). And then take all that extra money and pay off or down a debt.
 

JanetMarie

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I learned how to knit and crochet quite a while ago. I made a queen size wool blanket that took 12 years. I can't use it, because I'm now sensitive to wool.

To make another one, I would get the huge knitting needles, and some kind of thick, thick soft yarn.

I grew cotton last year, and gathered some cattails and thought about getting a drop spindle.
 

JanetMarie

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I have some clay that was dug on our property, and have a wilderness survival book that tells in detail how to make pottery from it. I was just reading about it last night. Thought I would get some of the clay out to see if it's of quality to work.
 
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