The Community’s third 21 Day Challenge - Reusing and Upcycling in November 2021

  • 3 November 2021
  • 42 replies

  • Community Manager
  • 1153 replies

Hello everyone and welcome to the Community’s third 21 day challenge! 

What is a 21 day challenge I hear you ask? Well, apparently it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. And we’d like to try and make some more sustainable habits in our everyday lives. So, members of the Community are teaming up each month to tackle a new challenge. And hopefully, some of the changes will stick! In October we completed our second 21 day challenge with flying colours as we virtually walked to COP26, thanks to everyone who participated! You can read more about the idea here, too.


This month’s challenge is all about giving things a new lease of life, it's out with the new and in with the old! Throughout November, the aim of the game is to avoid buying any new (non-essential!) items. Whether that’s making something yourself from scratch, upcycling or buying second-hand - it’s time to get our creative hats on! If you want to feel inspired check out @Bev’s jacket upcycling idea. 

We’ll use the replies section below to all post our progress, including plenty of pictures and updates. Revamping the old instead of buying new is a small change which we hope will reduce our carbon footprints. Plus, it’s a great way to save money! Perhaps we can keep tabs on how much we save by reusing instead of buying new?

Championing this month’s theme are your very own @Bev@Barbrajean and @Antski along with @Marc, @Nataly, @Al O and I - a full house! 

Challenge number three, we’re ready for you! 

42 replies

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I'm going to a 'dressy up do' up do next week and instead of paying a fortune for a new dress, I got a very nice one on Ebay for £26, very pleased with that 👗😊👍 

That’s brilliant @Scubaseahorse - I hope you have a lovely time at the do!:dancer:  I’m after a North Face gilet (they’re so warm) so I have been looking on Ebay everyday bidding on them instead of buying one new, hopefully I get one soon! It’s funny the new ones are so expensive, but padded out far less than the ones they used to make 20 years ago. 

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I remember the excitement of bidding on eBay our Scubes and Mads, many years back when it was new. Spooky our Mads, as I distinctly recall a bid on a Paul’s Boutique gillet back in the day hee hee. Gosh it was gorge, I loved it, but it was soooooo close right til that last bid, but I got it. That’s something that’s now gone to the charity. 

Does the challenge involve DONATING to charity as well as buying from, I wonder? I ask, as only last weekend I spent most of Sunday sorting sooo many books, all like new, only read once, yet finding someone to receive them is tricky. I found one charity shop which takes books, but won’t collect. Near my Morrisons so quite a trek, but when put them in backpack and bags to take, way much heavier than I thought, 

So then searched online and found charity near London who collects from anywhere in U.K. and then distributes to third world. Signed up and went thru all the details, you have to box the books and also takes old PCs so included that plus clothes. Got to end, and was willing to pay the £7 for someone to collect. Fair enough. BUT then it said I couldn’t proceed until made a further donation! I thought hang about big boy! I then decided the books seemed almost too good to go, I want them to go to needy people here in this country who will appreciate the titles more. Some are based on TV series only known here, for example. So back to square one.

But I am deffo finding just lately, and it’s not just related to Covid, that it gets harder and harder to donate. I know for sure it’s much easier in Somerset, lots of charity bags thru door, and lots of grateful charity shops. It’s definitely different by postcodes. I am sure I’ll find the right place for it all soon anyway. 


Spoiler alert - buying second hand or acquiring things for free (totally legally, of course!) is my default approach when I need anything - so I’m really going to enjoy this month’s challenge!

@Bev It’s amazing that it’s so hard to give things away sometimes isn’t it!? And the ‘extra donation’ thing seemed so unnecessary considering you were also going to pay the £7 pick-up fee :open_mouth:

You could try your local freecycle/freegle group. I use the Trashnothing app (and website, soon I think which is the best way I’ve found to request and donate items on those freecycle groups. I’m sure someone would pick those up from your local area and no money would change hands. You can always leave things outside for people to pickup if that’s a concern. I’ve met lots of interesting people from the area too, by giving stuff away on Trashnothing.

Another thought I had, and it depends on the books really, is whether you local school(s) would be interested. They often do fundraising for essentials like books - so to have some donated might be of interest - either to stock their library directly, or for a jumble sale etc. Someone would pick them up from you I’m sure.

On the subject of books, I’m making a concerted effort to improve my learning at the moment and I needed a specific book on UX Writing that I was recommended. Looking around online for a new one, it’s about £20 plus delivery on top. However, I found that someone was selling one on eBay second hand - result! I made them an offer of £10 (inc delivery) and it just arrived :sunglasses:

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but judging by its cover, it looks totally brand new and unread! So that’s less than half price and I’m helping someone else de-clutter - win-win!


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Bloomin loved reading that post Al! You made me LOL re not judging book by its cover bit 🤣🤣🤣👍👏

Indeed, you wouldn’t think be soooooo hard to give good quality stuff away. I really look after it, and I don’t mind paying fees at all, and I always donate regularly too, but when, as you say, they’re already asking the seven Notes fee, which is fine, the donation should be optional. Put me off them, and I think that sort of thing does indeed put a lot off. Donation has to be by choice not forced upon someone. 

I did look into the laptop going to schools when they were crying out for them on that appeal during lockdown, but very few participated here, and the one that did was really miles away, and no one would collect. Usually getting heavy loads from A to B is never an issue, but lately I’m having to be careful with body, so not risking too much. I won’t give up tho, but do want them to go to a good home, as like new. Think our Mads introduced me to the free cycle thingy too Al, I hadn’t even heard of it. Thanks for the other links, I shall so keep trying. Glad mentioned it now, as knew it was a bit reverse of the challenge, but still fitted in really. 

Nice when you get such a good buy like you did, Al. You never know til arrives, and you always hope people are genuine, and that they also treat their belongings with as much care as we do, but you just don’t know. So glad it all worked out perfect. 

Also, sooooo great you’ve joined the challenge again! Super pleased! 👏👍Where’s lovely little Albert too?! 

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PS How come you hide in the bg, unlike the other three managers?! Just curious 😁😁😁

This month’s challenge is all about giving things a new lease of life, it's out with the new and in with the old! Throughout November, the aim of the game is to avoid buying any new (non-essential!) items. Whether that’s making something yourself from scratch, upcycling or buying second-hand - it’s time to get our creative hats on! If you want to feel inspired check out @Bev’s jacket upcycling idea. 

Oh rats, and I finally placed my long-standing IKEA order on 1st November, it’s been in ‘draft’ form for months, as they never had the whole basket in stock.

Last week I bought a new phone, Pixel 6, to replace my OnePlus 3 as it’s got a few ‘foibles’ which I thought were ‘repairable’ but appear to be software bugs that aren’t being fixed,

If I don’t get any sense from Currys, it will be going back unopened next Monday - does returning it count as ‘bonus points’?

I’m after a North Face gilet (they’re so warm) so I have been looking on Ebay everyday bidding on them instead of buying one new, hopefully I get one soon! It’s funny the new ones are so expensive, but padded out far less than the ones they used to make 20 years ago. 

I’m not surprised, it’s a horribly standard business practice.

Company makes a ‘good quality’ product at a fair price.
People realise what good value it is and buy it.
Company becomes bigger.
Eventually company either gets bought out, or changes ‘Management’.
New owners/management wish to ‘increase profit margins/shareholder value.’
Product becomes more expensive, and manufacturing costs are cut to achieve this.

@Gwyndy I certainly agree with you there! Also returning new items can indeed gain some bonus points! :smiley:

I’ve been introduced to Vinted by a friend, it’s like Depop and Ebay, it looks good as things seem to be sold at a reasonable price, unlike Depop where a lot of things are ridiculously expensive. Have any of you checked out Vinted before?

@Bev donating definitely counts! You’re passing things onto a new loving home. Like @Al O said Trash nothing/freecycle are brilliant for donating or receiving fab items. A lot of my furniture has been acquired through freecycle, all completely for free.:heart_eyes: Including 4 Ikea dining chairs, which look lovely around an old table I upcycled! 


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Wow! They really do look lovely our Mads! I am deffo going to look into donating thru those sites for sure 👍👍👍👍👍

I keep seeing the advert for Vinted too! 

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Very nice @Mads 

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So this is an industrial sanitiser I bought online at start of pandemic. Proved bit too harsh for hands, but it works great on surfaces. 

Been using it with wipes, but this challenge made me stop and think 🙇‍♀️💭, and had an empty Dettol spray, so just transferred sanitiser into spray, using funnel. Job done! Works like a dream! 👍👏

Harsh on skin, but great for cleaning 😳👍👏👏👏👏👏👏👏


That’s such a good idea @Bev, better than getting through lots of wipes I’m sure! :smile:

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Indeed Nat, liking it a lot so far 👍and deffo makes it feel good when you know you are doing a teeny bit more each day, to help our precious planet. 

My efforts so far for our November challenge have been focused on upcycling. 

We had a bog standard Ikea chest of drawers sitting in the shed, being used to house a few tools etc. But we could really do with some storage in our office/2nd bedroom… and so I took it upon myself to transform it into a thing of beauty. :wink:

That’s involved sanding it all down, getting some wood filler to fix a few chips and dents, sawing some pine moulding, gluing it into place, caulking it, and then finally we’re on to painting now. It’s been a really enjoyable process so far, plus I love the sense of pride that comes with it, unlike when buying something new from the store. 

The final step will be adding handles in a few weeks’ time (once they arrive). Can’t wait. :smiley:

adding the moulding to each drawer
the start of the painting
1st layer of paint - 1 more to go!


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Truly impressive our Nat! 😳👍👏👏👏👏👏👏👏Very impressed indeed. I am a bit rubbish re DIY but you’ve made a grand job of that! When you see the finished result, as you say you’ll feel so so proud 👏👏👏👏👏👏

PS Ruddy LOVE that keyboard ya bugger! Love it! 🎹💕

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PS I am sooooooooo pleased we are doing this third challenge! Truly loved all of them, would have been such a shame not to have done it! Really thrilled!


Another ebay purchase for me - I needed a way to ‘call’ the house from my garden office (aka a glorified shed!) I found out you can do that by using two smart speakers. It’s only taken me 2 years to discover this :grinning:

At the weekend I received this google home mini smart speaker. I think its first generation, but that doesn’t matter really - these things are really incredible devices. The ‘list’ price for this is around £49 but there are still deals to be found for new ones. But I got this (including delivery) for just £17! As you can see from the pic, it’s brand new - it still has the wrapping on it!  It was an unwanted gift apparently, and these are always good things to get because they are unused.


Also @Bev to answer your previous question. I’m not really a Community Manger (shhh, don’t tell anyone! :smile: ) I do work in the Community team though, and part of my role includes helping with the look and feel of the Community site, so I need an admin login for that :wink:

My next challenge is to get some Christmas presents, but second-hand and ‘good enough’ to give as gifts. I quite the challenge if I’m honest  :gift:

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Love that bargain you got, Al! How fab, still in the cellophane! 17 notes! Sometimes you just have to browsing at the right time. That’s smashing! 

Ooooooooh I see re working in the community team. Yep, mums the word 🤫🤫🤫🤫, won’t tell a soul 🤣👍

I think in today’s climate, pun kind of intended, people will appreciate the gifts more, in fact, Al, and the extra effort. Lovely idea 👍👏

I’ve unsubscribed from every fashion and beauty brand that used to clog up my emails with the latest discount code - if I don’t know what they’re stocking I won’t buy anything :wink:. So far its working well, it also proves I have a weak will for good advertising and nice face masks. But out of sight out of mind! My pockets will certainly thank me. 

I’ve been known to be a big spender, so this challenge is really good for me, and of course, more importantly, good for the planet! :blush:

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Love that Mads, as such a simple thing to do, but can make a huge difference. 👍👏👏👏👏

Hadn't even thought of this one, but now you’ve said that, it’s reminded me ….…

Yesterday I registered to unsubscribe to all mailing junk stuff, and also opted out of the Royal Mail door to door leaflets, ie those that go to every household, so no postal address, just pizza leaflets, Aldi catalogues, etc. Drives me mad purely cos of the number of absolutely wasted trees that I throw straight in the bin! Feel proud to have hopefully stopped soooooo much unnecessary mailings and junk now, so yes guess that’s part of the challenge, as it’s all helping the planet👍🙃📮 

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New Barnardos charity shop just opened up nearish me, with cafe too. Really big superstore. I think charity shops are really really taking off since this pandemic. They’re selling everything, from books, clothes, furniture, electrical. Sadly tho, they only collect furniture. Everything else has to be taken into the store, but one day I will, if do it bit by bit. That’s the sort of shop I’d love my stuff to all go to, as great location, great mixed demographic going in to browse, and what a wonderful charity for the profits to help 👍👏👏👏👏👏👏

All finished and really pleased with the final piece. :grinning:

I’d definitely recommend trying out upcycling - it was really fun to have a project to work on, and I used a YouTube video to help guide me along the way. Feel like I’ve picked up some useful skills too like learning how to caulk. 

Plus it was much cheaper than buying something new! I don’t think you could tell this was an Ikea piece originally… :thinking:

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That looks absolutely brand new 😳and like it’s been done professionally, so what an absolute achievement our Nat, doing it from scratch, simply from a video! I’m amazed as me and DIY just don’t get along 😁😁😁😁. Truly fab 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏. Seriously, love that! You should be soooo proud. 

Aw thanks @Bev! It was much easier than I thought it would be to be honest. The hardest bit was probably sawing the wood for the panelling sections. :blush: