In the third episode of the smart video series “Challenge Accepted”, intrepid host Michel Niknafs tackles the challenge “how to share and care” and spends one week trying to reduce his shopping while swapping to the max. Curious how he managed? Check out our video!

This week’s challenge focuses on swapping and sharing. Michel Niknafs has accepted the challenge – and for you, we’ve compiled ten tips to highlight the ease of sharing and the benefits of collective consumption. But first things first: Here is our new episode of “Challenge Accepted”. Feel free to share this, obvs.

Clear out your wardrobe

Most closets are packed to bursting – but let’s be honest: When was the last time you wore that beige blazer or frilly summer dress? Most of us could easily ditch half of our wardrobe without noticing a difference. And even sell or donate the spoils for some extra cash or karma. Apps like Letgo or Vinted do half the work: They double as virtual flea markets where you can offer, buy or swap your sartorial leftovers.

person using a virtual flea market app
Find a new home for unwanted clothing with the help of flea market apps.

Borrowing is the new buying

Considering a major purchase? Whether lawnmower, ice-cream maker or projector: Before handing over your credit card, it’s probably worth taking a moment or two to rethink your actual need (and frequency of use) scenario. Nowadays, you can borrow almost anything via platforms like BorroClub or Streetbank, saving costs without scrimping.

man holding a stool
Need additional seats for a dinner party? Your neighbour will help you out.

And if you have stuff to share, just order or print stickers from a platform like Pumpipumpe to show others in your house or hood what you’re willing to lend. So, your perfect movie night is safe: All it takes is a few knocks on neighbours’ doors to get that projector and popcorn maker for a full-on movie night.

man scetching items he is willing to share with neighbours
Lend and loan: Self-made stickers on mailboxes …
stickers with items to share on a mailbox
… make sharing appliances with your neighbours easy as pie.

Klimt today, Warhol tomorrow – turn your home into a gallery

A cool print from your favourite gallery … or that Picasso poster from a recent museum visit? Art sharing has made this old-school approach to wall pimping a thing of the past. Art providers specialise in lending out art for a set amount of time –  to companies or public institutions, but also increasingly to people like you and me. This is not only miles cheaper than buying art, but also gives young, aspiring artists a great additional platform for building awareness and popularity.

Ask next door

Every day, restaurants and private households throw out incredible amounts of food … but there’s an easy fix. Networks like Nextdoor as well as dedicated foodsharing communities like Olio have made it their mission to save your excess groceries from the bin by letting you swap or share them with neighbours and other hungry users. Even better: Why not keep it among friends and invite your dearest over for a shared mystery meal? After all, it’s way more fun eating together and you can also share the leftovers.

food sharing sign by Fairteiler
Food sharing organisations rescue excess groceries from the bin.
man in front of a foodsharing fridge
In Berlin, public fridges let you drop off and pick up leftovers.

Time is money

Each and every one of us is great at something or even an expert at their field. In desperate need of a haircut? Forget about checking Yelp – simply swap your personal skills for someone else’s expertise. An hour’s worth of dogsitting for professional passport snaps or a free trim sounds good, right? Platforms like Timerepublik let you earn and spend time credits for maximum swapability.

Your car, my car – carsharing

Parking spots and garages are hideously expensive – and increasingly rare in many urban areas. This makes metropolises the perfect proving ground for collective use and consumption. “Use, don’t own” has become the motto of many urbanites who value mobility over status. Carsharing companies like car2go ensure that citizens stay flexible, letting them get from A to B in a flash – on their own or together with friends.

person using the car2go app
Rent a car quick and easy with carsharing providers like car2go.

Office 4.0 – co-working spaces

You easily get distracted at home, but the office is too busy? Why not change the scene to kickstart your creativity and motivation? At co-working spaces like wework, you get to choose from private and shared group work spaces, available for temporary rental. A pleasant working environment, great networking opportunities and fully-featured work spaces make this modern, collective office-sharing approach a tempting and realistic alternative to the daily grind as we know it.

man working on his laptop
Need a change of scene at your workplace? Try co-working spaces!

Into nature – community gardens

Grow your own for added taste! If you don’t have a garden – or if your balcony only supports the odd nightshade – don’t despair. Just look further afield for fresh, homegrown fruit and veggies. Many cities and associations offer gardens and patches for collective planting and gardening. Here, anyone can volunteer their green thumbs – and share in the harvested spoils. It’s your direct line to free fresh herbs, regional fruit and just-plucked vegetables.

The world is your home – Airbnb, couchsurfing & co

Hospitality is a virtue. If you love to travel and don’t enjoy anonymous hotel rooms, you can take your pick from a huge range of unique places to stay – run (almost exclusively) by individuals from all corners of the globe. With anything from treehouses to city lofts on offer, there’s bound to be something for every taste and purse. Make sure to ask your host for local insider recommendations to explore the place and its people from a brand-new perspective.

people sharing a pizza
Your local Airbnb host will tell you where to get the city’s best pizza.

Out of sight, out of mind is not a solution

Your beloved bike needs some serious fixing … and the toaster has started to make funny noises? Don’t ditch them – take them to the nearest repair café where amateur fixers, tinkerers and makers will try to save your broken devices, clothes and more for a voluntary donation. You might be surprised by how easily you can rescue most things otherwise destined for landfill. And while the original idea hails from Amsterdam, more and more enthusiasts across Europe have set up their own repair cafés to breathe new life into everyday items and heirlooms alike.

people crafting in a repair café
Revitalizing broken devices: Technical and crafting skills are shared at repair cafés.
Photo: Julian Love

How Michel fared in his challenge and which lessons he learned? Find out in the video above. Or check out all episodes of “Challenge Accepted” on YouTube and subscribe to the smart YouTube channel for further challenges with Michel.

You also want to make sharing a habit? These links will help you: 

The classic:
With Airbnb you can make yourself at home at a local’s place.

Borrow to your heart’s delight:
Platforms like Nextdoor, BorroClub or Streetbank help you share and swap with neighbours and other users.

Get community gardening:
You can find the world’s largest community garden at Shared Earth.

Foodsharing made easy:
Olio or Too good to go offer more information on foodsharing.

Tomorrow’s office:
Discover co-working spaces with Officeclub or WeWork.

Profit from your spring-cleaning:
Vinted helps you find a new home for unwanted clothing.

Swap your skills for time credits:
Swap your personal skills for someone else’s with Timerepublik or Repair Café.

My car, your car:
Rent a car hassle-free with car2go.