Your mission if you dare to accept it (Mission Impossible music, please) is a thirty day promise to junk-free your house. It is your challenge, and therefore your decision how far you want to rid yourself of your junk. Why am I issuing this challenge?
Right before my son’s bar mitzvah, I went crazy trying to clean up my house. It was an occasion that pushed me to look at my junk and start creating a clean slate. I always found such events as a new baby coming, a move, or celebration inspired me to get my house in shape.
Some people have explained to me that my need to clean-up before an important event in my life is called nesting. Unfortunately, I was not able to complete the clean-up since I started too late.
But, it is never too late. So with your help, we can make it a communal effort to clean up our work places and/or homes.
You may ask, Anna, what does junk have to do with “your life should be greener” theme?
Read on and see how cleaning up your junk is not only good for your soul, it is also good for the Earth.
Stop buying what you don’t need
We are all culprits of buying in the name of “maybe I will need this some day.” Half the time, we can’t even find the stuff we bought because it is hidden under other stuff that we bought for the same reason. The more stuff produced to feed our consumption appetites, the more natural resources consumed. Is it worth it?
But I can’t part with it Syndrome
How many times do you say, “I can’t get rid of this because I might use it some day to make a project, wear, or use?” And what happens? You got it. That extra something is sitting right next door to the pile of other things that will never, ever be opened, use, or re-used again. Make a promise to strike that sentence right out of your vocabulary.
I feel like sometimes we hold onto the past which just clutters our lives. I had a pile of torn clothes that I swore that I was going to use to make a quilt. Each day, I would look at my pile as it got bigger and bigger and kept saying “some day.”
Well, right before the bar mitzvah, I decide to get rid of the pile, and delivered it to a charity which sells the scraps to a company that makes rags. I felt like a huge burden lifted as I got rid of the pile. Now, my laundry room no longer has this garbage bag of clothes sitting there.
Perhaps this pile of rags is a metaphor for me. Getting rid of the rags was admitting to myself that I just don’t have the time or inclination to make something when there are so many other important things I need to do and love.
Stop Wasting Energy for Things You Don’t Need
Everyone gets emails that so and so is having an amazing to die for sale. What do you do? Run to the computer or the store to check it out and eventually buy something because it is from that amazing sale.
I use to be that way. I love running to the outlets to buy clothes I hardly wore, but I would always reason, but I got it for THIS PRICE and it was STEAL since it was SO-SO designer.
If you stop buying things you don’t need, then you spend less time and energy being either on your computer or driving your car somewhere. So, readers if you are not shopping, what other things could you do?
Junk is Just Bad for Your Health
The more stuff, the more dust, and the more sneezing and coughing. I imagine most people are allergic to dust. I am. I try and keep clutter to a minimum in my house rather than take allergy pills.
How many of you have stacks and stacks of musty smelling books that you will never read? How about the smell of the new products that you just bought. They are off-gassing their nasty chemicals into your world.
I also know that clutter stresses me out.When I can’t find things, my stress levels go up and stress takes a toll on my health.
Being ill is not good for the Earth. When you are ill, you take more pills. Many unused pills find their way into our landfills and waterways. (Don’t forget to take old pills to your police station when they collect.)
Buying plastic to store all your stuff is not great for the Earth
Now, you bought all these things that you truly believe that you will need in the future. Your drawers are stuffed to the gills. So, what do you need now? Storage bins and containers!
And what are those terrific bins made out of? You guessed it. Plastic, that is manufactured using petroleum! Another depletion of natural resources
So, what to do with all that stuff you really don’t use, need, or have outgrown (especially kids)? Here are some of my suggestions:
2. Craig List it! Some of your stuff is worth money. Try and sell it on Craig’s List, a free service in your area.
3. Donate it to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, and other organizations.
4. Team up with a family of younger kids and see if they want your hand me down clothes and toys.
5. Fix what you have instead of throwing it out. (Check out how I fixed an old lamp.)
6. Giveaway stuff to co-workers and friends, such as food items you don’t consume anymore.
7. Swap your DVDS, CDs, and books. See my article here where to do this.
8. Have a Garage Sale. They are fun and can earn you some green.
So, my first challengeis the kitchen pantry. I just cleaned mine up and will speak about this in my next article. Update: I tackled the kitchen and it wasn’t pretty.
Join the Conversation:
- What do you seem to buy too much of?
- What are ways you can think of to rid your house of stuff you don’t need anymore?
- What part of the house do you need the most help in cleaning up?
Photo by Dan4th Nicholas