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.: July 2007 --> Declutter in 15 minutes a day

Declutter in 15 minutes a day

» FlyLady: Declutter 15 Minutes a Day - 5 Great Tools That Make it Easy! (via 43f)
 [ 07.20.07 ]


I recently attended a presentation on clutter and have been writing about it in my blog. Check it out! You will notice that in Part 3 - I link to your blog and to your post on Permaculture Zones. One interesting fact is that if you spend 10 minutes a day on something (decluttering?) at the end of the year you will have spent 60 hours!
Cheers, erin

This approach REALLY worries me. The frenzy of disposing of things just for the sake of doing so is almost as wasteful as buying things just for the sake of buying things. Yes, we may well own more "stuff" than we need, but if past generations had worked on this logic our museums would be devoid of all those nice small remnants of everyday life, and only hold the "big ticket" items that portray only part of our lives. Even those crummy old DOS computer games reflect a point in Western civilisation. I wonder if future generations will look back on us as the generation that destroyed the environment as well as cultural history?

Ken, I have at times also thought about this cleaning out process as it compares to previous generations, but for different reasons. Previous generations held onto things they didn't need against the day that they might: they did it for thriftiness. I feel this was about materials I might use on a construction project: I can save these scraps of lumber from building the shed, and maybe someday use it for building some shelves.

But the difference is that previous generations lived in a scarcity of physical things, while the current generation (at least here in America), lives in an overabundance of physical things. All that stuff we have is taking a toll on us mentally. We live in houses packed full of things that we think we might someday do something with, creating the mental stress of living with the stuff as well as the mental stress of thinking we have to do something all these things with the stuff someday.

I think our collective mental health is more important then saving DOS computer games.

But even then, it's not at though decluttering means that everything ends up in the landfill. The bulk of the things we get rid of go to Craigslist or Goodwill, and it's really very little that gets thrown away. My junk is someone else's treasure, right?

Decluttering also means getting to a state were we can appreciate what a clean desk, clean kitchen, clean garage look like. So maybe we won't accumulate so much junk in the future (helping the environment), and focus more on the things that are meaningful.

I've recently started a minor push on clutter, and what dismays me is that here in Italy there simply is nowhere to take the stuff that isn't effectively garbage disposal. The culture is effectively still one in which new is good and recycled or (and how I love this one) "pre-owned" is bad.

I put a couple of things on Craigslist Rome and have had not a single nibble. There are no thrift shops or what in England we call charity shops. There are a couple of second hand clothes places, but they don't collect and it is hard to schlep a garbage bag full of not very interesting old clothes on the bus. There are also big old receptacles for old clothes, run by the church, but they look so neglected I have this feeling that nobody ever empties them and all they do it provide a nice warm space for rats.

Anyway, my solution is to leave the garbage bags by the side of the dumpsters. That way, the raggle-taggle gypsies can get at it and salvage what they can perhaps turn a profit on. If they then dump it in landfill, well, I tried!

Yeah, even in the States, I find that Freecycle - highly touted by every single article on not creating landfill - is very unreliable. Twice I've had people accept an offer and then just flake out, with not even a phone call or email to tell me they've changed their minds.

Now I usually just wait for one of the the charity collection groups to come round - we have a permanent pile next to the front door of things that are to be donated. I put them out, appropriately marked, and like you, people passing through the neighborhood take them before the collection truck gets here.



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