A lot of our emphasis during Earth Month is going to be on more effective energy usage, but there’s another equally important side to reducing your impact: not needlessly buying new stuff, and making better use of the stuff you have. I’m going to try and do that myself, and track my progress in the Unclutter Diaries.
Longtime Lifehacker readers might recall that I undertook a similar activity in the form of Project Cleanup back in 2009, when my house unexpectedly flooded, forcing me to do some major rationalisation ahead of repainting everything. As is often the fashion with these kinds of projects, I did get a lot of sorting done during the initial couple of months, but getting back to the central task took a lot longer than I expected. Embarrassing confession time: it wasn’t until January 2011 that I finally got to the point of doing the painting.
Now that the painting is more or less completed, I can start sorting the many boxes of stuff that have been living in my garage for 12 months. But because they’ve been living in my garage for 12 months, I know that I actually don’t need a lot of them. So as well as being an opportunity to no longer live in largely bare rooms, this is also an opportunity to tell myself: “You don’t need that stuff. Find someone else who does.”
Doing that will be easy in some cases. There’s two charity shops near my house, and as I’ve discussed before, I’m a big fan of Freecycle. But I’ve also got some other ideas on how to redeploy some of the excess, which I’ll be disclosing over the next few weeks. In the meantime, if you’ve got any thoughts on what to do with dozens of spare books, gadgets and kitchen equipment, tell me in the comments.