Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 8, 2010
Trying to be ‘green’ is always an interesting thing to do especially in the New Year season of everyone wanting to get organized. Why? Well because you get into this somewhat odd debate with yourself about throwing things out. Should you find another use for the item you want to toss, could somewhat else use it, or could I sell it in a garage sale? Or should it just be tossed into a landfill and be done with it?
For example, I recently got a new backpack to use a to/from work bag as a Christmas gift. It’s to replace the bag I got for free when I started my first job post-university so the old bag is about nine years old and a buckle recently broke on it. I could technically repair the buckle and someone else could use it, but really it’s an old work bag. So does it really matter?
In the end I decided to just toss the bag. Why? Well because I realized something important. There are reasonable limits to doing the right thing and if you go to far to the dark green side you may end up unhappy about your life. The old bag was just taking up space an not being any use to me. Everyone I know has a work bag already so really the effort involved in repairing the bag and selling it was likely going to be pointless. Keeping the bad would not make me any happier or improve my life in any way. So it hit the garbage bin.
So this bring up an interesting concept. If you want to get organized would you be better off not spending the money on new shelves, storage units or any other organization aid and just toss the stuff you don’t need instead? That way you are not consuming any new resources and you have less stuff in your life. Obviously sell what you can first or give it to charity, but keep it reasonable. Not one really wants your old fry pan with a worn out non-stick coating.
Perhaps the obsession with not throwing stuff is wrong, when the real battle should be about reducing the new stuff you bring into your life. What do you think? Do you toss things out easily and just avoid new things or do you try to reuse as much as possible?