Thursday, December 31, 2015

Get Rid of It, but HOW?

I recently asked my Facebook friends if I was the only one who became so overwhelmed by the thought of the proper way to get rid of things that I end up hoarding them instead. I was pleasantly surprised to find out not only am I not the only one to feel that way, but that some of my friends even take it to another level.

Hopefully I can add pictures to this post when I am feeling less lazy.

Yes, I understand there is no "away" in throwing away, but some ways are better than others.

The best is to not even let items enter the house. We recently came to the realization we have acquired more plastic bags from my parents sending things to our house than from all of the stores we visited in the past year. Maybe this year I can work on educating my parents to stop collecting so many plastic bags. 

Refusing is hard because it goes against my grain to be polite. Someone offers me something and (even if I don't want it) I'll end up accepting it and sending a thank you note, too (yes, thus adding to clutter in their world). Yet, we try to only bring things into our home that add to our home.

One way I have tried to reduce is by only shopping on Mondays. On Mondays I go grocery shopping and run most errands. If it doesn't happen on Monday, I try hard to make it wait until the following Monday. Emergency trips, especially during the holidays, have been known to happen.

A prime example of this is the feeding dish we bought well over 15 years ago for a cat that has long since passed away. The container is refilled with cat food for Charlie Cat and Kitty Lucy. Don brings his sandwich to work in a large napkin. Ashley uses a lunch box (I eat at home most days). Our soap containers are refiled from a giant container of soap. In addition to being ecologically sound, these decisions are economically sound, too.

A less than stellar example is our collection of cat litter containers. Even after repurposing a half dozen, we still have about 20 in the garage because they are too good to throw out, yet just how many storage containers does one need? Don recently used one to wrap my Christmas present in. I think that is taking this movement a little too far. He thought it was the perfect size for my bookends.

Recycling used to just mean bottles, cans, and newspapers. I'm old enough to have participated in recycling drives in high school as a fundraiser for the annual band trip. Recently I learned #1 and #2 plastic containers (such as the kind used for selling strawberries in the grocery store) can be recycled. Score! That much less kept out of the waste stream. The last list said only bottles could be recycled. It pays to keep up with the changes.

In addition to curbside recycling, I collect the following in various piles in the garage:

Rags: to be dropped off at a bin at any school in Hopewell
Clothes: dropped off either with the rags, or to Good Will
Books: the little free library in front of my house, or to the local library
Electronics: electronic waste day held four times a year in my county
Used motor oil: collected four times a year (along with electronics) in my county
Scrap metal: given to one of the many scrap metal collectors who drive around our neighborhood
Eye glasses: collected by the Lions
Plastic bags: dropped off at grocery stores and turned into park benches (I don't accumulate plastic grocery bags, but some things are wrapped in plastic plastic)
Batteries: collecting to drop off at a neighbor's house because his office recycles them

What creative places do you have to get ride of extra items?

When all else fails there is the annual church rummage sale (held in March) or the Veterans or other groups. My town has a Facebook group for sales I might try posting some items to next year.

This year our township started a composting program. In the first six months participants have "recycled" 57.66 TONS of organic waste. Last I heard there are less than 300 families participating in this program. Just think if everyone of the 30,000 residents (yes I know my numbers are not apples to apples, but they are the ones I have) participated in the program just how much we could keep out of the landfill and into a giant compost pile. Into the pile goes twigs, food scraps, yard waste, paper towels (a roll lasts about a month, but I have not given it up yet) -- basically anything that was once alive (we did debate about road kill, and decided to put that in trash instead).

Sometimes, though, we do throw things out. Things like those unnecessary stickers on fruit, plastic receipts, or the inevitable packaging waste that comes into our home. Now that we are composting our regular trash goes out about once a month now with composting -- a far cry from twice a week when we moved here nearly 16 years ago. has even more ideas of good places to get rid of things.

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