The problem with being an environmentalist is that I detest throwing things away. I believe that discarding things adds to the general heaps of garbage. Without getting into the gory details of how much stuff I have accumulated over the years, let me just share that when I finally left my 10.5-hour day job and had time to actually sit down at home and view my surroundings, I knew that the time to “declutter” was way overdue. Maybe you’ve come to this conclusion as well?
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a hoarder. There is space to walk around my house and the barangay officials haven’t come over yet to air concern about my clutter.
My daughter used to toss everything she thought was “clutter” in her room into a garbage bag and throw it away which, for me, is just as bad to the environment as it is to dump the whole garbage bag into the nearest river. So here’s what I did.
Furniture that I wanted to get rid of, I sold on Facebook. There are group pages where one can sell items which they no longer use or need. Furniture which was really old I’ve donated to Caritas Manila’s Segunda Mana project. Segunda Mana takes all sorts of items and puts them to good use to help the less fortunate. Clothes, including shoes, which have been outgrown by my daughters can be sold or donated. There is also no shame in selling old clothes and shoes especially those that are in great condition and that you paid an arm and a leg for. Think of those Adidas Stan Smith sneakers that your daughter outgrew after six months and that she only wore on weekends—proceeds can go to buying something that fits her now.
Paper is also something I am loathe to throw away. I think I have enough scratch paper to last me and my family two lifetimes. Paper may be repurposed into notepads that you can bind together with padding glue. They make good giveaways at the office or to your kids who like to doodle. Once the whole pad has been filled up, junk shops purchase scratch paper. This is what I did with the tons of scratch paper I had lying around. Just make sure that the note pads aren’t made from your private financial statements or bank statements! You may not want friends to know how many millions you have in the bank (Yen not Philippine Peso! Wink!)
A lot of the things that were cluttering up my home were recycled. I make magazine pages into beautiful envelopes. There are still people out there who use envelopes and the fact that they are made from magazine pages are a conversation starter.
Junk shops purchase plastic and metal objects and a trip to the neighborhood junk shop is not too far away nor is it unpleasant. The head of our family (read: dad) takes trips to the junk shop on Sundays with the items that I’ve decluttered and brought home enough money for me to start a family bank account. Our family bank account has actually blossomed into something not too shady. One day I hope to use it to go somewhere or perhaps purchase something of significance.
You also don’t need to always throw things out. Many items can be repaired. A good friend once told me and I’ve not forgotten that many environmentally-conscious people repair items several times before actually throwing them out and I do this, too. Just make sure that the items you have for repair get to be repaired immediately. Non-working appliances may sold to junk shops or sent to Segunda Mana if you’re too busy to go have them repaired.
And that is the story of how I decluttered responsibly thereby avoiding a guest spot on the show Hoarders.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
Art by Marian Hukom
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