Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reduce and Downsize for Survival

I wrote about reusing containers on the 12 of April. This is not to encourage saving of all kinds of plastic and glass ware. If we can reuse something instead of buying something new, we reduce the impact on earth resources, especially oil needed for manufacturing and shipping all this stuff around the globe.

But that's almost too big to get our heads around.

If we reduce our square footage of living space, and reduce the quantity of goods we fill it up with, then we'll make faster progress as a nation.
The more compact the housing, the less it takes to heat and cool it.

What if there's so much stuff in that square footage you start to feel claustrophobic? I know I do. I took an inventory on the amount of hair care products I have right now, on my shelves, in my home.Eight different things, not including combs or brushes. Just liquids. There are two kinds of shampoo, two kinds of conditioner, some various styling products, and some coloring agents.

Now, basically what happened is none of it seemed to be working for me. Finally I realized I expected product to solve mechanical issues: bad haircuts, brushing while wet, sun damage, etc. Instead of throwing it out, I'm going to use up what I have and not replace it, thereby getting this inventory cut in half.

I can take that approach to my closet as well. Why do I have twenty pairs of pants? Which ones haven't I worn in over a year? There's a reason I never use this jacket. In those cases, the sooner I get rid of it, the better.

I read about the 100 Items Challenge. This project can be interpreted in two ways: either each item ( one pair of shoes, one pair of pants) is counted, or each category is counted ( the jewelry is one, the shoes is another). You can see that with 100 categories a person could still end up with a ton of stuff. Yet, 100 individual items would be difficult to achieve. I probably have that in wardrobe alone.

A recent post at suggests that its important to be in the right location, and be mobile when necessary. Being able to move out, and leave it all behind is a mindset. I'm constantly watching out for Stuff Overload. It can creep up on you, one item at a time.

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