Ask Not What Your Earth Can Do For You…

DSC01758Happy belated Earth Day to all!

Did everyone do something special to celebrate our beautiful planet? Me neither, nothing more than the usual anyway.

In the spirit of saving the planet, I thought I could write about ways to reduce our footprint.

Now we all know the common ones: recycle, don’t leave the water running when you brush your teeth, buy local, buy used, buy energy efficient appliances, don’t waste electricity, insulate your home, use low-flow faucets, use a programmable thermostat, and the list goes on for miles.

But, I’ve been thinking beyond that. Specifically, when it comes to how much STUFF we consume/own. We are constantly bombarded by messages of “Buy Me!”, “You’ll be better (prettier, more popular, happier, richer, etc.) if you purchase this product!”, “New and improved!”. But do we ever stop to think about whether we actually need this item, or that thing?

I’ve recently downsized and gotten rid of most of my belongings (sold, donated, recycled, or trashed). Although I didn’t live in a huge place to begin with, I was shocked to discover how much stuff I had accumulated. Stuff that was just sitting there, doing nothing but collect dust. So much “someday” stuff. Materials bought or kept that I was going to do something with…someday. Under the bathroom sink I actually found doubles and even triples of products that I had purchased, forgot I had, so purchased again. I have enough liquid hand soap to last me MONTHS! Now that I’ve moved into my new, smaller place, I’ve discovered that there is very little of it that I miss or wish I had kept. Even some of the stuff I wish I kept is stuff that would be nice, but I’m not suffering without it.

I’m all for making a house feel like a home, but there’s a fine line between decorating and accumulating clutter, and it’s a slippery slope into the world of hoarding. It’s so easy to get emotionally attached to our belongings, but at the end of the day, it’s just stuff, even the irreplaceable stuff.

Many of us, in today’s society, are unhappy with one aspect of our lives or another and we often turn to material possessions to “self-medicate” or to distract us from the boredom of our busyness.

It’s not necessary to do such a drastic purge, as I did. All one needs to start doing is being more mindful of what one buys and what one keeps. Is this item a want or a real need? Will I actually use it or will it remain in the “good intention” pile. Do I have room for it? Will I like it for more than five minutes? Do I need to buy this new? Do I need to have ten of something or will I have enough with two?…you get the idea.

For those who say that climate change isn’t real, I figure there’s nothing wrong with using our resources efficiently anyway. Waste is never an ideal thing, plus, being more choosy with our purchases saves us money. We could all use more of that.

So to use JFK’s quote as a template…”Ask not what your earth can do for you, but what you could do for your earth.”

Clearing the clutter, or better yet, avoiding it in the first place, is better for your mind, your energy, your wallet, and your planet. Why not give it a try!

If you need help getting started or you’re stuck, you can contact Bravaservices for ideas and suggestions.



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