How to Get There Green - Our Daily Green

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Get There Green

For many years now, I've confidently considered myself "green", before it was even vogue. Afterall, I have been separating trash for over 20 years, we've fixed things versus trashed them, I used cloth diapers for my babies, I compost my kitchen scraps, avoid chemicals and processed food, etc., etc. I had a laundry list of touchpoints for proof that was I was green. (such laundry even hung on a line). My green confidence was so high, I decided to write this blog, in fact, certain I would have things to share with you.

The more I read, the more I realize how little I know. It can be quite daunting to get there. Overwhelming in fact. Proof of the overwhelmingness(?) that greening hit me full force this past weekend.

2010 began with a pledge to organize and simplify my life. I tend to packrat-ism, filling my space with potentially useful things so that I don't put them in landfills OR needlessly consume if I need something. I started with my bookshelf. I pulled out all the books I don't really need and decided to sell them. They moved from an overflowing bookshelf to a staging pile on my floor. (I've sold five, so far). The pile grows, though, as for every one I sell, I find two more I don't need.

Next step was the craft closet. As my children have gotten older, I no longer require the rainy afternoon craft supplies that once kept us busy many afternoons. I no longer make cute handprint shirts and bags as gifts for family members. But all the stuff remained in overflowing bags and boxes ready for the next project. I wanted to find a worthy recipient for all my still good craft supplies, so the pile languished.

Then, I was at a silent auction over the weekend and saw items made out of old vinyl record albums. I started to think about the boxes of old albums I have and that I ought to do something "green" with them. I don't listen to them, and even though I suggested it in the aforementioned blog post, I'm not going to make bowls from the old records or wallpaper a room with old album covers. So that pile languishes.

At this point, I've completely stalled my plan to simplify with complications. I allowed my wheels to spin at every attempt to dig out from the clutter and "too many things-itis". It wasn't enough to clear out my things and start fresh, but I had to clear such things out with purpose and thoughtfulness.

It's made me overwhelmed to the point of non-action.

Until this past weekend. My practical, engineer, manufacturing spouse reminded me of the 80/20 business principal. In short, 80% effort is way more productive than 0%. I've embraced a 20% failure as "good enough", and want to take my 20% loss right off the top and move forward instead of stalling wondering how I can achieve 100%.
I boxed up all my treasures and headed to a drop off charity point. I won't agonize if they will utilize those items properly, I won't stress that they won't appreciate my cast offs, and while it may seem irresponsible, it's no longer my problem. I can only move forward, not keep looking back.

I am simplifying my thinking and learning to let go.

That is my green tip for today, start small and let go. Do something little and let it grow instead of starting everywhere and making yourself crazy. Mental clutter is no better for the planet than physical.

Good luck!

A great resource: Click here to visit Becoming Minimalist.
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