Sunday, June 6, 2010

Declutter 101

Apart from training for the triathlon,  I have done a lot of cleaning since we got to France. I cleaned my room (I still have a room at my mum’s house) and got rid of most of my stuff. A lot of clothes, an insane number of shoes, bags, purses, make-up, tons of books and papers and even jewells. My god I owned a lot of crap. I am not quite done yet and I hope to clear out even more stuff, but it already feels great. My closets are nice and almost empty. But now I have piles everywhere in my room. Of stuff to give away. And amazingly enough, it is not that easy to find associations that would take your stuff for free. They are really picky on what they take these days.

Because my piles were not big enough, I decided to go through my mum’s stuff as well. If I do own a lot of crap, my mum could easily fill 2 houses with what she stocks in this one. It is unbelievable. And because she has this much stuff, she usually can’t find what she needs, so she buys it again. When we were cleaning her office, I found half a dozen cutting knives, 4 staplers, 5 scotch tape dispensers, etc. I also found some boxes we packed when she moved out from the last house, 15 years ago. Unopened. It tooks us a whole day, but we did a very good job. We tossed about 10 bags of garbage, 2 boxes of books and random electronics. Now we can see the color of the wood on my mum’s desk. This is was room 1 of 7. We still have a lot of work to do...

I realise when I come back here how lucky I am to live away from this crazy consumming frenzy. We have been back for a week now and even though we don’t watch tv, I can feel the constant message urging you to buy more, to get more stuff, bigger stuff. It is everywhere. It is all the time. It is insane.

Everything here seems to be about getting more : more stuff, more good deals, more knowledge, more travels, even more friends (real or Facebook friends...). The quality doesn’t seem to matter so much as long as you get more stuff (you don’t need) and that they are good value. Which leads us to a society of waste. Today everything is disposable and everything comes in huge amount of packaging. When I get the garbage out at the end of the week, the volume of waste is bigger than the volume of food I bought !  How did we get to this much waste ? All these packages that will end up in landfills or burnt and turned into CO2! Do we really need this ? All these plastic wraps and containers that are made of petrol, the same petrol coming from oil companies that can’t even control a broken digging platform after a month and a half ? The news are talking about 12,000 to 19,000 gallons being released everyday in the Gulf of Mexico. The american are very angry. Most of them want to boycott BP. Why only BP ? Do you really think the other companies are any better ? Boycott petrol altogether ! Say no to plastic bags ! Get a green car ! Install solar panels ! Enough of these technologies we cannot control ! We can make a better world by consuming less and living more. Get outside ! This Saturday, go walking instead of spending the afternoon in a crowded mall or in front of your tv ! You will get much more life from being outside in the nature than from any stuff you will ever buy.


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