Sunday, November 14, 2010
Yesterday we had a family affair adventure in organizing, which was probably more like a horrendous nightmare for my children: Cleaning out our garage! We did it in true "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" style--the entire contents came out, in the front yard, the driveway, the porch.... Sort, sift, purge, organize ~ for nearly 8 hours yesterday, we cleaned the garage!
(As an "after the fact" thought, I realized we should have done the "before, during, and after" pictures to immortalize the transformation.)
Aside from cheerleading my kids through the process, I found myself thinking a lot about Annie Leonard and The Story of Stuff. It's amazing how much "stuff" four people can amass! We had a lot of stuff! Yes, some of it is holiday decorations, some outgrown clothes, some camping gear which only gets used occasionally, tools & workbench fillers...those are the things you expect in a garage.
But there sure was a whole lot of other "stuff" too. The container of cords that go to heaven-knows-what, like the one Annie Leonard mentioned in http://storyofstuff.org/electronics/. Broken toys & goofy li'l Happy Meal Toys in need of being tossed (in the recycling, I'll have you know!). The lamp that no longer goes with this decor (in the car for the GoodWill). The car seat that has been too little for too many years (again, another for the donation pile). All that "stuff" that we just had to have at one time our another...which was now in boxes and tossed aside in our garage. Stuff, stuff, stuff....that at one time we couldn't live without, and now we can't wait to get rid of it.
It also got me thinking of the TEDx Great Pacific Garbage Patch Webcast last weekend. Particularly Van Jones and how he referred to "us" as a society that values disposability. Our throw-away society has 5% of the population, yet we create 25% of the greenhouse gases & have 25% of the world's criminals in jails. Factories that create (and others that destroy), plastic products do so in neighborhoods where the poorest of our people live, and the toxins from those products do the most harm to the people our society places the least value on. Disposable.
* Heavy sigh!*
Back to my garage.... I go in there and I feel peaceful now, looking at the organized shelves, not seeing the chaos of 48 hours ago. I also feel good knowing that I've got my electronics ready to be sent off to the e-waste center, my outgrown clothes ready to be donated, and my recycling ready to be taken out. It's my hope that the lessons from TEDx & Story of Stuff stay strong in my mind so that we don't find ourselves here--garage items on the lawn--once again.