Picara Baby Carriers

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


As we packed for our whirlwind move, I contemplated stuff. Belongings, furniture, food, toys, clothes, stuff. The stuff of life, what things make our homes comfortable, meaningful, individual. I realized that we accumulate a lot of things that don't add to our enjoyment of life. And, since we were being charged by the pound to move, I jettisoned much of the extra. Freecycle, craigslist and the Salvation Army were the happy recipients of most of the unused stuff. But I made one dump run. After pulling out any recyclables, I took a truckload of garden waste and random bits to the local dump. I backed in and started shoveling and as I did I started noticing what else was in the huge two story pile. Furniture, toys, clothes, lawn furniture. So much that could be reclaimed, reused, possibly renewed for someone willing to do the work. It was very sad, but also motivating.
I think about my mark on the planet, how what I do and how I live impacts the lives of people who will live 200 years from now. Especially since I found out that the three people in our house own a collective 9000 pounds of STUFF.

These are the things I am trying to do now:

Buy less. It seems so easy, so simple, but it is incredibly difficult. We already recycle much of our waste, but there is always room for improvement. I want to lower our trash, increase reuse, but our stores seem to thrive on one use items.

Buy used when we do buy. We made a trip to Urban Ore in Berkeley yesterday with our wishlist for the new house. The only thing we found was a set of french cotton placemats and napkins, but hey, for three dollars I was happy. I also found a kitchen set that is small enough to fit in our dining nook (warmer and brighter than the dungeonlike dining area) for only $60 on craigslist. So not only did I buy used, but I also bought from a local person, keeping the money in my community.

I am trying to buy gifts for my family this holiday season that reflect my values. I want the gift to create a memory, not just be a fun piece of plastic that will soon end up in the landfill. I am looking for antique china, interesting kitchen gadgets, old woodworking gadgets, old linens and books. I am also going to give from the Heifer Project this year to those who I think will "get it".

Use the library. Instead of buying books new and adding and adding and adding books I that I might not read again, I'm reserving them from the library. If I check them out often, then I look into buying them.

Walk. We now live in an incredibly walkable town. I gained almost 30 pounds from living where I couldn't walk due to the heat, poor design of the town and my aversion to returning smelling like dairy. Last week I put 5 miles on the truck. Compare that to almost 60 miles a day previously.

Reuse everything. Recycling is great, but it still requires a lot of energy to reclaim whatever material is there. Use something till it is used up, then recycle.

Compost. I'm getting permission from the landlord for my new compost pile. I can't wait to start building the soil here.

Buy from local stores and buy items that are produced locally. This can drastically lower your impact on the earth. Think how meaningful it can be to buy produce from the person who grew it.

I love doing consumer shows simply because it's awesome to see so many people enjoying my products, things that I have made. Even if I don't sew all the stitches anymore, my hands have been on every one of our carriers. That is something meaningful.

OK, so I'm almost unpacked. Wireless internet will be set up on Dec. 1. Fax line back up around Dec. 1. Dare I say it? Almost back to normal. Well, whatever normal is around here.


At 8:54 AM, November 22, 2007, Blogger Becky said...

You make me smile, my earthy-crunchy friend. Which reminds me... I can try Craigslist. I've been freecycling my ass off, but not everything is gone.

At 7:20 PM, December 13, 2007, Blogger Shari said...

We are really trying to cut back too on our carbon footprint. How was your move? Are you all settled in yet.


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