It’s been a busy year of going places, enjoying activities, and accumulating stuff. Now that Labor Day has come and gone, it’s time to shift gears and start thinking about what to do about the extra stuff.
I’m all about thrift stores. I like hunting for unique items. I like donating and re-donating. The day after Labor Day is the day to take an objective look at the things that have become excess baggage. I have cardboard boxes and plastic bags ready to go. Plus, old newspapers are nearby to wrap around the fragile items.
This annual habit was passed along to me by a next door neighbor family a couple of decades ago. They assessed accumulated clutter, then gathered it and prepared it for their annual September garage sale. What didn’t sell, was donated to charity.
Garage sales are too much bother for me, so I end up loading the trunk of the ol’ Camry with stuff and unloading it at the thrift store. It’s easy, fast, and a good way to avoid procrastinating over scheduling a garage sale. Some people, like my neighbors, love to host garage sales as constructive family projects or social events. Power to them. The main idea is to get rid of extra stuff and put it into circulation again.
The urge to put off the recycle day swept over me last week when I noticed that Target had marked down the prices of plastic storage tubs. I was tempted to buy a few to use to stash stuff in the basement. Thankfully, I remembered my vow to get rid of the storage “totes” full of stuff already in the basement. Going through what I already have is a priority.
It’s also a socially responsible act. Employees and volunteers at thrift stores and recycling centers are needed and trained. The strain on community landfills is decreased. Best of all, are the environmental benefits when we reuse and recycle.
Reuse and recycling are not only ethical practices, they are economically valuable. There are now some billion-dollar corporations that are based entirely on recycling. Reuse and recycling industries promise to be major players in our national and global economies of the future.
These are some of the thoughts that inspire me to continue the tradition of actively observing my personal reuse day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild. “People who volunteer at the recycling center or soup kitchen through a church or neighborhood group can come to feel part of something larger. Such a sense of belonging calls on a different part of a self than the market calls on. The market calls on our sense of self-interest. It focuses us on what we get.”