Boxes Little Boxes

Hey!

I my quest to go through all my stored clutter “One box at a time” I have a new approach to try. I want to get away from the stacks of cardboard boxes. I would like to start using plastic bins and crates.

This idea is many-fold. One, cardboard deteriorates and gives off paper dust into the air which does not help for a healthy environment. This deterioration also means that the boxes collapse and do a poorer and poorer job at protecting their contents. The cardboard boxes also add to a more cluttered appearance. The plastic bins will also with luck protect what I value, but need still to store.

The very action of switching over a box at a time from cardboard to plastic gives me a chance to go through all of my possessions and hard as it is, perhaps get rid of some — whether by donation, selling, recycling, reusing… using or trashing. With luck I can reduce the space taken and number of containers. Optimistically perhaps by 2:1 cutting 2 cardboard boxes down to 1 plastic bin of comparable size — and perhaps the plastic bins will take less room. Pessimistically perhaps it will only be 1:1 meaning 1 cardboard box goes into 1 plastic bin. But I will have checked on what I own and things will be in better order.

I do believe it will be closer to 2:1 —  maybe 4:3? I hope that at least I’ll be able to control where things are and know where they are.

But it will have to be one box at a time… or two, hoping to cut them down to one.

Ahhh, but where can I get very inexpensive bins? They need to be sturdy, protective, and I need to be able to count on getting more of them as I progress because I want to be able to stack them. I rather like the sort with the interlocking lids which are hinged so that you open them without removing the lids. But I suspect they cost a lot. I am using a lot of bankers’ boxes… you know the folding file boxes that offices use as well as a certain number of moving boxes.

I want to make a start by collecting all of my tools into one bin. I want to put hobby supplies into another one or two. Then I want to keep those bins in an easily accessed location. Another bin or two will be used for storing out of season clothing, linens, and fabric.

So, do you have any ideas?

Advertisements

A Few Days Late for Earth Day

Why Earth Day’s Important

I think that Earth Day is important the same way Hugs are important.

We love our loved ones all the time and do things for them – or should – through out our lives and days, but it is important to every once in a while to give a hug or something like that to let them know in a special way, like a punctuation mark. Earth Day is like that punctuation mark that ends the sentence saying “I care about the world I live in.” Rather nice that a period is nice and round at that.

I try to do what I can for the environment. Though some things are selfish. I love my reusable grocery bags made from recycled material. They give a greater sense of security to me for getting my groceries home. They also advertise that I am doing something – even if they advertise the store too…

I also pool with my parents to travel to the grocery store. Dad drives… still a convenience for me… I stopped driving my own car five years ago because it didn’t make sense for the few trips a month I made. I take public transit or walk normally. Groceries are a pain though. I do love my disability-annual-bus pass, so it is not so painful.

I do use “green” paper products for toilet paper, recycled paper products made with not quites so harmful processes, and It takes me two or three months to go through a roll of paper towels. I use reusable cellulose and use cloth dish towels…

I think my refuse is at about 1/3 trash 2/3 recycle and I put out a small-medium can once a month whether I need to or not. Of course I am single – that already reduces how much I would put out in any case.

There are still things that I do that could be improved: I still use more water than I should. I like to let the water run while I brush my teeth for instance. I also wash my one or two dishes under running water.

Some day I would like to own a “packed earth” home heated and cooled by a ground look heat pump. I would also like to have the hot water heat supplemented by solar water heating panels on the roof, unless solar electric ones are a better option. If I can afford a place in the country I wouldn’t mind dabbling with wind and water power as well.

I do think as well as many things… we do also have to be careful of cluttering the Earth. Something else that people do not consider with “Power” and “Energy” is that even “pollution free” energy solutions often do create “energy pollution”. The big one is heat being added to the environment where it doesn’t belong. Even a hydrogen fuel cell which creates steam or water vapour as its exhaust, also is creating heat. After all it is steam coming out. Electric motors get hot. Cities generate their own micro-climate which is measurably warmer than the surrounding countryside – and it isn’t just a matter of CO₂ contributions. The main consideration, for even if we went agrarian, would be population limits.

I think though it is a time to think, give the planet a hug and try to do something to improve and try to avoid something that harms.

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Something Ajar

This door’s not ajar, that jar is a jar!

Well, actually I was cleaning a jar to recycle today and noticed how it has changed from one I had stored some candy canes in for the holidays… two years ago. It got me thinking and wanting to keep the new jar as it would hold more things in the same amount of space with a large mouthed lid. But then I thought… do I really need to keep any more jars. It isn’t like it is even a “collector” jar or anything. I do have a couple pickle jars that are very decorative with a pattern that completely covers the outside. I use one to keep my Sugar Twin packets in and the other to keep my single serving iced tea packets in. They actually don’t look bad at all and much better than the boxes. I can also keep them on counter or table and they look decent for company. The jar also protects the Sugar Twin packets from moisture.

It got me to thinking — a dangerous thing — if I really want a special jar, rather than keeping mediocre jars from going into the recycling bin, I could shop for products specifically for the container, or purchase containers that are neat.

BTW I’m recycling the jar… I am considering the lid…

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse

Three “R”s to Decluttering…..

For me it is very difficult to get rid of things. It is virtually impossible to throw things out, but I have found that those “Three ‘R’s of Recycling” to be very helpful!

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. Recycle

I have applied these to my problem of “compulsive hoarding”… or is that “obsessive hoarding”? I always forget… anyhow, I apply them to my hoarding problem.

First, I “REDUCE”:

I am very careful not to take in anything that is not necessary. One of the early steps I took was not to take any physical Newspaper. That means I won’t subscribe to either of our daily papers no matter how much I love to read them. I simply found that I had problems getting rid of the papers. There were many reasons including being worried that I might have missed an article or coupon. Even with the option to recycle newspapers it was nearly impossible to keep up. I will admit that it is far far easier for me to “recycle” than “throw out”, but I’ll get back to that. I found that I can not even take in the weekly, biweekly, or tri-weekly papers – even just the fliers or catalogues. I just can not bear to get rid of the ads… So I do not take them in and instead I take advantage of services like Google’s News search service which will scan the net for local news of interest to me and to be able to scan fliers online. …I just have to make sure not to download, print or otherwise save the electronic fliers.

That is one area of reducing. I also make sure I don’t start buying any collectible items. I know I will want the whole set and will be unable to part with a single, even broken or duplicated item. That includes the wee toys you might get free in cereal boxes.

Second I “REUSE”:

If I do find I simply must buy something neat or keep something that might not seem of value. I realize now that I simply must find a use for it. For instance. I was keeping those very large spaghetti sauce jars. They are the large ones — the 4 litre/4 quart glass ones that you really can’t find now — that have been replaced by plastic. I find they are so very… hard for me to part with especially now that I can’t find sauce or other products sold in them. For a long time I used them for “bug proof” rice storage. I bought the large sacks of rice as a way to economize for a while, but with living in older basement suites… well bug proof was important. Anyway the rice storage was a way to “reuse” the bottles. I also used them for iced tea and for juice in the fridge. Their biggest flaw was the metal lids with the very thin plastic lining. They really weren’t intended for long time reuse. I’d love to find a source for more reusable lids for them.

I have found that since that time I can not use so much white rice. My blood sugar can not handle the refined starch in the white processed rice. This summer, I shall figure out something for iced tea and Koolaid. I make it myself and add my own diabetic friendly sweetener — sometimes very little sweetener at that. However, I have taken to reusing the jars now for things like…

  • My marble collection
  • My dice collection
  • My plastic toy collection — like the little things you get in Kinder Eggs and cereal boxes

Third I “RECYCLE”:

This might seem a “no brainer”. Perhaps it is, but before easy recycling I had very difficult problems getting rid of things that “should” be reusable or recyclable. I mean metal, plastic, glass, and that sort of thing were very hard for me to just throw out — unless of course they were soiled so that they were difficult to clean. I guess some of my favourite toys were the broken ones. I also used metal, wood, and plastic bits as accessories to my toys and to help build and fix my toys. It wasn’t that we were really poor, but we didn’t go buying toys all the time and I tended to be happy making do. I guess it led to where I am in other areas too…

I have belonged to, and in my spirit, though I am not currently active, still a member of a medieval recreation society and the keyword to that group is “participation”. Being that medieval gear and equipment just could not easily be purchased, we ended up making and creating our own. Of course with my typical “Church Mouse” budget I would have to often improvise and would use old clothing, blankets, discarded furniture, and drapes for resources to make clothing and items for medieval implements and garb. That is cool… but you end up keeping nearly everything on the hope that you can make use of it and not toss something that would be of value and use to you in your hobby — especially when you have seen others using such things in their own equipment. Part of what I am going to be getting rid of now are things I have saved to use for that hobby. I know I will be able to purchase or otherwise find for nearly nothing the equivalent or better.

It would have been difficult to get rid of that stuff other than now knowing I can recycle the materials.

Recycling and reducing are probably the more important to me as I have too much stuff at the moment. I imagine selling and donating are as important or more important than the recycling bin to me. Or for that matter finding friends and family who could actually use the things I do not have a need for and do not have room for.

I guess “3 R’s” sound better than “3 R’s, S, D, & G”  (Sell, Donate, & Gift)

~ Dusty
D Cluttermouse.