Feng Shui, Sustainability and the After Christmas Blues
The presents are open,
The gifts are unwrapped,
Oh goodness gracious,
Whadda we do with this, uh, stuff?
Don’t look now, but the buying frenzy has just begun. As someone who was named in honor of the season, my home is filled with remembrances of Christmases and after-Christmas sales past. Now, trying to inform my living from a vantage point of sustainability, I offer three new R’s:
Re-gift, Recycle, Redistribute
The First Rule is: Do not keep that which you do not want, that which makes you want to be sick, or that to which you are allergic. This is not about hurting anyone’s feelings. If the gift really was meant for you – to make you happy – it is yours to do with as you wish. If the gift was given to assuage the guilt of someone else who really never had your interests in mind, all the more reason to not let it take residence in your home.
My favorite example along these lines, and, I’m not making this up, came from a certain female relative who said, who really, really uttered these words: “Why did I buy this? I don’t need this. I’ll send it to Carol. She won’t want it.” And she did. And I didn’t. Time was when I would have held onto it for a while. Not now. Now it goes directly to someone might really really want it, or it goes in the box headed for Good Will, or if even Good Will will be stymied by its lack of value, I try dismantling it into its recyclable parts and making it part of my single stream exit strategy.
The Second Rule is: At least as much as comes in must go out. I’m talking everything – the packaging and wrapping as well as the gifts. Do not allow those certain someones in your household, who, in the zeal of “cleaning up” shoves “all the mess” into a big plastic garbage bag, to do their usual thing. Because there’s more mess than usual is no excuse for reverting to Neanderthal waste disposal. Recycle the paper and the cardboard. Do not send recyclables to a landfill or incineration. Really, you know better.
Now, for every gift you decide to accept, look around your home, under your bed, in your closets, in the basement and attic, for any item for which you no longer feel affection or need. Put such items into the designed re-gift, donate or recycle zones. In so doing, you can help free the chi stagnating in your stuff. Even without a feng shui consultant, observing this practice will make you feel better. I promise.
The Third Rule is: Face the Difficult. For many, the difficult may be a matter of “I know I should like this thing, but I really really don’t.” Because on a rare occasion, I have gotten rid of something irreplaceable that I have later regretted, I offer this solution. Put it in a box. Label the box with today’s date. Hide it. When you next come across it, you can re-evaluate it, re-date it or say goodbye. For almost all of us, the difficult is broken or unwanted electronics. We know better than to toss these toxin-laden trinkets into the trash. And so, we accumulate. Cell phones. Game consoles. Obsolete computers. Yesterday’s tablets.
So, here is where it’s going to take real effort on your part. Begin today, to explore what it would mean for your company or organization to hold a collection event to get all the unwanted electronics out of your home (and the homes of your colleagues). If you don’t know where to start, drop me a line at email@example.com. While they clutter your closets, they could be on their way to helping other people.
Follow these three steps on you’ll be on your way to remedying the After Christmas Blues. Happy Holidays to one and all.