Let’s Talk Trash: Cabin fever to cabin clearing

Does this time of social limitation and constricted movement around the globe have you reevaluating some parts of your life?

Fewer distractions means more naval gazing, and you might just have noticed some belly lint. Rather than bringing in more stuff to our lives, this can be a time to assess what we already have.

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While you may not affiliate with a label such as hoarder or minimalist, we are all relating to the stuff in our lives at some point in the spectrum between these two extremes. In the absence of friends coming over for visits or vacations to plan for, we may find ourselves occupying our time shopping online or, instead, clearing our closets.

Well-crafted holiday campaigns are angling for our attention this season, promising comfort, peace and even happiness. We all know deep down that the high of a new purchase is fleeting, though, and we may even be finding ourselves literally tripping over what we already have.

With fewer outlets to release the old and more time at home in witness of our abundance, we may be thinking: “Enough is enough.”

Surfing this second wave of social isolation does not have to involve surfing online shopping sites. While potentially uncomfortable at first, opening chaotic cupboards, garages and attics, the process of evaluating, fixing, organizing and releasing possessions can be deeply rewarding.

If inspired to dive in, take declutter master Marie Kondo’s approach to items in your home, asking the question: “What sparks joy?”

Another useful tool is to put a box in every room that you toss anything into you haven’t used for a year. Some would even say three months. The box takes the pressure off the seeming magnitude of the task, freeing us to pick away at sorting for 15 minutes here and there. Slowly and steadily, you’ll find a spaciousness returning to your life and home.

Local resilience. Sharing economy. Building back better. These are all popular concepts weaving into conversations, and all point to a renewing of values that used to be a way of life. As we release the excess from our lives, we can feed resources back into our community through donations, giveaways, free boxes, and trading and selling online.

When the inevitable urge or need to bring new into our lives arises, we can focus on local and lightly used items circulating from everyone’s crafting or deep fall house cleans.

We’re in the face of a perfect opportunity to ask whether we possess our things or they possess us. What really holds lasting meaning? What feelings are we looking to create through our purchases? How can releasing items in our lives generate some of those same feelings?

By sharing with our community, we create ties that bind. Fixing something broken rather than throwing it away builds confidence. Buying secondhand delights our inner Scrooge. Opening a well organized drawer calms the chaos in our busy minds.

Let’s turn our cabin fever into satisfying cabin clearing.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program. For more information, email info@LetsTalkTrash.ca or go to LetsTalkTrash.ca.

 
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