Apr 10 2011

trash or treasure? [day 319]

There’s a lot of stuff that might be considered trash, but before you throw something away, think about the possible uses for it.  These are partially full cleaning supplies and pesticides, well, there’s also a random bottle of unopened champagne too.  Just because it’s half empty (or half full, depending on your perspective) and you don’t want it, dosen’t mean someone else can’t use it.  I list this on freecycle and it was gone in a matter of hours.  Yes, it’s my waste, but it doesn’t need to end up in a landfill or disposal center.

Before you throw things away, here’s some things to think about.

  • Repurpose. Could I repurpose this for something else?
  • Sell. Is this something that I could sell?
  • Give. Is this something I could give away?  Do I know anyone who might use this or need this?  Will a thrift store take it?  Remember, your trash might be some else’s treasure.  Put it on freecycle.  If it doesn’t go on freecycle, it might just be trash.
  • Green. What is the best environmental way to get rid of this item?  Can it be recycled?
  • Good. Is there a way to use this to bless someone else?  Can you give it to a fundraiser or charity?
  • Plan. Why did you buy this in the first place?  Have you made a plan not to buy it, or anything similar again?
  • Repurchase. If you need this item or something similar in the future, is there a smaller size or is it something you can borrow?

Yes, this is a lot to think about each time you plan to get rid of something, but if you start doing this, it will change your habits.  It will be easier to get rid of things because you will have a process and your shopping habits will change, as you will think long-term about something before you buy it.  It’s a win-win.  :)


Apr 8 2011

sharing your stuff [day 317]

I love actsofsharing.com, where you can share all your stuff with your friends.  I’ve been using this quite a bit and I think it’s great for many reasons, one of them being the organization of sharing.  How many times have you gone to lend a book or a movie to a friend, only to realize that you lent it out a while back, but you can’t remember who you lent it to?  I do that all the time.  My neighbor asked for her movie back about a week ago.  I had it, for about a year, and I had no recollection of borrowing it.

I decided if this sharing thing is going to be part of our lives, we need to have an organized system of borrowing and lending.  I decided to set up a bin for all of the small things like books and movies.  This way, I can keep up with the borrowed stuff and I have a place to make a pile of my “stuff to lend”.  This way I won’t lose anything by keeping it all in one place.

We have an Ikea plastic bin in the living room to keep everything in.  So far the system is working well.  More intentional sharing means saving money, owning less stuff and building more community.  Gotta love it.


Mar 17 2011

transfer of time, from shopping to sharing [day 294]

We’re taught from little on that we should always share.  As we get a little older, we have our own stuff, but we’re still told to share on occasion.  Then we hit our teens.  I don’t think anyone told me I should share anymore at that age.  We start backing off the sharing.  Then as an adult, I guess we’re not really expected to share, although if an opportunity arises, most of the time, we will share.  If we need something, we usually just go out and buy it, resulting in ownership of a lot of stuff.  Stuff that costs money, stuff that uses resources and stuff we simply don’t need.  What if we transferred shopping time into sharing time?  What if we started to share again?

So what is sharing?

share [shair]

— n

1. a part or portion of something owned, allotted to, or contributed by a person or group

— vb  (often foll by out ) (when intr, often foll by  in )

1. to divide or apportion, esp equally

2. to join with another or others in the use of (something): can I share your umbrella?

We all have things sitting around our house that we don’t use regularly.  A few days ago, I used a drill as an example.  Could we lend our drill to a friend?  If you need a hole and you don’t have a drill, could you borrow one?  Let’s do a little exercise.

Think of 3 things you have sitting around your house, not being used or used rarely.

~

Would you be willing to lend these items to someone you know?

If you’re like me, you probably thought of more than 3 items.  What would it look like for you to lend these things out?  With current technology, this is not only possible, it’s easy.  You won’t have to wonder who you lent that book to anymore either.  You can sign up on actsofsharing.com to borrow and lend with only your friends.  Not only will it track your items, but it will also calculate how much you have saved by borrowing, how much you’ve saved your friends by lending them things and tells you how many items in total your friends have listed.  Continue reading


Mar 14 2011

the new sharing economy [day 291]

Do you share your stuff?  If you need a drill, do you go out and buy one or do you try to borrow one?  I mean, you just need a hole, right?  I own a drill.  My dad gave me a new DeWalt drill about 10 years ago, but that one got lost on a mission trip.  I never found it, although another older drill with a chuck key showed up unclaimed.  I took it, so that’s why I have a drill now.  I don’t really need one though.

So why don’t I need one?  Doesn’t everyone have a drill in their garage?  Let’s look at the logic.  I need a few holes, so I use the drill for approximately 4-8 minutes in a years time.  Maybe a little bit more if I have some home projects.  I could borrow one from a friend.  I could rent one when I’m doing projects.  I could share a drill.  Yes, I said share.  I could co-own a drill with some friends or I could use a sharing service.  This is really a great and upward trending process.

First, there’s itizen.com.  You can print QR codes for all of your things in order to tell stories about them, to share them and to track the life of them.  Here’s a blurb from itizen’s site:

Why we do what we do.
We want to celebrate the cool things around us — period. We are inspired by the artists, makers, and retailers who provide us with these wonderful things, and we are fascinated by how storytelling can give these things meaning and purpose. Most important, we are passionate about supporting a culture of giving and sharing that allows others to benefit from these things and share in the joy.

If you don’t have a QR code reader, there’s lots of free apps out there that can be downloaded.  You can scan it and it will bring up the info right away.  The code to the left is a legitimate code for something I’m getting rid of.  Take a look and see if you want the item.  😉

I’m really liking this concept of sharing and swapping.  I’m still researching this whole thing, but I see so many benefits.

Cost savings: Not only does it save you money buying things, but also saves money on the maintenance and storage of these things.

Environmentally friendly: Reducing consumption means less production and fewer resources used.

Manufacturer behavior change: Manufacturers will start to make products based on consumer demand.  If we want to share quality products, but we’re buying less of them, manufacturers will start making more quality items and with the needed features we desire.

Less clutter: Less stuff is less stress and less to clean.  It’s also easier to find the things you do have.

Builds community: Sharing with friends, and even people you don’t know yet if you choose to do that, is a great way to build community, especially among neighbors.  In this day and age, at least where I live, knowing your neighbors is not the norm.  My neighbors let me borrow stuff all the time, and if they need something, they ask.

Helps eliminate poverty: This process can help eliminate poverty by lowering the cost of living.  If I don’t need to buy as much and I can share with others, I can live on less.

Job shifts: Jobs become more service oriented.  This is due to a shift from consuming stuff to being consumers of services.

We are on the front end of a wonderful trend that will change the way the world functions, utilizing technology to change our distribution systems, creating a community of sharing that will better our lives.  I’m still doing a lot of homework on this, but I will be posting more on it soon.  Sharing is an old concept, but it’s finding a new life through social media.

I just bought a used iPad from a friend of mine who’s upgrading.  I’ve decided to share my iPad.  I will be using a service such as snapgoods.com or I might do a co-ownership of it.  If this intrigues you in any way, let me know your thoughts.

Would you share something you paid a lot of money for, but something that sits unused for large periods of time?


Jun 12 2010

sports, borrowing & recycling [day 15 & 16]

I’m going to play racquetball this morning, and I just realized I’m down to one ball.  Last time I played, the ball split in half.  Now I’m quite sure this is not attributed to my incredible upper body strength, but because I left the ball in the excessive heat inside my car.  These little rubber balls only last a few months at best when you play frequently.  So.  Racquetballs are not groceries, nor are they toiletries.  I can’t buy any, and the chances of finding any at a thrift store is slim to none.  I cannot expect my racquetball partner to buy them just because I won’t.  But I did come up with a solution.  When my last ball ends up dying the same death as the previous one, the rec center lends racquets and balls, so I will use theirs.  The availability of those to be borrowed are included in my monthly gym fees.

Again, not really much else to report on the shopping front.  Right now, I’m not missing it, although at some point I’m sure I will.

Also, a quick update on the recycling program.  [day 14] I have received some emails about that being unethical and it has stirred up some controversy.   I am planning a personal field trip to the Frisco recycling center.  If indeed my plan is not right, I will modify it.  If you have thoughts on any of my ideas, tactics or implemented plans, good or bad, feel free to comment on my blog.  The people that sent the emails have good points and I do take them into consideration.  More later, off to play racquetball.  :)


May 31 2010

mexico [day 3 & 4]

I’m leaving Mexico right now and what an incredible weekend.  Going to Casa Hogar Elim (and surrounding areas this time) is always incredible and I never want to leave.  Being there sheds a whole new light, well, maybe not new, but a recent light on the challenge.

I really don’t struggle with any desire to shop while in Mexico unless it’s something for the orphanage or food from the Sorriana.  I didn’t do any shopping, nor did I have a desire to.  I decided to help the ‘guys’ with the construction projects, as that’s more up my alley than cooking or shopping anyway.

Now I have as many power tools, if not more than the average guy, but I have to admit, I had some power tool envy going on.  I happened to mention that to a few of the guys, and counting the days until I could buy tools.  Finally, one of them asked, “If you’re counting down the days until you can buy stuff, why are you doing this challenge?”  I pondered that for a bit and after a period of time, I now have even more reasons for doing this and an added perspective on it.

Here’s an example of the positive change the challenge provides.  Without the challenge, I would have probably bought a grinder.  Could I use a grinder?  Yes, I actually have many uses for it.  Do I want a grinder?  Yes, I do and I have for a while.  Do I need a grinder?  No.  This challenge will not only save me money (which is not at all my intended purpose), but it will make me really think about want versus need and I will accomplish not collecting more stuff.

The second thing I thought about is the ‘new way of living in community’.  I already do this some, but now I want to be more intentional about it.  If I need to use a grinder for anything, I can borrow one.  If someone needs something I have, I can share as well.  What would it look like if we all did that?  And did it all of the time, before we ever considered going shopping and making a purchase of any kind?  I have all the tiling tools available to mankind and I frequently lend them to people so they can do work themselves and they don’t have to buy tools that would sit in the garage for years between uses, provided the tools ever get used a second time.  Bartering and sharing should be a way of life for everyone.  It would eliminate waste in most cases, saving money for things we really need and in the process, building community and building friendships.

 

Going back ‘home’ to my fancy 1780 square foot castle with indoor plumbing, electricity and beautiful furnishings, tightly nestled in among other castles with towering fences to protect our privacy… well you get the picture.  This is not easy.  I feel more comfortable in Mexico in areas where there’s no plumbing or electricity.  A place where it is dangerous to go at night, where gangs steal things and sexually assault women and kids.  A place where a home is made from leftover plywood scraps and maybe some old mattress springs.  A place where pure beauty exists.  A place where you are family even if you don’t speak the language. A place where you are welcomed and accepted.  A place where you could stay if you had no other place to go.

So you might be asking the question, “What’s so beautiful about a dangerous place with no modern conveniences, built out of junk with a few nice inhabitants?”  Simple.  It’s the people.  The people are beautiful, and a village built out of what we (in America) might consider trash, to me, is a very attractive representation of God’s love and my family through Christ.

How could you leave a place like that and want to go home, much less go shopping?