We all have a habit of collecting things. Things which we think we will use in the near future, things we like, things we think will be useful to someone in the family and things in general. If you are living in a rented home and you move, that is when you realise the amount of clutter that we have gathered over the months or years even!
Some of us declutter when we move home, others just carry on gathering more stuff and finding a place for them in the new home too.
What is the solution for this?
I would go refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle – refuse to buy things I don’t need, reduce my shopping and narrow it down to what is absolutely required, reuse whatever I can and recycle the rest. There should be a friendly way of recycling. In India, unlike western countries, we do not have a recycling system where we can recycle most of what we use and compost the rest and very little goes into the bin. Countries like Sweden even use the waste that goes into the non-recyclable bin and get power out of it.
But if we look around and work a bit efficiently we can reduce our waste too. At this stage of the internet boom, almost all countries have freecycle. India too has freecycle India and have groups in different cities. But fewer people use them. When analysed I can see a few different reasons. But before we go into that in detail let us see what is freecycle.
What is Freecycle?
Freecycle is about decluttering and keeping the good things off the landfill and also giving the good things away to people that will use it. All this is for free! Once you start doing it, you will be amazed at how many things you can get rid off and how many people are happy to take things off you and put it to proper use. I believe this is like Christmas and being Santa every time I use it!
How does freecycle work?
A group of a few good people start a network in the city they live. Basically, this network works on emails. A person interested in freecycling joins the group and gets mail every day on what someone has to offer or what someone wants. If what you want is on offer then you can send a mail to the person and get their details and more info on how good the object is and you can collect it from them free, and if you have something that you don’t use and someone else wants that you can get in touch with that person and give it away! What a nice way to reduce clutter!
If you are wondering what can we offer or what we can get on freecycle, well anything from posters and coffee mugs to washing machines and sofa has been on offer and I myself have given away a desktop computer and got a couple of folding beds on freecycle in Chennai. I have also given away baby stuff like slings, bottles, etc.
There are nineteen freecycle groups in India in different cities and if you do not have one in your city, and if you have like-minded people, you can start one.
There are new groups like trashnothing that have come up after freecycle too and the concept is the same! Trashnothing is operating in 8 cities in India.
One can join the freecycle network and on yahoo groups too.
Now a quick look at why freecycle is not that big in India and what we can do to make it work!
- Many of us believe in the superstition that we should not give away stuff.
- We do our own freecycling – we give away clothes to people that need them around us. Many of us have grown up on hand me downs! And people that work for us get used clothes from us too.
- We have the guys who come and buy old newspapers, bottles, plastic and anything broken from us.
- We keep holding on to things thinking someone in the family or extended family might use them.
- We hesitate to use second-hand stuff.
Now it is time to think…
- It is easier not to add clutter by not buying things we don’t need in the first place.
- Do regular cleaning once in three months. Anything that hasn’t been used in say a year or two should be given away. That old cardboard box, or a suitcase from fifteen years ago, which is just sitting in the shelf because you do not have a mind to throw it for example, give that thing away now!
- Any books and toys that the children at home use, if they have outgrown it and you know for sure it is just going to sit there, then give it away, there are many people that need good books and have no money to spend on them.
- If you are in need of something and if you can find it on freecycle, then go for it rather than buy new ones, and once your need is over you can put it back on freecycle again and it will be of use to someone else!
Now go on, join freecycle and make the world a better place for yourself and everyone around you!
https://www.freecycle.org/ – you can search for freecycle in
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mumbaifreecycle/info?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=1 – Mumbai freecycle on yahoo groups.