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Lifestyle Environmental Reasons to GET ORGANIZED!

By Diane Luck

Most people understand that an organized home or office is more efficient and looks nicer, but have you ever thought of getting organized as a way to live a “greener” life? Here are some facts that may surprise you. Each US citizen consumes twice his or her weight in “stuff ” (fuels, minerals, wood products, metals, agricultural raw materials, etc.) per day - around 400 lbs. per person. Representing 4% of world’s population, we use one-third of all materials consumed on earth. Every product we purchase requires on average 30 times its weight in materials to make, package and ship. Dividing the earth’s productive land by the world’s population of just over 6 billion, there are approximately 4.5 acres of land available to meet each person’s consumption needs. Global per capita consumption is about 5.1 acres per person. In the US, per capita consumption demands 23.7 acres of productive space. Paper production is responsible for 20% of the world’s deforestation. It takes 3.5 lbs. of wood to create 1lb. of paper. Per person municipal waste in the US per year is1800 lbs. The good news is that our volume of consumption and waste presents a tremendous opportunity to make a meaningful positive impact on the environment by creating a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle. And in the process, we reap the additional benefits of a more organized life. Read on to learn how you can be an environmental activist by getting the clutter out of your life.

Go Paperless: Going paperless saves time, money and resources. Record storage is easier, safer and faster to retrieve. Begin the process by changing over to online banking and paperless billing. Reduce the amount of paper that comes into your house in 18

the first place by getting off junk mail lists. Two resources for reducing junk mail are:

Reduce and Recycle Room by room; create a calm, peaceful, simple space by taking out what you don’t need. Give away or recycle anything that is not essential to your well-being. Make each space “your ideal environment”, keeping only things that have a function for you or bring you joy. It may be hard to part with some items, but keep the goal of simplicity in the forefront of your mind and it may not be as hard as you might imagine.

Buy only what you need: Once you have downsized and created your optimal environment, the challenge is to keep it that way. A good way to preserve your organized environment is “the exchange policy”. If you want to make a purchase, then something in your house has to leave to make space for it. For example, if you see a shirt on sale, do you love it enough to give up a shirt you already own? If not, you don’t have room for it and the new shirt probably won’t improve your life. Save your money and pass on it. Being very conscious about the boundaries of your storage is a great way to keep your possessions in balance and reduce your overall consumption.

Make Room in Your Life Living an organized life means you spend less time looking for your keys, less money buying things you already have but can’t find, and you use fewer resources. It also means you have more time and energy for things that matter to you – family, friends, and community service for instance. Statistics show that you will also be more successful in your career and raise happier children if you are organized.

I Like the Idea Do you like the idea of getting organized but feel a bit

A Practical Journal for Friends of the Environment c d Spring 2011

Green Living Journal PDX Spring #12  

A Practical Journal for Friends of the Environment. Small Houses, National Bike System, Warre Bee Hive, Organic Manifesto, Credit Unions, Bu...

Green Living Journal PDX Spring #12  

A Practical Journal for Friends of the Environment. Small Houses, National Bike System, Warre Bee Hive, Organic Manifesto, Credit Unions, Bu...