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January 1, 2011 / Robert Ross

a simple resolution

As 2010 ended, I felt overwhelmed by the volume of “stuff” oozing out of every corner of the house! Not only was the basement in a total state of upheaval from digging out the annual holiday extravaganza, this year it was amplified by the installation of a new HVAC system for the kids level or the house the second week of December. This installation also included the reworking of duct work in the basement to make it more reliably comfortable. This meant that we lost a storage closet upstairs, and everything that was stored downstairs had to be shuffled to give the workers access.

Therefore, after several years of avoiding New Year’s resolutions, the universe compelled me to make one for the coming year.

More with Less!

Sounds simple doesn’t it? A lot of us have already made significant revisions to our household and business budgets based on current economic realities. It ties in nicely with the “Green Revolution”.  It fits in well with the  teachings of all the major religious groups. A no-brainer you might say.  But is it really?

I recently read an article based on the astounding fact that though we’ve made incredible gains in the efficiency of the electronics and appliance industry over the past 30 years, those gains have been offset by an increased per capita usage. In other words, we’re consuming less per item, but we have more items that require power! We are living in an electronic age. Count the number of power strips actively in use around your home….I dare you! Now count the number of empty outlets left in those power strips. Now turn out the lights and walk through your house and count all the little LED light displays. Astounding isn’t it!

One of my pet peeves is the amount of packaging that surrounds everything we buy.  It seems silly to be asked if you prefer paper or plastic, when everything you buy is wrapped in multiple layers of the stuff! I’m sure this is echoed by any parent who has opened a child’s toy. According to a recent letter to the editor of the New York Times –

Packaging waste represents one-third of all trash, costing local governments billions of dollars each year in disposal costs.

While it doesn’t seem that an individual can do much to effect this we can consciously choose to buy items with less packaging. Or when considering a gift, consider a gift of time . Nothing is more personal.

While I don’t think we are quite ready to qualify for an episode of Hoarders, there are several initial preventive measures I can think of to put this resolution in motion!

  • spend more quality time with loved ones without electronic      distractions, create opportunities to transform everyday occurrences into events
  • clean out those corners, cabinets and storage closets, disposing of unwanted items by recycling or passing along to those who might be able to use them or, if the mood strikes, have a yard sale!
  • make a real effort to use up all before buying more. I have a big drawer full of candles – many of them older than my children!
  • wage war on Vampire power! inventory and evaluate all plugged in electronic devices, purging or unplugging those not necessary
  • Eliminate space holders – shred all of those papers taking up shelf space that are not necessary
  • look for more environmentally responsible gift presentations! Nothing says Happy Birthday like a gift wrapped in $5 worth of  paper and ribbon with a $3.50 card!
  • go through the clothes closets and storage bins and get rid of everything that doesn’t fit or hasn’t been worn in 2 years!
  • buy LED replacement bulbs – only after we’ve used up all of the other bulbs. Not only will the bulbs get better, but the price should come down.
  • turn the thermostats down 2 degrees, we tend to be too comfortable and cooler temperatures are great for cuddling
  • pay attention to the little things – be prepared to be amazed and surprised!

I anticipate that not only will the house seem larger (and cleaner!), but we should enjoy a richer and more meaningful life! All in favor?

Happy 2011!



Leave a Comment
  1. jeff / Jan 2 2011 7:51 am

    Amen, Robert ! It’s amazing what we no longer need. and Vampire power sucks !

  2. Malvina Kesterson / Jan 9 2011 1:45 am

    Thanks a lot for the post, I actually learned something from it. Super good content on this website. Always looking forward to new entry.

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