Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Although my goal of simplification is to lighten my load and get rid of the things I don't need, use, or even want dragging me down, I don't want to do so in a way that is wasteful or harmful to the environment. There are lots of ways to get rid of things without thoughtlessly chucking them in the trash.

  1. Sell it: If the item has some value to it, you might be able to sell it.  I've used both eBay and Craigslist to sell things I don't want anymore, and they both have their merits.  eBay reaches a wider (nationwide, and sometimes international) audience, but you have to suffer through the eBay and PayPal fees.  On Craigslist you can state that you accept only cash, but your audience will usually be local, and you should also be careful about how and when you meet people.  Don't put yourself in danger -- meet in public or when someone else is home!
  2. Give it away: If you don't want to go through the hassle of selling something, give it away.  There are lots of ways you can give things away and help your old possessions to find new life, sometimes by helping someone out in the process.  Thrift stores like Goodwill are always an option, and many charities such as shelters for abused women are always happy for donations.  If you don't care about getting a tax credit for the stuff you give away, or if you are offering something that a thrift store or charity might not have a use for (such as non-working electronics that someone else might be able to fix), I really like Freecycle.org, where members can offer unwanted items -- and even better, the person who wants it is responsible for arranging pickup!
  3. Repurpose: Sometimes you can find a new or alternative purpose for something that you would otherwise just be throwing away.  This might not apply if you are trying to declutter, but if you find a way to put something that has just been taking up space to another use, I think that counts as simplification!
  4. Throw away: Some things will just have to be thrown away.  I have no problem with that, especially if they have reached the end of their useful life.  Recycle if you can, pitch it if you can't!

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