24 Apr Mindful Monday | You are not Indiana Jones
“It’s interesting to see that people had so much stuff even thousands of years ago. The only way to get rid of it all was to bury it, and then some archaeologist went and dug it all up.”
Human beings have been obsessed with stuff for eons. Archaeologists are still discovering what our ancestors collected and used. There is no telling how much stuff is left to be found…and how much of it would have been considered clutter then.
Often, I ask clients and readers to focus on the stuff in their homes—what it means and what the story behind it is.
If you have no use for these things, if you haven’t interacted with it and it no longer serves you then the only reason you still have it is the story behind it.
That’s the micro-take on stuff—how it impacts you and those closest to you.
Now let’s look at the macro-take.
Think about your relationship to stuff and the world at large.
If you can’t recycle or donate an item you want to get rid of, it ends up in a landfill. Depending on its material make-up, it may be around for decades, possibly centuries after we’re gone.
According to the EPA, in 2014 the United States generated about 258 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW).
Over 89 million tons of MSW were recycled and composted which means we’re recycling 34.6% of all our trash.
We’ve gotten better about recycling, it’s true but that still leaves over 60% in our landfills.
I’m on the board of Materials for the Arts—an organization that repurposes waste and turns it into art supplies. Like magic.
MFTA has been doing this for almost 40 years, long before it was cool or expected. And we divert over 1 million pounds of trash every year.
Do you have an organization like MFTA in your community? Would you like to?
When you look around your home or office, is what you see so significant that an archeologist 300 years in the future would agree? They might think it novel but is it really representative of our culture? And if so, what is it saying about our culture?
Starting today, when you look at you have AND when you even consider bringing something new into your life, ask yourself if it’s really worth taking up space in your home let alone the landfill that will eventually be its home when it no longer serves you.
I’ll bet you’ll make different choices.