Climate Action Challenge: The New Year is a great time to de-clutter

 In Opinion

If you’re anything like me, January makes you feeling all purgey – that’s a new word I just invented. It means wanting to get rid of all the cluttery stuff in your house as quickly as possible. With the December rush now finished, we’re heading into January with a similar mindset. Less buying stuff. More clean living. Less clutter. More connection. Once you get rid of some old junk, you’ll realize how much space you have to breathe easier. And we’re going to help you do it this month. 
Unlike Marie Condo, who asks you to hold each item carefully and see if it “sparks joy,” my approach is “impulsively discard it, before you can regret it.” If I held everything I had to see if it sparked joy, I would have a closet full of clothes for a life that I don’t actually have, and the stuff I need (like my scuzzy painting pants), would be history. So, Marie, you seem like a lovely lady, but, I’m taking a pass on the sparking joy thing. We’re going to look at things a bit differently, and see where we can avoid buying new things, and stay focused on living more authentically.
So hello 2021 – let’s roll up our sleeves and get busy!

Jan. 6: Clean out and delete old email, photos, and documents on all your devices. Storage in the cloud is a massive carbon footprint. We don’t think much about it, but, everything you save gets stored in servers somewhere – they aren’t actually floating around in the ether. And those servers require tons of electricity to power them. And, things are not necessarily safer in the cloud than they are on a dedicated backup drive safely stored in your house.
Jan. 13: If you love to travel, review your travel plans (easy to do as COVID-19 continues to hamper our lives). Commit to reducing your air travel and cruises. Book direct flights. Go less often, or stay longer (good). Go every second or third year (better). Don’t fly (best). It’s apparent that fewer of us moving around the globe has had a positive impact on the environment (airlines feel differently), so let’s try to keep that going, post-COVID.
Jan. 20: Unsubscribe from sites that encourage you to buy things. Block junk mail that advertises sales, or special offers.
Jan. 27: Repair something instead of buying new. If you are handy, you’re pretty lucky. If you live with a handy person, you’re lucky too. If you’re looking for someone to repair stuff for you, you may have more of a challenge. Let’s hope this summer we can coordinate a ‘repair fair’, where you can bring things to have them fixed by someone who knows how, for a modest price (or a donation to the community). 
Carry on your good habits from December where you limited buying things you didn’t need, and focused on things that matter more. Consider all the good you’ve done in the past 10 months of this 52 week challenge. Put your feet up and enjoy a job well done! Happy 2021! 

52 Weeks of Climate Action was created by Sherri Jackson and Laurel Hood. Visit the blog or sign up at

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