Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's On Your List?

Today was desk clean-off day. The main reason I have to clean off my desk is that I have an inordinate fondness for making lists and outlines, and then keeping them in neat little stacks and never looking at them! I subscribe to the theory that I should get things off my mind and on to paper, so I write and write and write. I think what it really does is organize my thoughts. Then I don't actually need the lists and outlines.

Anyway, there were a lot of little pieces of scratch paper with home improvement lists. Some of those were nice to see; we've done a lot of work to the house this past year and a half, since the deer came through and got us started with the insurance claim. I made little check marks by all we'd finished , consolidated what we still needed to do on to one list, and threw the remainder away. See what I mean? It's obsessive. But I love to do it anyway.

Then I found something kind of interesting. Last fall, I read the book "Garbage Land" by Elizabeth Royte. Some of you will roll your eyes and think "Yes, I knew she was weird, and this proves it! She reads books about garbage!" I do love the subject of garbage. Ask me all about it, when you have an hour or two to spare. Anyway, after reading that book I sat down and made some of my little lists.

Sources of Paper/how to deal w/it:
1.newspaper-recycle; use for mulch
2.magazines-cancel those not read; share at work; recycle
3.junk mail-get off lists; recycle; re-use blank stuff; scratch paper
4.packaging-refuse as much as possible; reuse; recycle
5.office paper-receive and store records electronically; compost shredded material; recycle
6.kitchen paper-use cloth napkins; rags; ceramic plates only

See, I told you it was obsessive! But the cool thing is, we've done all of it. In fact, we've cut back on our trash output so much that we can go three weeks without putting anything at the curb, and then it's just one container for trash, and two recycling tubs.

There was also a list for plastic:
1.milk and soy milk jugs-buy in glass returnables, recycle
2.cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt tubs-make my own yogurt; recycle
3.bubble packaging-?? reuse
4.grocery bags-use cloth

Again, we've done it.

Glass and Cans:
beverage cans and bottles-stop drinking it!
food cans-use more home-made foods

Done, and done.

So, as you can see, my life is full of action and excitement. Please excuse me while I line my pencils up in a nice neat row.


arduous said...

Awesome! I loved Garbage Land too! Now I am reading "Rubbish," by William Rathje and Cullen Murphy. It is EXCELLENT. But it's kind of making me want to go back to school and become a garbologist! I think maybe I have an unhealthy obsession with garbage. ;)

DramaMama said...

Wow - I didn't realize there were other obsessive list makers out there! Maybe we should start a support group...? Some things we haven't done yet are to get off junk mail lists, stop buying milk in plastic jugs and beans/tomatoes in cans. The last one is the easiest for me to change but I guess I never thought much about it. Thanks for the spark of inspiration!

Joyce said...

Arduous, wasn't that book great? I LOVED it! Who in the world knew that would be such a page-turner?

DrammaMamma-They would probably have to put me in a straight jacket to get me to quit making lists!
Seriously, getting off the junk mail list was one of the most productive things we did. Catalog Choice was a very helpful site. I haven't done as well with packaging, unfortunately, and it's telling that almost everything we throw out is plastic packaging. Maybe I should make a list of actions about that.....

matt said...

what about all the paper u use for lists? :)

CindyW said...

Other than the things on your list, I have another source: the "artwork" my children produce oh-so copiously. Sometimes 3 sheets a day, other days 10 sheets. So I bring home paper that people at work have tossed into recycling bins. Still it goes so fast that I have to do biweekly refill. When they make "art" and proudly present to me, I have to put them aside to "appreciate" for a while. Then at night time, I sigh and put the "art" into the recycling bin. Every so often, my despicable act is discovered. I have to apologize and fish out the "art". It's a waste, at least it is waste built on waste...

Joyce said...

Cindy, I remember that! There were all the "proud papers" from school to put on the fridge, as well as the art (and my husband and one of my sons are artists, so we placed a high value on it) but it was sooo much. I did keep a folder for each child, and then from time to time I would ask that child to help me sort through and save their favorites. Then they got to determine what was valuable to keep. That didn't work very well until they were about six or seven, so you may have a little while longer to accumulate!