A decade ago in the US, I saw a peculiar habit of middle class Americans to stuff their houses with lots of things. Every house I visited was overdone without an exception. Their attics, basements and garages were virtual storehouses filled to the brim. I wondered what they did with so much stuff at their disposal. Every time the answer was “just in case”.
This trend has picked up in our country too. We have been stuffing our houses with things we don’t need and even if we need them we always bring more than necessary. The logic here is again the same – “just in case”.
However, today the psychiatrists in the US are categorising this behaviour as “abnormal” bordering on illness. Whether it’s illness or not, the point is, it’s an absolutely unsustainable way of life. Imagine having 50 shirts and not wearing 25 of them, worse, not even being aware that you have so many clothes that have not seen their tags being removed.
This over stuffing of your house has an adverse impact on the quality of your life. The house traps more heat and as we are a warm nation with long spells of summers we end up spending more money on electricity as our ACs work with more vigour and take longer time to cool the same space that they could have done in 30 per cent less time.
Similarly, dust finds its way to stick to most of the stuff you have kept in the house and cleaning regularly becomes a daunting task. This leads to piling of dust in nooks and cranny which creates health hazard. Also more things create an unkempt look and make you feel sick and stifled.
The best way to live a green life is to live light. Living light means de-cluttering your house. So how do we go about it?
First of all, make an inventory of things you have and see for how long they have been out of use. You will be amazed. In many cases things that were bought for “just-in-case” emergency haven’t been used in a decade. They can be either sold or given to an NGO that shares it with less privileged people in our society.
Imagine out of 50 shirts you can live with 10 and your 40 shirts can provide decent and dignified clothing to at least 10 people. Text books and toys can similarly be shared with less privileged through an NGO or a school or with your own efforts.
It will not only bring fresh air to your house, create a sense of space and peace but also give you satisfaction of bringing smile on many faces.
Keshav Chaturvedi is a media professional for the last 23 years. Recently the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s publication division brought out his book – Climate Change Negotiations: An Assessment. He was also the content head of the renewable energy magazine Energy Next brought out by IREDA. Presently he writes for the Financial Chronicle (the financial paper of Deccan Chronicle) and is the consulting editor at http://www.greencommunications.in. He also maintains a regular blog on sustainable development issues)