Decluttering and getting organized is critical, but it's important to focus on organization to reduce consumption before
stuff comes through the door, Peter says. He talks with bloggers Dave Bruno and Dave Chameides about their methods of reducing waste and consumption to rid clutter from their lives.
Dave Bruno is participating in the 100 Thing Challenge, in which he reduces his possessions to a mere 100 items for one year. "It's a personal way to purge and fight consumerism," Dave says. "On a broader scale, it's a wake-up call—a way for people to see that the average person can live without tons of stuff that's in the world today."
Since January 1, 2008, Dave Chameides has been saving all his trash and recyclables—except health hazards—in his basement. Dave thought his 12-month project was going to be an exercise on teaching children about sustainability and consumption, but it's become much more, he says. "It's been a really unbelievable experience to look at your waste stream, consider it and make choices about it as a result," he says. "If we think about our consumption habits and we're confronted with it and we're honest about it, we're hit with a moral imperative."
Dave Chameides offers advice on simple ways to make your life more eco-friendly.
- Carry a reusable canteen. "We are blessed to have, pretty much everywhere in this country, excellent drinking water coming out of the tap," Dave says. For every plastic water bottle that's used, five more water bottles are destroyed when the product is being transported, he says.
- Use cloth reusable bags. Plastic bags use petroleum and are destroying the environment, Dave says.
- Carry your own metal utensils. Dave brings his utensils from home in a toothbrush case instead of using plasticware. He also uses a camping bowl for meals.
- Donate used magazines. Dave and his wife take their magazines that are less than a year old to the local hospital, where they are given to patients.
- Buy milk in glass bottles. Unlike plastic milk jugs, glass bottles can be brought back to the store and reused.