By Larraine Roulston:

Environmental awareness has made the expression “Shop ’til You Drop” lose its appeal. Deep down, we all know there is joy in seeing uncluttered spaces and that happiness does not come wrapped in cellophane. Not purchasing the latest fashion or piece of technology will result in less debt. Get started now to determine if you will enjoy the benefits of living with less.

When deciding to list your house, decluttering gives prospective buyers a sense of open space. Start by removing an insignificant object from a shelf and ask family members whats missing; then remove a variety of objects that do not add value to your life and see if they are missed. If all goes well and you feel confident about continuing, begin with the easiest space to tackle. Set out boxes for each category — recycling, hazardous waste,repair, giveaways to family/friends,charitable donations, and consignment shops. There is no need to rush the process; however, once decisions have been made, deliver the filled boxes asap.

Wardrobes often clutter closets and drawers. Statistics in this category reveal that people wear only 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. Once you bundle items that no longer suit you, your closet will become much more manageable. As a benefit, your favorite clothes will not be crushed. Its also gratifying to know that your older clothes will become someone elses treasure. Having fewer outfits results in less decision making — which sometimes can be a source of morning stress. Jewelry can also become a tangled jumble and take up more space than youd like on your dresser. Also, when traveling, packing fewer clothes means less weight.

Too many toys will prevent children from appreciating what they have, as well as stifle their creative talents and imagination. By having them select toys to give away, eventually they will learn to share more freely.

Todays kitchens typically hold far more cooking utensils than ever before. The average kitchen catcher often contains two ladles, several flippers, a variety of large serving and drainage spoons, different sized spatulas and most likely an item that is seldom, if ever, used. Kitchen drawers also become filled with gadgets that never see the light of day. Even your prime counter space can become overwhelmed with the latest innovations — one being the unsustainable K-cup coffee maker whose inventor, John Sylvan, regrets that it became so popular.

By removing certain pieces of living room/den furniture, you will provide more space for family and improve airflow, as well as make cleaning chores much easier. Other areas to declutter include offices, bathrooms, garages, mud rooms and basements.

Many American homes have television sets situated in several areas of the house. The average person views over 4 hours daily. By watching less television, youre less apt to fall prey to advertisements urging you to purchase the latest gadgets. The power of advertising via billboards, magazines, newspapers and radio as well often encourages people to accumulate useless material stuff. In many ways, striving to make do with less is very rewarding.

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Larraine writes illustrated childrens books on composting and pollinating. Visit, www.castlecompost.com

Larraine Roulston

A mother of 4 with 6 wonderful grandchildren, Larraine has been active in the environmental movement since the early l970s. When the first blue boxes for recycling were launched in her region, she began writing a local weekly newspaper column to promote the 3Rs. Since that time, she has been a freelance writer for several publications, including BioCycle magazine. As a composting advocate, Larraine authors children's adventure stories that combine composting facts with literature. Currently she is working on the 6th book of her Pee Wee at Castle Compost series, which can be viewed at www.castlecompost.com. As well, Larraine and her husband Pete have built a straw bale home and live in Ontario.

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