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As long-time fan of financial guru Suze Orman. I would intently listen as she shared words of wisdom and financial advice as a guest on the Oprah show. Now, with her own, she has a "Can You Afford It?" segment of her show that is brutal, no holds barred financial 'advice' on your spendng desires.

One tidbit of advice that Suze gave back then that still resonates with me was "The things in your home that you do not need or use are taking up space from the things that do need or want to come into your life."

While not even close to being a hoarder, I like most, have things that do just that, take up space. Their value, as most things, is of a personal, professional or perceived nature. As years have gone by, paradigms have shifted and 'value' has changed.

So, I've really looked hard at the contents of the boxes in the closets that have managed to remain all these years and at the dinosaurs in the room, i.e., that entertainment center I regularly dust, whose components have long since been replaced by an iPod classic and portable Logitech speakers. LOL.

Trying my best to live green, and not add to landfills; finding new homes, donation organizations, placing items on the curb (trash/treasure thing) or repurposing items are preferred solutions to tossing items in the nearest dumpster.

Thanks to Nike, I’ve shipped countless old gym shoes to their ReUse a Shoe program, where they repurpose them for running tracks, basketball courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields, gym floors, football fields, playgrounds and tennis courts. Over 25 million shoes recycled.

I’ve shipped unwanted acrylic trophies to Aaron R. Thomas, Inc., an artist in California, who up-cycles your unwanted acrylics in his artwork, or will just recycle them. Over 7 tons of acrylic material recycled.

I've spent some quality time with Mr. Workhorse (my little Fujitsu ScanSnap) and my latest paper shredder (I’ve already killed two three of these). Yes, I love it so much, I've given it a name. Years ago, I was using the PC version of this scanner with my Mac long before Fujitsu came out with the Mac counterpart. This little scanner revolutionized how I interact with paper (more on that in another post).

I'd love to take all of the rest of the things I no longer want to invest space and time into to the local Salvation Army to hurry the purging along, but alas, they don’t/won’t/can’t take everything.

Recently, while reading the April 2011 issue of "O" magazine, on my iPad, I came across a few other very inspiring solutions that could work for the many items that could find new useful homes or be otherwise recycled. Here are a few:

    A nonprofit online donation center that connects new, used and in-kind resources with our nation’s schools all year long.
    SAFE chapter members collect new and gently used stuffed animals, toys, books and blankets to be redistributed to emergency organizations, childrens services, hospitals, homeless shelters and many other places that help children during times of crisis.
    Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is a national veterans service organization primarily serving the needs of veterans of the Vietnam War era throughout the nation and elsewhere.
    PlanetReuse makes using reclaimed building materials effortless, expertly matching materials with designers, builders and owners to save projects money, serve LEED efforts and sustain the planet. (Reporter Lisa Ling, had her entire old home demolished and sorted to reclaim 100% of the materials, wood, nails, etc., to use in the construction of the new house.)
    Responsibly and securely dispose of all your computer-related waste, spent supplies and obsolete accessories. GreenDisk handles all your technotrash disposal needs from a CD to a PC and just about everything in between.
    Flipswap makes it simple for people to give mobile phones a second shot at life by offering fast, free and eco-friendly ways to trade them in. Flipswap not only gives consumers and businesses instant credit towards another device or cash back, but we also plant a tree for every device recycled.


One definite that I find is a sense of freedom and peace from having to manage and store “stuff”.
And if this is the only (priceless) gift that comes into my life from this process, I can afford the time and effort it takes to reduce, reuse and recycle.


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5 Responses to “Can You Afford It?”

  1. Chita – Very timely & interesting.
    Just a thought: Would it make sense for the MG site to have a page devoted to recycling links? The question comes up re electronics & computers from time to time on iBBs.

    Your list here could be a starter.

  2. Kathy Singer says:

    Another option for recycling is Freecycle. This is an organization that lets you post wanted or offered ads on-line in your area. It is up to the two parties to get together for the exchange. This is strictly donations. You are not allowed to charge for the items. See this web site for a list of Michigan groups.

    • Steven Klein says:

      I was going to mention Freecycle, but Kathy beat me to it. I’ve been using Freecycle for years, as both a giver and a recipient.

      One part I particularly like: I don’t have to pack up anything to ship it. I’ve I’m giving something away, the recipient comes and gets it from me.

  3. Chita says:

    Mary Jo,
    Though it would be very useful to some, that’s a question you might want to pose to Terry.

  4. Nina Cleven says:

    Great ideas for recycling. We regularly recycle books we’ve read by donating them to our local library or giving them to friends to read and pass on. Computer books I quite often bring to meetings where others can reuse them.