In the back of my closet is a beautiful pink shirt. After buying it, I realized I’m not a pink person. So the shirt wastes away in my closet, perhaps for years, until I toss it out.
Instead, what happens if I give the shirt away? A lot happens – I lose the stress of trying to wear a flamboyant shirt and I reduce clutter, while someone else gets a free shirt. My trash hauler doesn’t cart it away, where it would contribute a bit to a landfill.
How many similar items do you own? Clothes, shoes, household items, sporting goods, tools, lawn and garden items, building materials, toys? And all those treadmills and George Foreman grills?
I’m guessing every household in the US has at least ten unwanted items. Unwanted to you, but valuable to others. With about 125 million households in the US, that’s about 1.2 billion items. Add in offices, stores, factories, warehouses, schools, universities – anything with a roof – and we’re probably up to 5 billion items.
I propose that on September 15, 2018, we put these items on our curbs for others to take for free.
That would create a “Give Your Stuff Away Day“. It would be a fun, neighborly event that resembles Halloween. A sustainability event with the potential to help millions here and abroad, while reducing clutter, shrinking landfills, reducing municipal costs, improving the economy, and boosting giving.
I’m trying to establish Give Your Stuff Away Day in the US as a twice-annual event, in May and September. About 9,000 people I’ve talked to over the past ten years favor the idea. But I need help spreading the word to your community.
Please tell your friends and ask your local leaders and media folks to embrace the idea. Tweet it. Find me on change.org and sign the petition. Call me if you have ideas.
This is a good idea that will help a lot of people.
• Obey local ordinances
• Place ONLY the allowed items on your curb
• Do NOT put out trash or recyclables on Give Your Stuff Away Day
• Do NOT donate recalled products – visit www.cpsc.gov/ for details
• Do not put dangerous or illegal items on your curb
• Be careful driving those weekends
• Be prepared to retrieve what’s left over
Frequently asked questions
What about the mess?
Yes, it’s going to be messy for a little while. Christmas and the Super Bowl are messy too – but they’re worth it, and so is Give Your Stuff Away Day.
What about the items left over?
Whatever’s left over after several days of curb-sitting will truly be junk and worthy of a landfill, not someone’s home. So it will take some short-term resources to haul these items away. But in the long run, millions or billions of items will be kept OUT of landfills – saving money.
Why not just give items to goodwill stores or use freecyle.org or other outlets?
We should do this, but most of us don’t. But Give Your Stuff Away Day makes it super-easy to do give.
What’s the big idea?
It’s about scale and timing. I could ask my neighbor for a candy bar. He might even give me one, but it’s weird. On Halloween, though, I could get 100 candy bars. Some of us drive around looking for treasures on trash day. Sometimes we get stuff and sometimes not. But on Give Your Stuff Away Day, we could get lots of great stuff!