In the back of my closet is a beautiful pink shirt. I have owned it for two years, but I never wear it. After buying it, I realized I’m not a pink person. Non-pink people would understand.
So, a great shirt sits in my closet. Before long, the shirt will wind up rotting in a landfill.
Instead, what happens if I give the pink shirt away? A lot happens – I lose the stress of trying to wear it, and I reduce clutter. My trash hauler doesn’t cart it away, where it would contribute to the size of a landfill. I might buy another shirt, while someone else gets a free shirt.
How many similar items do you own? Clothes, shoes, household items, sports equipment, tools, lawn and garden items, building materials, toys? And all those 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, places of worship – anything with a roof – and we’re probably up to 4 billion items.
What would happen if, on May 13, 2017, some of us placed these items on their curb for others to take for free?
“Give Your Stuff Away Day” is what would happen. A fun, neighborly event that resembles Halloween. A sustainability event with the potential to help millions worldwide, 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 eight years favor the idea. But I need help convincing some municipalities to try it out.
Please tell your friends and ask your local leaders and media folks to embrace the idea. Tweet it, whatever that means. Find me on change.org and sign the petition. Call me if you have ideas.
This is a good idea that will help lots 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!