I own a beautiful pink shirt. Great brand, comfortable fit, zero wrinkles. But I can’t wear it. I try to, but I’m not a pink person. I don’t know why I bought it. Non-pink people would understand.
The point is, a great shirt sits in my closet. Going on two years now. At this rate, the shirt will rot in a landfill in a few years.
Instead, what happens if I give the pink shirt away? A lot happens – I feel a bit better about myself and I reduce clutter. My trash hauler doesn’t cart it away, where it would contribute to the enormity of a landfill. I might buy another shirt, while someone else gets a free loud shirt.
How many pink shirts do you own? Clothes that don’t fit or are out of style? Tools that collect rust? Exercise equipment that collects rust? Household items you never use? And all those George Foreman grills?
I’m guessing every household in the US has at least ten of these useful, but unwanted items. With about 135 million households in the US, that’s about 1.3 billion items.
What would happen if on May 13, 2017, a third of US households 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.
I’m trying to establish Give Your Stuff Away Day in the US twice per year, in May and September. About 9,000 people I’ve talked to over the past five years like 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!