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Dec. Challenge: Getting Sane About "Stuff"

[NOTE: The time that you do this challenge is up to you. System is set to 11:45 pm at the end of the month to keep the RSVP function open. This helps give us an idea of whether these challenges are popular.]

"Green" holidays are all the rage these days. But we don't have to be celebrating a holiday this month to rethink our relationship with material goods. Whether it's having a sustainable holiday, building a vegetable bed from scavenged materials, or simply replacing paper facial tissues with cloth handkerchiefs, most of us have to-do list items that involve a saner, more resilient approach to the material goods in our lives. For December, let's each tackle at least one of those items--turn it from "to-do" to "well done."

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Each month someone posts a Transition-related challenge here. We members go out as individuals and meet that challenge, then we post in the comments just what we did. Usually the challenge is open the minute it goes live on the Meetup site. This month, if you skipped Black Friday--or found a way to make it a Green Friday--you can count that toward this challenge.

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  • Jennifer C.

    A great big THANK YOU to everyone who took part in this challenge, whether you posted or not. Love it that we "struck a cord (chord?)" here; glad that so many folks are working on sane use of their resources!

    January 5, 2013

  • martin h.

    a logical renewal and continuation of the path I've been on for over 40 years...

    1 · January 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good, good to converse w/others about ideas of what to do & questions & thoughts etc. Very important - this is what community is for!!!

    1 · January 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I received some old barn wood the other day and after thinking about what to do with it, I decided to spend Christmas day to create some bird and squirrel feeders with some of that wood. I want to give my neighborhood furry-friends a gift this year and help them have a safe feeding place this winter. ~ To all of my new friends here...Have a wonderful holiday full of love, joy and peace!

    2 · December 23, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I love this! I have been out of the loop lately. We needed to travel to Florida to help my parents relocate back to Nashville with us. I spent the last two weeks packing up their lifetime of "stuff" and it. Seeing it from this perspective shows me that it truly is a burden. The clutter, the attachment, the expense of keeping it... I am so grateful that I don't have to suffer like this at home and I hope they find some peace in letting go. I am trying to be patient!!! I miss this group and the positive vibes I have surrounded myself with back in Nashville. We'll be back next week! (I will probably have a LOT of 'stuff' to give away as we combine two households!)

    November 29, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Right now I'm doing some patching on some clothing items and I must say, it feels good getting out the sewing basket...something that I haven't seen in a long time!

      December 9, 2012

    • Audrey S.

      I've started using my sewing kit again recently as well :) It does feel great to salvage a perfectly good item of clothing rather than tossing into the trash or donation pile. I did some extensive mending to come pillowcases from my favorite sheet set that had been attacked by an evil washing machine. There's just something about fixing stuff with your hands that makes you feel accomplished & proud.

      December 11, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have a recycling situation that I could use some brain-storming about, so I thought I'd ask you guys!...
    I'm currently getting rid of items that I don't need or want anymore, and I'm finding that trying to find ways to get rid of some things a chore! I have a sofa and a love seat (that I don't need anymore) that my cat decided to claw on a couple of the edges, but the rest of the body of them he didn't touch...so, slip covers would be best for these....but, I'm not sure how I should go about given them away in the condition they are in! And, I don't want to buy slip covers since I don't know what kind someone would want or need. I don't want to just toss them out in the landfill! (Oh, the pillow material could be replaced to compliment the slip covers) Any ideas?...

    November 29, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Great! I'll check this out! I've never used a listserv, so I'll check it out for sure! I hate getting rid of these two pieces since I really like them...but, I no longer need them and have room for them....so, it's time for them to find a new home! :)

      November 29, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Another option is to join "Freecycle" Nashville - there are several around the country, but one must join it then post etc...

      November 29, 2012

  • Audrey S.

    In the spirit of reusing/recycling, does anyone happen to have about a dozen small jars w/ lids they would like to get rid of?

    November 24, 2012

    • Susan S.

      I have some spaghetti sauce size jars w/lids, and a few smaller ones, but not a dozen. Most are in glass recycle bins w/ lids removed. I think I'll begin saving more of these smaller ones. So handy! Just have to make storage space. So if you need a few, or still need more in a few weeks, let me know.

      November 24, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Opps, I see I should have written my post about the jars here! (new to Meetup!) Audrey....when do you need these jars by? How small do you need? I'll keep my eyes open for these while I'm out looking for found items myself....

      November 26, 2012

  • Audrey S.

    Definitely skipped the Black Friday madness, and began raking the yard (borrowed the rake from family even), which I will have someone pick up for composting once bagged. Doing some simple homemade gifts this year, making baking soda air fresheners & scented flax seed sleep masks for the adults, already purchased local hand-made recycled giant crayon sets for the kids.

    1 · November 24, 2012

    • Cindy

      Stuff is FUN! I like the idea or making/remaking stuff! This morning I mended an old wonderful wool shirt, in preperation for teaming up with my daughter to sell our stuff we bought, enjoyed or made at a flea market in Louisville i about Dec. 10. Nice way to be with grown daughter and play with people and stuff (non corporately)... Wit, I Will be in my body! Ghisots don't do stuff...

      1 · November 25, 2012

    • Cindy

      That is ghosts, and wait.. Computer is being goofy am typing blind after first line...

      November 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello!
    I haven't joined the Black-Friday-club in many years and I haven't missed a thing - I have only found a more at peace heart. I usually spend the holidays taking a walk in nature with my dogs and communing with natures spirits!
    I am a found items artist/craftsperson, so each day that I create something from found items is another day that I save items from the landfills. I have customers who support my "Hobby-Gone-Wild" by bringing me items that they were going to throw out! Every time they do this, it brings a fun-joy to my heart since they stopped themselves from tossing their item out and remembered that something functional can be made from their throw-outs...by me! For example, I had a customer bring me two huge bagfuls of wine corks! I am currently making things from them to sell for the holiday coming up. Last night, I created more wine cork balls! I'm making cork key-chains, cork garlands with beads, beaded cork ornaments, etc.

    2 · November 25, 2012

    • Jennifer C.

      Wow; this is so cool! Glad to know you're doing this!

      November 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yeah, no Black Friday for me either. As a vegan who also works at a grocery store, it's been frustrating the past week to see so many turkeys bought and all the other madness that goes on in the name of "tradition." All the stress over cooking/serving traditional dishes and traveling...just isn't, to me, what the holiday should be about. And I definitely disagree with the whole Black Friday "Spend more!" mentality. This frustration led me to read a little about Thanksgiving and Black Friday online (Wikipedia!), including more alternative counterparts such as National Day of Mourning (Thanksgiving) and Buy Nothing Day (Black Friday). Interesting and pretty much reaffirmed my current sentiments. I appreciate the value of traditions, but I think some conscious reflection on their history and interpretation/re-imagination of their purpose, meaning, and form, rather than just mindless acceptance and participation, are called for. Thanks for letting me rant! :D

    1 · November 25, 2012

    • Jennifer C.

      Hi, Alex! I can remember having similar thoughts and feelings when I was vegetarian. And even though I've been a meat-eater again for a couple of decades now, I agree with your main point--we do need a lot of re-thinking of our traditions. For example, one tradition that I keep re-thinking is that pesky holiday tree. I grew up with wild-harvested trees from our own land As a young adult, I loved the Solstice origins of the tree, and so a live tree was a way for me to honor the human ties to the rest of nature. Then for a few years I didn't bother with one, and now we have a tabletop artificial one that we've had for a few years.

      November 25, 2012

    • Jennifer C.

      So, yes: in an age of constant change, constant re-thinking is definitely called for!

      November 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Audrey - I create items from used wine bottles and mason jars ....but, currently I don't have any small jars.
    Keep looking at the second hand/Good Wills stores for jars. Also... sign up to get on an Estate Sale list and go to them.....go directly to the estate-sale garages... I have seen boxes of them there! I'll let you know if I find some soon.

    Great Challenge idea! I'm totally in! ~Journi

    1 · November 25, 2012

  • Jennifer C.

    Skipping the whole Black Friday (Black Weekend?) mess. Hatching plans for holiday gifts that involve baked goods, items from used book stores, etc.

    1 · November 24, 2012

    • Susan S.

      I'll write personalized songs for people. Better than a scarf or a tool set any day! Of course, if tools are what you need, that might be debatable...

      2 · November 24, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      That sounds great Susan - just wonderful!

      November 24, 2012

  • Susan S.

    I like this! I'm already a winner, since "Black Friday" was pretty much out of the question for me anyway. I buy very little beyond essentials, and most of what I DO buy (e.g., clothes) comes from thrift stores. It also helps that my housemate is extremely good at fixing things!

    1 · November 24, 2012

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