Reader Mail Bag

I’m setting this up to publish while I am recovering from my back procedure. So, if I don’t respond to comments right away, you’ll know why.

I actually got a couple of questions from readers and thought I’d throw them out there for discussion. If you have an idea or suggestion, please leave it in the comments. Thanks!

1.  Recycling Electronics.

Question: I wanted to see if you found an Eco-friendly solution to getting rid of outdated electronics. In our purge of my office closet I have two full computers and two large bulky external hard drives and one laptop to get rid of.

Kandice: Please leave your suggestions for what to do with outdated electronics. Recycle? Where? What do you do about the private information stored on the devices?

2.  Overcoming Decluttering Fatigue.

Question: I decided to start the new year by cleaning out my home office desk. At first it felt great. I was pulling out old papers, throwing out bad pens, trashing school papers from 2009, but then I hit the wall. Suddenly there were no more easy decisions, just hard ones. Now I have piles of stuff I’m not sure what to do with. And now I’m tired and feel like stuffing it all back in the drawers and taking a nap. What do you do to bust through the wall? How do you keep yourself going to project completion after the initial wave of easy decisions are made? Something I’ve always struggled with and would love your insights! Love your blog and happy new year!

Kandice: Here were my initial thoughts and what I responded back with — Don’t stuff it all back in the desk and then ignore it again. With the hard decision stuff you have left, try reversing your thinking when you look at what remains. Start putting the items you can’t live without back into the desk. Whatever is left is what isn’t really necessary. Box it up and put it out of the way, maybe in a closet or the garage. If you remember something specifically in the box you need, get it out of the box. Whatever is left in the box after a designated period of time (6 months, for example), clearly you don’t need it.

Do you all have any other suggestions? Was my idea a good one? I know we’ve all hit that decluttering wall. I totally understand having hard decisions left. Please chime in!


10 Responses to Reader Mail Bag

  1. On the first question, I love to find tax-deductible recycyling fundraisers. In fact, there is one this Saturday in Dallas (Lake Highlands near Abrams/Royal) that supports my daughter’s ballet studio! Here is the info:

    It’s time to clear out your closets, garages,
    and storage units
    AND help support DBCo!
    Recycling Fundraiser to benefit
    Dallas Ballet Company
    2014 RDA Festival

    Saturday, January 18
    9:00 am – 1:00 pm
    Dallas Ballet Center parking lot
    8530 Abrams Road #608, Dallas 75243

    Please help us in this worthwhile endeavor
    and in the process
    clear out some space in your home and office!

    Your tax deductible donations will help ensure
    the proper recycling of e-waste and
    save valuable landfill space.

    Items may be in any condition;
    damaged, non-working or fully operational.

    Items that will be accepted:

    Computers
    Desktops, laptops, servers, monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, and all other computer components.
    Cameras
    Camcorders and all non-disposable film and digital cameras.
    Office Equipment
    Fax machines, typewriters, inkjet cartridges, printers, scanners, routers, shredders, and copiers.
    Entertainment Electronics
    Car and home audio equipment, satellite and cable boxes, VCRs, DVD players and recorders, headphones, and multimedia projectors.
    Multimedia
    DVD and VHS movies, audiobooks, and music CDs. All multimedia items must include original covers.
    Vehicles
    Cars, Trucks, Boats, Motorcycles, Trailers and RV’s.
    ATV’s
    Dirt Bikes, Go-Karts, 4 Wheelers, 3 Wheelers, and Jet Skis.
    Clothing & Accessories
    Pants, coats, shirts, purses, belts, shoes, hats, etc.
    Toys & Games
    Action figures, blocks, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.
    Food
    Non-Perishable & Canned Foods. Portable Electronics
    Cell phones, GPS devices, calculators, portable CD and DVD players, PDAs, and MP3 Players.
    Video Games
    Video games, systems, and accessories.
    Sporting Goods
    Golf clubs and bags, athletic helmets and pads, baseball bats and gloves, basketball shoes, cleats, hockey sticks, ice skates, and roller blades.
    Musical Instruments
    Guitars, percussion, strings, woodwinds, brass, and electric keyboards.
    Home and Garden
    Air purifiers, baby monitors, vacuum cleaners, power tools, electric razors, sewing machines, and medical equipment.
    Non-Fiction Books
    Cookbooks, craft books, textbooks, etc.
    Collectibles
    Comics, Figurines, Trading Cards, etc.
    Pottery, Cookware & Glass Dinnerware
    China, Porcelain, Art Pottery, Stoneware, etc.
    Gold & Silver
    Jewelry
    Costume Jewelry, Watches, and Handcrafted Jewelry.
    Sorry, No televisions

    Do you work for a company that needs to safely dispose of unwanted office equipment? Bubb Fundraising allows us to schedule Corporate off-site pickups and offers a free, secure, tax deductible recycling service while at the same time raising money for the 2014 RDA Festival. Contact me for more information!

    Questions? Contact: laura.jekot@gmail.com

    Please feel free to forward this information to family and friends. The more we collect, the more funds we raise for RDA!

  2. Electronics can be recycled for sure — you can donate them as mentioned above.

    As for hard drives and laptops, IF you have done very sensitive information on there, you might want to run it through a program to delete and re-delete all the information so that it overwrites everything with 0′s and really blanks it out. Don’t just donate something without clearing and formatting the hard drive a at least 10 times over. (I am paranoid)

    I know on the Mac in Disk Utility they have an option to do a 35-pass erase on a hard drive. I’d use this option.

    For anything that I couldn’t format such as my old Palm (way back when) that I used as an electronic organizer, I sucked up the cost and smashed it to bits with a hammer.

    I don’t take chances with my data.

    —–

    As for piles of stuff and hitting decluttering fatigue, go through one pile per weekend and use the One-Touch rule.

    Touch it once, and decide right then and there to keep it, toss it or donate it.

    Don’t go back and re-look at the piles, just put them all in their respective boxes and let it go.

  3. For e-waste, I often bring to Best Buy:
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global-Promotions/Recycling-Electronics/pcmcat149900050025.c?id=pcmcat149900050025

    Sometimes I find that the “tough” things aren’t tough because I do want to keep them but they don’t really belong where they are right now, but I’m not really sure where they SHOULD belong or the place where I think they belong also needs decluttering. I take care of all the toss/recycle/donate stuff right away, and put back all of the things that are staying there as well. Then I put the remainder in one of three bags: “fix”, for those things that need some kind of mending or repair. “Somplace else” for something that I want to keep but doesn’t really go where it was when I found it. And “Freecycle” for things I want to freecycle (duh). The latter is very helpful because sometimes I want to freecycle things that logically go together (i.e., a bunch of old kids’ videos) or that are sets but the pieces aren’t all in one place right now. I go through that bag periodically and figure out what’s ready to be freecycled and what’s still missing a piece.

    Also, in terms of combatting decluttering fatigue — if a whole desk is too much to do at once, how about a drawer at a time? There will be fewer “big” decisions to face at one time that way.

  4. I prefer to keep my electronics out of landfills as much as possible, especially since a lot of the recycling programs are not at all eco-friendly (despite their names). However, it can be hard to find places that will take old(er) equipment. In the past I’ve had good luck with National Christina Foundation. They match donors with recipients instead of running a clearinghouse. See http://www.cristina.org.

    As for sensitive information, I take care of that myself. I wouldn’t trust a recycler or donation center to know how to handle this—unless they actively promote this service and will issue a guarantee.

    Greendisk (http://www.greendisk.com) is one company that will recycle and will destroy sensitive data. I’ve used them for floppy disks, which are very slow to erase. They have some flat-rate “technotrash” options which are great.

  5. Google your county’s name and electronics recycling. Ours have Electric Sundays whereby residents can drop off all sorts of electronics, including external drives, for free at designated stations.

  6. As for hitting the wall I find http://unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com/ ‘s philosophy helpful (if you don’t mind some foul language). Basically it advocates small chunks with breaks rather than getting burnt out from marathon cleaning/decluttering. Celebrate progress no matter how small! you don’t need to tackle it all at once :)

  7. On hitting the wall – try working on something else where you can have success, then return to a part of the previous project. Some projects are too big to be done all at once. My yarn and craft closet is too big for me to deal with all at once. I did what I could and then took an unfinished project out to finish, figuring that it needed to be dealt with one way or another. The rest can wait – it’s not going anywhere!

  8. Pingback: I Need Some Motivation | The Simple Year

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