Living a crap-free life

Decluttering is a good thing

Useless stuff.

Useless stuff.

Living a crap-free life
The headline of Greg Hanscom’s Nov. 22 article, “Stuffed to the gills: How crap took over my life—and how I intend to take it back,” caught my attention. Mainly because I am consciously ridding my life of useless clutter and not replacing it with more stuff that I really don’t need. (Needless to say, I do not rent a storage space—one of America’s more insane ways to throw away perfectly useful money on a monthly basis—and I did not participate this year in the ultra-consumerist free-for-all that is Black Friday.)

Since Hanscom and his family moved to Seattle two months ago, they have been living on basic necessities pulled from moving boxes when they arrived. The rest remains in the basement and closets. Occasionally, they will look for a specific item, but, as Hanscom put it, “Every time we rifle through boxes to find some lost implement, we come up with a dozen other things that we didn’t miss, and add them to the growing mountain of giveaways in the basement.”

According to the Chinese practice of feng shui, clearing up clutter results in better health and well-being as it frees up stagnant Qi (life-force) energy. Plus, as Hanscom points out, 99 percent of the “stuff” we accumulate is thrown away in six months, and “for every can of garbage we haul out to the curb, 70 cans of waste are generated ‘upstream’ in the making and shipping of the product.”

There were numerous Black Friday news reports of people pepper-spraying, punching and trampling fellow shoppers, all in the name of getting a bargain on more stuff—including a 61-year-old man who collapsed onto the floor of a Target store in West Virginia, and was walked over by bargain hunters. He died on the way to the hospital.

Really, people?

It’s back!
Local organic gardener David Grau’s popular organic-gardening workshop series is back in action and on Dec. 4, organic orchardist Carl Rosato of Woodleaf Farm in Oroville started off the series with his pruning class, which also went into soils, tree care, tools, etc.

On Dec. 11, from 1-4 p.m., Rosato will conduct a class on Disease & Insect Control, during which he will share his organic formula for spraying fruit trees for disease control. The remainder of the series will be announced in January 2012.

The Dec. 11 workshop will cost $30 and will take place at a local home-garden/orchard. Call 342-8399 or email <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,104,97,122,101,108,118,101,64,109,115,110,46,99,111,109,34,62,104,97,122,101,108,118,101,64,109,115,110,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script> for more info and to sign up.

Truck on over to …
Trucker (232 Broadway, 343-8164,, where you can bring home your purchase of super cool men’s wear in a bag made of woven recycled plastic (and save money on future visits).

“The concept behind this bag is to reduce our ecological impact by creating a bag strong enough to be reusable, and then we offer our customers a 5 percent discount when they use the bag on repeat visits,” said owner Luke Winter.

East-coast touchdown!
As you read this, I will have arrived in Lexington, N.Y., where I will be living on and caretaking/managing/farming a 407-acre land-trust farm in the Catskills with my partner, David, and my daughter, Lydia. Super exciting! I will continue to write this column for the foreseeable future and will have much to share with readers when I return to Chico in March 2012 to be a presenter at Chico State’s This Way to Sustainability VII Conference (see ).