Living Alone Can Be a Golden Opportunity to Live Green
Living alone is such a golden opportunity to live green. In terms of the environment, living alone is an absolute winner. Because really, how much does one person actually need? If you're being honest, the answer is almost certainly "not nearly as much as I have."
You now have the delicious freedom of being answerable to no one but yourself. Embrace it. Revel in it. The planet will love you, and it may be the most empowering thing you ever do. But before you psych yourself into an orgy of impulsive and liberating clutter-clearance, there are a few things you should bear in mind:
- First and foremost, never dispose of something you love, however bizarre, trivial, or sentimental. If you love it, it's part of you.
- Secondly, if you're disposing of something you know a friend, relation or neighbor would find useful, offer it to them first.
- Thirdly, if you're keeping clothes on the off-chance of losing/putting on weight, don't bother. You probably won't, and if you do, they'll be outdated anyway. Give them away to a shelter or a Good Will store.
- And lastly, paper accumulates with a speed that leaves you and the planet breathless. All this outdated paper just begging to be recycled - Do it.
Beyond that, view everything with a critical eye. Do you really like the lamp you bought when orange was fashionable? The corn popper, the milkshake maker, the extra linens, the second TV, the spare dinner service you have kept - do you really need them now, or do they sit there like lumps of the past and obstacles to the future? Be honest, here. Wouldn't it feel better to have the space?
Unclutter Your Home
How you approach this project depends on you. You may choose to attack it with a random gusto that leads to temporary chaos. On the other hand, you might prefer to be systematic, taking it room by room or category by category. Whatever the method, the outcome will hopefully be the same: a lot of stuff that's of no use to you is about to find a better home.
However you choose to dispose of this surplus, the benefits are obvious. If an injection of cash would be helpful, look at the avenues available in your area and online. Someone is certain to need what you don't, and both of you will come out ahead. If money isn't an issue, then charities and charity shops are the answer. Either way, as best you can, you and your ex-possessions are helping rebalance the world's resources.
Change Your Habits
You may need to pause a little longer to think this one through, but the nature of heating, cooling, lighting, washing, cooking, getting about - and even doing nothing - can all change when you live alone. Now that you've cleared the decks in a material sense, it's time to clear the mental decks with equal enthusiasm and adopt a new and constructive attitude to energy consumption. Once again, you may be battling the habits or expectations of a lifetime to reeducate yourself, but your own financial gain will be almost as great as the benefit to the ozone layer.
Rethink Your Usage of Natural Resources
Think carefully. Do you need a gas-guzzling SUV for one person? No. Nor do you need every light in the house ablaze. There's no reason to run the dishwasher every night for one person - and you can certainly cook dinner for one without using every appliance in your kitchen. Hanging out your own clothes to dry in the warm breeze can be strangely soothing, and the smell of sun-dried sheets is energy conservation in action.
There are some situations that have no upside, but they're few and far between, and living alone isn't one of them. It might be confronting, but it can also be more exhilarating than you ever imagined. Perhaps for the first time in your life, the choices are all yours - so why not choose to live green? Kermit came the conclusion that green was beautiful, and once you try it, the chances are good that you will agree.