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July 10, 2014
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“One man’s trash...


...is another man’s treasure.” Taking a peek into my garage, these words speak volumes. According to www.quotecounterquote.com, this common expression has been “a popular proverbial saying in America since the late 20th century. Its basic meaning is that something which seems worthless to one person is often deemed valuable by another.”

While not (yet) a candidate for television’s “Hoarders” (www.aetv.com) or any of the gazillion spin-offs crowding the airwaves, I have to admit, I love my stuff! That being said, something I “simply can’t live without” one day, often gets relegated to the “what was I thinking?” pile in a relatively short period of time.And with Earth Day just around the corner (on April 22), I do understand that even if I can bring myself to part with my treasures, it would be irresponsible to discard them wantonly.

Seeking a middle ground, I was thrilled to discover eco-genius Mike Morone, of North Chili, NY and his inspired, user friendly concept: “Give Your Stuff Away Day” (www.giveyourstuffaway.com).

Scheduled for Saturday, May 12, this national (and quite possibly, global) effort is something Morone has put a lot of thought into. Meticulous in detail, this guy seems to have covered all the bases for us (yes, us... I know I’m not alone) in providing helpful hints, lists of “dos and don’ts,” and a basic primer on what happens to all of those “treasures” that usually wind up clogging the landfills of the world, rather than simply being recycled for another’s pleasure, taking it’s rightful place on someone else’s mantel, so to speak.

Morone writes that “Many of us own valuable stuff we just don’t want anymore. But instead of giving it away or selling it, we allow it to clutter our households and businesses. Billions of great items are just wasting away, taking up space” Nodding maniacally in agreement, I read on—already making mental (I’ve been called worse!) notes and starting a list.

Calling his concept “the world’s largest recycling event,” Morone’s thoughts not only make sense, but sound like fun, and I am already on board, taking my cues from his suggestions. “Let’s break the cycle and help others by taking some of this stuff to our curb for others to take home,” he writes. “It’s simple, it’s easy and it will work.” Undaunted by what is waiting for me in the attic, I bookmark his site and continue. “It will help millions of people while reducing clutter, and will spark more giving and less hoarding. Give Your Stuff Away Day will reduce landfills and lower municipal hauling costs.”

Leaving no stone unturned, Morone has provided dozens of helpful links on his website, which is loaded with suggestions to make the entire event relatively painless for even the lazy ( I mean me) to get in on the action. “Yes, it’s going to be messy for a while,” he cautions, but “Christmas and the Super Bowl are messy too—should we cancel those events?” Wow. This guy is not only concerned about the planet, but clever in grabbing our attention with questions like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could magically shift ownership of this stuff, in one weekend, coast to coast, with zero effort, little time and at no cost?” My answer? “Yes, yes—a thousand times, yes!”

Some of Morone’s guidelines include “no trash, recyclables, illegal or dangerous items. No food, drugs, chemicals, or weapons. Just safe, valuable items that others could use. Then watch the fun—or better yet, take a walk and find some free stuff you can use.” (See sidebar for more details.) Realizing that I could unearth a new “treasure” from my neighbors while recycling some of my own, I am vibrating over the possibilities, while considering reigning in my constant desire for more stuff.

As if reading my mind, Morone cautions to “obey local ordinances and place ONLY the allowed items on your curb.”

Oh, Mike Morone... you are brilliant! I’m thinking that it would seem prudent to check local sources willing to pick up what’s left behind after the world’s largest treasure hunt. Good Will, The Salvation Army, animal shelters and neighborhood thrift stores are but a few resources that come to mind as I begin sifting through my belongings. I do, indeed, have some incredibly cool stuff that has simply worn out its welcome as I downsize, but would love knowing that these “gently worn” precious items are pleasing others and saving our landfills from unnecessary waste. On April 22, I will be literally dancing in the streets while preparing for the May 12 event, when I’ll be scanning the horizon for one man’s trash that (in my quivering hands) could become a brand new treasure. If you haven’t done so already, “like” The River Reporter on Facebook and get in on our conversation regarding this special event. Together, we can make a difference.