Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ship It, Already...

For the past four years I've been the TerraCycle coordinator for at least one, sometimes two, and for a brief period three, schools and organizations. If you don't know about TerraCycle, the easiest way to describe it is as a fundraising-recycling company. You join a recycling "brigade" or two (or twelve), collect the brigade-specific difficult-to-recycle items, print a free shipping label, and ship them off to find new life as upcycled or recycled products. For each unit TerraCycles receives,  your school or organization earns money. It really is a great company, and I frequently recommend it as a good way for groups to set up ongoing, long-term fundraising.

But if you need help with your TerraCycle collections, don't come to me. I won't be in charge of it. Not any more. You see, even though I've been doing this for awhile, the truth is that I'm a bit of a procrastinator. In fact, to call myself "a bit of a procrastinator" may actually be a bit of an understatement. It might be more correct to say that I'm "a lot of a procrastinator." Because of this, I've struggled to stay on top of the "shipping" part of the TerraCycle process. Basically, I've collected the brigade items, boxed them up, but then they just sit there near my front door. And they don't just sit there for days. Oh, no. I could deal with that. My husband could deal with that. The truth is, they sit there for weeks. The even truer truth--the kind of truth that comes only if I don't mind embarrassing myself--is that it sits there for...months.

There, I've admitted it: my TerraCycle shipments linger in my entryway for months. Judge me if you must, but at least give me credit for honesty.

Something else I'll admit is that there's nothing quite like a big pile of boxed up recyclables to welcome us  weigh us down as we enter our home after a long day at our jobs or running errands. Nothing says "kick back and relax in your personal sanctuary from the world" "come on in and feel stressed and overwhelmed by your unfulfilled responsibilities" quite like a pile of un-shipped boxes.

So today, as my first intentional move toward a calm home--an actual sanctuary from the rest of the world--I finally did what those of you who have your stuff together would have done months ago: I shipped the damn boxes.

Ah, but I'm trying to be honest here, right? Does that mean I should admit that the reason I hadn't shipped these packages months ago is because I couldn't find the packing tape? It's embarrassing but true. I knew I had four rolls of clear packing tape, which is why I refused to go out and buy more. I had already decided to step down as the TerraCycle coordinator, but closing up these shipments is the only thing I ever do with packing tape. I would not go buy a new roll only to come home and find four more rolls three days later. Besides, the fact that I couldn't find the packing tape is part of the point. Every day, I walked into a house with a pile of boxed-and-ready-to-be-taped-and-shipped recyclables by the front door and four rolls of packing tape...somewhere.

And I've been doing this for four years.

Today when I found the tape, I immediately went and closed up the boxes, attached the labels, and loaded them all into the trunk of the car. (Unfiltered honesty: I put them in my husband's trunk, and he dropped them off at UPS for me. He was just as sick of that pile of boxes as I was.) Now I can look toward the entry and see the truth: they are gone. They are actually gone!

Maybe you can see why this is such a big deal. Maybe you can't. Either way, it's so freeing to know that no longer will I spend a Saturday morning sorting recyclables by brigade. No longer will I walk into my home only to be met with the heaviness of unfulfilled fundraising responsibilities. No longer will I stumble into that pile of boxes when I turn off the downstairs lights and head up to bed. Now, even though I still won't walk through my front door and immediately enter an inviting, relaxing oasis (I don't think I've mentioned yet that we are mid-renovation), at least I will not be tripping over a mountain of recyclables.

The empty space by the front door is proof: I am one step closer to the calm home I desire.

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