“I have too much junk!”
We’ve all said it at one time or another. Handouts, trinkets, and all other types of junk creep into our lives, and it often takes a bit of thought to determine if you can throw something out. So the default is to hang onto things…and hang onto things…and one day, you realize that your desk looks like it took a vacation to Tornado Alley.
Few people enjoy having their spaces cluttered. There’s even some science which suggests clutter is actively detrimental to mental health and focus. But since clutter is so normalized, it’s hard for individuals to carve out time to clear out their spaces.
To address this problem, Being Well at Yale, Student Wellness at Yale Health and the Yale Office of Sustainability partnered up to run a Destress Declutter Donate campaign in March. This campus-wide initiative encouraged the Yale community to take stock of their spaces and decide what they really needed to hang onto. Bins from Easter Seals Goodwill were placed around campus, ready to take everything else as donations.
“Whether it’s decluttering your desk, dorm room, or kitchen counter, clearing the chaos in our surroundings can increase our ability to think more clearly, work more efficiently and reduce stress,” shares Lisa Kimmel, senior manager, Being Well at Yale.
In addition to the wellness benefits of decluttering, the effort is also a powerful tool to promote sustainability.
“From a materials management perspective, decluttering is a great exercise,” explained Amber Garrard, the Office of Sustainability’s Education and Outreach Manager. “It helps people realize how much they consume and helps us think more about what we really do and don’t need.”
The Yale Sustainability Service Corps, a group of undergraduate students that promote sustainability throughout campus, helped push the Declutter Destress Donate messaging through the residential colleges prior to spring break, hoping students would use the opportunity to destress during midterms and take home items over the break they no longer needed to have on campus. Students were encouraged to capture images of their spaces before and after they decluttered, and share them on Facebook.
In addition, Sustainability Leaders hosted donation bins around campus to encourage staff and faculty to participate. The donation campaign ran from March 1-15. Over that time period, 896 total pounds of donations were collected.
The Office of Sustainability is gearing up for another donation drive in partnership with Yale Recycling. Spring Salvage runs from May 2 to May 26, and is designed to gather donations during undergraduate move-out. If you missed out on the Destress Declutter Donate campaign, don’t fret – we’ll be happy to accept your donations in May!