About This Site
> Other (2)
Don't Fight Your Mind
Thoughts About Email
> How I Cleaned My Room
Separation of Functions
Disposing of ThingsI hate to throw away perfectly good things. If I don't want something, I'll usually make a serious effort to find a good home for it, no matter how small or cheap the thing might be. It's stupid, I know, a waste of time … but it suits me, and I'm allowed to do stupid things.
After I'd been doing that for a while, I realized that the phrases I was using to describe the action, for example “make a serious effort to find a good home for”, were really not very convenient for thinking. Apparently there was a concept in there that I needed a name for, and after another while I came up with one that I liked: “dispose of”. That has just the right meaning! It's not even a stretch … the dictionary definition already has most of what I want.
All I'm adding is a motivation (avoid waste) and the idea that it might take some effort.
Another thing it took me a while to realize is that there's a whole little process I go through. It's not set in stone, but it's solid enough that I can write it down. So, when I want to dispose of something, I'll usually proceed more or less like this.
I can't resist saying a few more things about trash cans and recycling. First, trash cans are a perfect example of separation of functions. It would be a huge pain to have just one trash can per house (or per neighborhood, or per city); obviously the right thing to do is to have many trash cans, one for each location where trash is generated.
Second, I'd like to tell you about the trash cans in my apartment. I have five of them: three in the kitchen area (one for trash, one for each kind of recyclable), one by the desk, and one in the bathroom. The interesting thing is, the one by the desk is for recyclable paper, not trash; somehow I realized that I don't generate much trash there.
The other thing I have in my apartment is a dispose pile. The name isn't perfect, since “dispose pile” isn't really parallel to “trash can” (but is to “recycle bin”), and since sometimes the “pile” consists of one thing, or none; but that's how I think of it. What's the pile for? Well, it often happens that I'll have some thing, and want to dispose of it, but not want to make the effort at that exact moment. In that case, I'll throw it on the pile. Then, when the pile is large enough, I'll go through and dispose of everything all at once.
Actually, having a dispose pile provides three related but different benefits. First, as I said, it allows me to delay the effort of disposing. Second, it allows me to delay the effort of deciding how to dispose. That's usually not a large effort, but sometimes I just don't want to be bothered. Third, having a dispose pile can reduce effort as well as delay it. If I have two books, I can take them to the library together, saving one trip; and similarly for other things. (I'm sure that has something to do with multiple passes.)
That's all I have to say about the idea of disposing of things.
How I Cleaned My Room
Modern Form, The
@ December (2007)