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Updated: Mar 31

Over the past 14 months, I've been cleaning out my childhood home in Massachusetts and trying to find new homes for so many different things. Some things, like collectibles, are really easy to find a home for. But some things have a value that not everyone can see. Enter the pile of scrap wood.

For many, this was just bound for the dumpster. But having built a house with all used materials, I knew that someone would be interested in it. I tried selling the wood at an online estate sale that I hosted, but there were no takers. And since I wasn't in a rush to get rid of it, I tried my luck on Facebook Marketplace. Sure enough, I got a bite almost immediately.

When Mitch Delorey came over to pick up the wood, I asked him what he was going to be doing with it. He told me that he repurposes furniture and makes custom pieces with old wood. So knowing that, I asked if he might be interested in an old broken dresser from the attic that even I thought wasn't worth rescuing. Mitch thought different and he ended up getting that too.

During my time cleaning out the house, I've connected with dozens and dozens of people who find uses for used things. And now I knew one more. It feels so good to know that all of these items that have been sitting for years will get another life and become something special to someone; not just end up in the landfill. Just like so many things in life, it all goes back to communication; something I'm a huge believer in. (There's a reason I named my brand STAY VOCAL after all.) The more we talk to each other, the more we can work together and the more positive change we can create. Communication is how we build community, which is exactly what I have been doing with all of the reusers, upcyclers, repurposers and restylers in the area.

If I had just sold Mitch the scrap wood and moved on, I might never had known what he does for work. And let me just say that Mitch has become a huge help in cleaning out the house for the past 6 months! We've been able to clear a lot of room and make some money and he's been able to acquire plenty of materials for his projects.

Most recently, Mitch purchased a few industrial work tables from us. To see these get another life was pretty great for me. I've had quite the history with these tables. When I was little, I had my G.I. Joe Aircraft Carrier on one of them. When I started skateboarding, I used them as the platform for a ramp that I made in the basement. And in my adult years, they held my STAY VOCAL T-Shirts. I look forward to seeing what they'll become next.

A 13-year old Alex. And FYI, the Aircraft Carrier was still on the table.

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  • Writer's pictureAlex Eaves

Updated: Mar 31

We've all heard that we need to take responsibility for our actions. But we also need to take responsibility for our possessions. We cannot just consume and then plan to wipe our hands of these things when we leave a home or this planet. We can't just leave it for someone else to deal with. We owe it to our families. We owe it to our friends. We owe it to our communities. And we owe it to our planet.

Over the past few years, I have visited numerous dwellings that were filled with possessions; houses that were sold as is, houses filled with giant collections and most recently, a dwelling of someone who had passed away. Yes, there is the excitement of the treasure hunt looking through these places. But at many times, it has been frustrating, exhausting and even sad, to try and figure out things to do with all of the stuff. I am personally caught in the middle, as I don't want so much new stuff to be made, but I also don't want to see all the stuff already here end up in the landfill. And so much of the stuff I have seen is unfortunately trash to begin with.

Sure, not everyone can plan for a sudden move or death. But anybody reading this can take steps. We ALL need to look at the impact that we individually create and truly accept that we can't take any of it when we go. Do we want our loved ones to have to deal with it? Do we want the items that we spent money and time on to simply be given away to strangers or potentially trashed? Do we want people feeling angry at us for leaving it for them to deal with? Do we want our legacy to be stuff?

Wouldn't it be better to get these things to people who would enjoy them and give them a second life, while you're still living yours? It will make them feel good and that will surely make you feel good. And doing good as a human is a great legacy to leave.

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