Simple Living Works!

Simple Living Works! EXTRA

Posted on: May 11, 2017

Simple Living Works! EXTRA

May 10, 2017

In This Issue:

• What Is SLW! EXTRA?

• Garage Sales and the War Machine

• DoubleDown on Extreme Regressive Red States

• BONUS Resources

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SLW! EXTRA is an occasional blog (in addition to the weekly Simpler Living Weekly Nudge and SLW! Digest) that contains slightly longer items than the other two components of the SLW! Blog. It’s similar to SLW! Blog before June, 2015.

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DoubleDown on Extreme Regressive Red States: “Bloodlust Arkansas,” “No Sanctuary Texas” and former democracy North Carolina

The “avoid” status of red states has been doubled for states that have recent egregious acts:

• Arkansas for murdering multiple inmates before the state’s death drugs expired

• Texas for outlawing any sanctuary cities or counties

• North Carolina legislature for stripping its newly elected governor of normal powers

For more on the “I Buy Blue. How About You?” campaign, visit . . .

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Garage Sales and the War Machine

Part of the ritual of spring cleaning is the garage or yard sale. A couple of motivators include 1) purging excess stuff from our homes, and 2) recouping some of the money we’ve spent on that excess stuff.

What also happens is that such sales are a way to pick up more excess stuff cheaply from our neighbors. They’re called “bargains.” In some cases, hoarders and pre-hoarders are tempted to continue their addiction.

Such thinking is part of American Deceptionalism, a syndrome promoted by corporations and their salespeople, the advertising industry. (Yes, it’s related to American Exceptionalism, which means we can get whatever we want whenever we want, a modern version of the brutal Manifest Destiny myth, which allowed our forebears to steal land and other resources from indigenous peoples and then slaughter them if they resisted.)

American Deceptionalism is the lie that we will be happier with more stuff. Americans are deceived through advertising and peer pressure to buy more and more, even to go into debt, for the sake of convenience, status, “the economy” and other illusions.

A far better way of getting rid of excess stuff is to give it away to 501-c-3 non-profits that then sell it in Thrift Stores at low prices to people in need or people who have lower needs, wants and expectations. These charities are equipped to redistribute useful items in a way that even needy people can afford. Much more efficiently that garage/yard sales.

Besides the ease of giving excess away — much easier than garage/yard sales — is the reason that one can deduct the fair trade values of the items from one’s tax return each year — thereby keeping more tax money away from the American WAR MACHINE. (Especially since the “Defense Dept.” already gets 50% of all federal budget discretionary dollars and is on track to be force-fed even more.)

This technique only works, of course, if one itemizes deductions, which is not difficult but does require some effort. The deduction will likely be as much or more than the cash from the sale, excluding all the effort to tote and price the stuff and then staff the sale.

Itemizing deductions is used most effectively by corporations and the rich! The tax changes proposed by the new administration in DC preserves charitable deductions. Non-profits would be lost without them.

This is one of the few tools that the 99% of tax payers have to keep their dollars from being used at whim to use the military to defend the interests of the wealthy and corporations around the world. Though they are called “job creators,” corporations exist primarily to generate profits for their executives and shareholders, the wealthy.

If one chooses to take only the standard deduct instead, then give excess stuff to a willing friend, neighbor or relative to give to GoodWill. They can take the deduction for their efforts of delivering the items and then the bookkeeping of itemizing deductions.

A more effective and more difficult way is to choose to live more simply — not to collect excess stuff — and to give the cash to non-profits to help the needy, thereby generating a tax deduction too.


When choosing a charity for your surplus items, consider your values and theirs. In our area we have numerous choices. The Gospel Mission does excellent work feeding and housing the indigent. It runs a excellent Thrift Show. However, as a conservative Christian group, it refuses to hire gays or lesbians. Unlike most others, they will pick up at one’s home. They will only give a receipt if you have an itemized list , which is not a problem for a couple of book shelves. For 50 boxes of miscellaneous, that’s a problem.

Catholic Charities runs an excellent Thrift Shop, however the Roman Catholic Church is anti-gay, anti-choice and patriarchal. Salvation Army serves the indigent in numerous ways, however their theology is generally conservative. The Junior League, a civic organization not a religious one, runs a fine Thrift Store. The League is quite inclusive in philosophy and practice. GoodWill is a national organization with religious roots that trains many challenged people. Though it has been accused of some corruption in its national organization, it is generally quite worthwhile and honorable.

Give books to Planned Parenthood and to Public Libraries, many of which have huge annual used book sales and give receipts.

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BONUS Resources

Shopping Doesn’t Make Us Happy by Frances Lo, 8 May, 2017

Deep Green Resistance Book Online for Free

COMING on SLW! Podcast — Adrienne Raimo of Columbus Minimalists (5/15)

What’s NOW with SLW!

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