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WALL-E is a Teachable Moment for Children

Hello Organizing Fans, Welcome to 'Organize This!' I'm your blogger, Vali Heist, professional organizer for homeowners and businesses.
This is the blog that offers practical tips and ruminations about your CRAP! CRAP specifically means clutter that robs anyone of pleasure. So, let's get to it!
My rumination on CRAP today is from viewing the Disney movie WALL-E. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing the movie WALL-E, please do and don't forget to invite the kids to watch with you. After I watched it, I had to buy it so I had it in my professional organizer library. It has many wonderful, teachable moments, but I'll explain that in a moment.
WALL-E is a beautiful and deceptively simple story. It's not your typical Disney movie since there isn't much dialogue and the theme is pretty sophisticated for children, but I found myself glued to the screen and relating so much of the movie's story to my profession dealing with clutter.
WALL-E is set far in the future on a desolate, dust-covered, polluted Earth. The robot of the title is an inquisitive trash compactor who is the last living thing on Earth with only a little cockroach as his sidekick. He's alone because the earth could no longer sustain plant life to grow food and it became so full of 'stuff' and trash, that everyone moved out into space.
The scenes in space made me cringe because everyone is sitting on a lounge chair of sorts and they do everything including commuting to their job, eating and sleeping from their lounge chair. As a consequence, everyone is very overweight. But back to WALL-E on earth.
WALL-E diligently performs his daily tasks of compacting trash, which he was originally built for 700 years ago, and piling it as high as it will go. He also spends his time gathering 'useful' items for storage in his makeshift home. He has everything quite organized I must say. At one point in one of his adventures around the earth to find useful stuff, WALL-E finds a diamond ring in a jewelry box, looks at it, throws away the ring, and keeps the box since the box is more useful to him. The reality of his world is that even a diamond ring holds no value anymore.
There is so much more to WALL-E's story, but just that one theme of too much stuff speaks volumes about how we live today.
As important as Disney felt this theme of excess was, they decided to ignore it since there are plenty of WALL-E collectibles available for sale. There are currently over 600 WALL-E toys alone on eBay. When you add in all the DVD's, blu ray, and steelbooks, you are close to 1000 items. This is just what's on eBay. Even the DVD comes in four formats each with its own list price and a slightly varied mix of extras. Can you say "overkill"? What a powerful message Disney could have sent if they had decided NOT to flood the earth with WALL-E paraphernalia. Disney could have decided that for this movie, they weren't going to cash-in on all the CRAP they could make and then really drive home the point of the movie! But, No!
The reality is, who doesn't feel compelled to buy his or her kid the toy from their favorite movie, or the next upgrade or the new and improved model of whatever is hot this week? And is it any wonder that one of the phones from Verizon is called enV?  When you have the latest model or the newest upgrade, you are the 'envy' of everyone. That's what advertising teaches our kids everyday.
So what can we teach our children about excess? Our attitudes speak louder than words and in these tough economic times, we are all thinking more about the difference between needs and wants. Just like the WALL-E movie, there are teachable moments just waiting for us to take advantage of them. So for the practical tips of my blog today, here are a few suggestions:
       Go to the library for books instead of purchasing them.
       Use permanent water bottles instead of disposable water bottles.
       If you recycle, your kids will recycle; make it a priority.
       Do your decision making about your own purchases out loud. Your kids will learn how to discern whether something is a need or a want.
       When you upgrade your electronics, take your children with you when you donate or recycle the old model.
       When you watch television with your children, talk about the commercials and what advertisers are trying to convince us to do.
       After holidays and birthdays, have your kids go through their toys and donate them to a local charity.
       Before buying new clothing, have your children give you 5-10 items of clothing they will no longer wear and donate them to a local charity.
Why not try to start the New Year with a renewed effort to teach your children to take care of their precious earth. Your hard work will reap benefits that could last a lifetime and save our planet in the process!
Let's close with a quote today from a man who was a genius at explaining the obvious, George Carlin. He said "We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We have bigger houses and smaller families; we have more conveniences, but less time. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less." Let's see if we can buy less and enjoy more, even if it's only a little at a time.
Thank you for reading Organize This! Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Have a great day!

posted on: 8/14/2010 2:30:00 PM by Vali Heist
category: General Organizing Tips

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Organize This!

by Vali Heist

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About Vali:

Vali Heist is a Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She also writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called 'Ask the Organizer' and has a radio program called 'Organize This!' on BoomerGenerationRadio.com. Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production. Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.

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