When you buy a small appliance or any technological gadget – a computer, a cell phone etc – the instructions include a requirement to keep the packaging it arrived in.

If I followed these instructions to the letter, I would need a room just for the boxes and Styrofoam padding from everything that has arrived in my home in the past few years.

The rationale is that if I need to return the item for repairs, it will be “properly packaged” for the trip. Otherwise, any problem that occurred during the shipping would nullify ‘guarantees’.

As I struggled recently with the question of what to do with my now large pile of packaging, I found myself wondering if everyone conforms to this requirement. Was I the only person looking around and wondering what to do?

I have begun lately, whenever possible, to ask the merchant to remove the packaging and keep it. This is easy with, say, shoes. But with some of the clear, hard plastic containers, it takes more persistence. The clerk generally has to find a serious cutting instrument – which also makes the point of how difficult it is to remove the packaging. I explain that I have no way of removing it at home.

Taking this small action eliminates my chronic angry reflections along the lines of “Why don’t they….” Or “They ought to….”, and then depression from feeling powerless to influence change. Now I take action, peacefully. Oh, and I talk about it and write about it.

Now my anger is only occasional and very mild. I use it to fuel my creativity instead of defeating myself and accepting powerlessness. Funny thing about action.

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