Amy Beth

April 28, 2013

Project Simplify – The Piles

It was left ignored, rising higher and higher over time. Each new layer built precariously on top of the unstable structures below. It was so dense and tightly packed that the sun could not penetrate to the earth beneath. To look at it from a distance made you marvel at the mystery of what could be inside.

[Kowloon Walled City][1] was a modern marvel of organic urban living. Not organic as in non-toxic and good for you. Organic as in it seemed to have a life of it’s own. It was built on top of an ancient Chinese fortress in Hong Kong. During the British rule of Hong Kong, it was one area that was left outside of British control. But the Chinese government didn’t enforce control on it either. So for years it fell between the cracks, ignored by all organizations and regulators. It became a haven for people with shady job descriptions, or anyone who couldn’t make it in greater Hong Kong. Rent was cheap, it is is said that it was once the most densely populated area in the world, with 3,250,000 people per square mile. In order to fit all those people in such a small space building codes were grossly violated and homes were built one on top of the other and squeezed in between existing buildings until it became one massive interconnected structure.


There are a lot of parallels between Kowloon Walled City and the giant pile of cardboard I decided to tackle this week for [Project Simplify](


We kept the cardboard in the garage – a place that has been virtually ignored by the ruling members of this household. There was always an intent to recycle it, but after leaving a small amount on the curb only to have it ignored by the recycling pick-up man, we gave up on him. We would just have to take it to the collection area ourselves. Someday, when there was time. And the cardboard pile grew…

Between moving into the house less than a year ago, celebrating Christmas and birthdays, and a fondness for doing all of our shopping through Amazon Prime, we accumulated a LOT of cardboard. It started off mildly organized and neatly stacked, but soon became unwieldy. You couldn’t move one piece aside for fear of causing the entire structure to topple. I was a little afraid of what might be living in there.

But this weekend I tackled it. Here’s how it went down:

##Materials needed for this project
* a box cutter
* the trunk of a large vehicle
* a trash can for non-recyclable packing materials
* a sleeping baby

*Note:* a baby is not necessary for this project, but if you have a baby you want it to be sleeping.

* Open your trunk
* Put cardboard in trunk, using the box cutter to break down boxes as necessary
* Drive it to the recycling place and unload

I don’t know why we allowed ourselves to accumulate such a pile. Especially since there’s a cardboard collection bin *literally 1 minute from our house.* Sigh.

Oh well. The pile has been demolished, just like Kowloon Walled City. Both became too dangerous to allow to go on. Kowloon Walled City is now a park. I’m hoping just to keep that spot in my garage empty.

![after pic](

I’m taking part in Project Simplify on [Simple Mom](

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

[Check out some other piles that have been conquered here.](

[And here was my last post for Project Simplify: That Pesky Closet](

3 responses to “Project Simplify – The Piles”

  1. Izzie says:

    Next time you have good moving-type boxes, lots of folks in town could use them 🙂 …also, we gave up on the local recycling system when we signed up at City Hall for utility stuff and they said they didn’t have any recycle cans…we just drop off stuff every couple weeks at Kroger (usually after church on Sunday). Thanks for the encouraging post, a reminder that a small act can relieve a big burden, just needs to get done!

    • Amy says:

      I actually have a smaller and more manageable pile of cardboard boxes that are in good shape for moving. If you need some, let me know!

  2. […] Once I got my pile of cardboard taken care of in the garage, I was able to find some space to store the Christmas tree lights. It only took a couple minutes to bring in the trees and coil up the extension cord. I’m not sure why this project was put off as long as it was. But there you have it. […]