As I mentioned in a February entry, I've been living rent-free in NYC since November last year. A like-minded friend and activist offered for me to stay with him at his Inwood apartment, in exchange for about 14 hours of work around his apartment.

Though he probably would not call himself a freegan, we certainly shared many tenets in our respective worldviews and lifestyles:

- extraordinary respect for the environment and human labor
- disinterest in consumerism and needless spending
- abhorrence of waste
- compulsion to reduce and reuse consumer goods (then, at the last straw, to recycle), and to compost food waste
- commitment to and participation in our neighborhood and broader "upstate Manhattan" community - supporting local businesses, merchants, artists, and farmers

And though he may not identify as a freegan himself, I found that there were many aspects of his views and praxis that resembled Freeganism in key ways, and which I may have much to learn from. I am no longer staying at his place, but I would like to share one of the last tasks he assigned, since it was such a great example of reducing/reusing in a creative and sustainable way.

How To Make Standing Files

What you'll need:
Food box/carton
Smaller boxes, perhaps originally for cookies or crackers, are a great size for envelopes or folded sheets of paper
Cereal boxes are generally a good size for regular 8.5/11" sheets
Ruler/tape measure

Step 1
Measure the width of the box. For example, let's assume 6".

Step 2
Holding your ruler to the side of the box (where the ingredients typically are), measure that length from the top of the box. Mark it or just take note. In our example, the 6" mark is right at the bottom of the white ingredients rectangle.

Step 3
Cut that same side down both edges to the spot noted in step 2.

Step 4
Step 4
Fold the side back, into the box, so that it reinforces itself. Make a hard crease so that it doesn't bounce up.

Step 5
Fold the front and back panels of the box into itself, reinforcing the insides. After folding, both top flaps of the box should be flush along the inside of the side panel that you did NOT cut.

Step 5
Step 6
Fill your new standing files with papers, notes, memos, or anything else that needs organizing. 

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