When my three-bedroom house was built in 1888, there was a single closet at the end of a hallway. Partly that was because people tended to use armoires and other furniture to store things, but mostly people just didn’t have that much stuff.

Now we have so much stuff that offsite storage has become a big industry. We don’t use most of the stuff we own, and we throw things away at the first sign of wear. But everything we acquire took energy and raw or recycled materials to make, and everything that goes to landfills represents wasted resources.

Marie Kondo has the right idea: we should only have things that we value, whether it’s because they serve a practical function or they bring us joy. But the key isn’t just to get rid of what you don’t want, it’s to acquire more judiciously in the first place.

Be a conscientious consumer. Think about the lifecycle of the things you purchase—the resources that went into creating them, the people who created them, the packing materials used to ship them, the emissions spent transporting them, your use and enjoyment of them, and their ability to be reused or recycled when you’re done. Making good decisions about every part of that lifecycle can not only reduce emissions, preserve resources, and improve working conditions, but also clear space in our lives so that we can truly enjoy what we have.