Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Waste Not, Want Less

I thought I was the one with a problem.  Turns out, not so much.

I admit to my own pack-rat tendencies, and, judging by my inability to toss out those 5th grade book reports, I have reason to need to admit those tendencies.  I still have my baby blankets.  I have most of my stuffed animals.  I have saved every ribbon, Student of the Week button, and scrap of a note from friends passed in class.  I have nearly every card ever given to me.  It has all added up to one very full closet in our little apartment.

When someone recently told me that I was wasteful for getting rid of things I don't need, I was pretty taken aback!  How am I being wasteful?  How am I getting rid of things I don't need when I have a whole closet full of things I'll rarely look at or use?  This makes no sense!

And then I learned what it means to be a hoarder.

I am, dear reader, not a hoarder.  I have kept some sentimental items in a tidy closet that can be opened and closed without fear of an avalanche.  My accuser?  Three rooms of what is arguably junk that must be saved because he "might need it someday."  I saw books from 1910, so far outdated and faded that they will never be read.  I saw box upon box of outdated office supplies, pens long dried up and pencils chewed to within nanometers of breaking.  Speaking of boxes, he had been hoarding empty boxes.  Just boxes.  Nothing in them.  In a pile.  I could have built a respectable box-igloo out of them, one large enough to stand in, lay down in, maybe even divide into rooms.

I'm all for boxes, especially when I have to move, but this was all too much.  My heart broke knowing that each one of those boxes probably held some sort of sentimental value (if a plain ol' cardboard box can do such a thing).  I realized that my pack-rat tendency was actually "normal" and that I am not being wasteful for discarding unused or unwanted items.  His idea that I'm "throwing everything away" is erroneous.  It is okay to donate old clothes that I don't wear anymore or that no longer fit (shrinking jeans, I'm looking at you).  It is healthy to purge kitchen gadgets that are broken, unused, or can be of more use to someone else.  I don't need to keep empty laundry soap jugs or milk cartons or tin cans.

Wasting not and wanting less is a good thing.

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