I Am An (Environmental) Hoarder

| 12/14/2011 9:55:31 AM

Tags: re-using, saving, cleaning, Cam Mather,

We finally had some snow on the ground (although it’s almost all melted away again) and so I can take a break from garden work. I’m not in “firewood” mode yet, so I have been taking it easy and getting caught up on some reading.

Then we decided to re-claim some of our Aztext Press books that we have been storing at our printer’s warehouse. They charge us for warehousing them and since there were a few half-empty pallets we thought we’d have them shipped here. That meant that I needed to build a few more shelves downstairs in the guesthouse for storage. Which meant that I had to clean out a big area. The area was full of empty boxes that we use to ship books out. Any time that we see good boxes at the grocery store, we grab them to use for shipping. Our collection of boxes started out small and grew exponentially. And of course, anytime anyone shipped anything to us, I’d save the box. Needless to say, the pile of boxes was enormous.

So I finally said, “enough” and did a major purging. I recycled a lot of them and knocked down some of the best candidates to be reused when I need them. There were so many boxes that had been there for years and that I’d never used. I started questioning my decision to have kept them for so long.

This was reinforced when I shifted my focus to the garage, which hadn’t had a good cleaning since we moved in here 14 years ago. I had tidied it up just enough to be able to fit the car in again this fall, but it was a tight squeeze and the side of the car scraped the garbage cans as I pulled it in. The biggest mess was the recycling area. I have plastic bins for all the regular stuff, but I also have a big plastic bag of aluminum cans that we take to a local animal shelter as a fundraiser, and a box full of the wine and beer bottles that I collect from the side of the road, some old motor oil I needed to recycle, boxes of old catalogs, magazines…. The boxes and bags of materials seemed endless.

Glass jars, of course, should be in the recycling bin. But I love glass jars. I save a lot of seeds so I don’t like to recycle jars just in case I need them for seeds. It doesn’t matter that I have boxes of glass jars stored in the horse barn. Nope, I’ll just save this great pasta sauce jar, “cause I might need it” in the future.

I have a genetic predisposition to this hoarding behaviour. My Grandpa Micklethwaite saved everything. I can remember helping to clean out his basement after he was gone and my Grandma was moving out of the house. It was a dream job for a kid like me. He had amazing stuff, including Playboy magazines from the 1940s and 50s that were so old the revealing images of ladies in one-piece bathing suits were actually illustrations and not photos. I’ll bet they’d be worth a mint now.

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