Friday, December 30, 2011

Clutter has its Beneficiaries (me)

I've been bugging my mom to get rid of stuff. At the moment, as a minimalist-who-wants-to-actually-cook-and-dry-herself-and-not-sleep-on-the-floor I often generously offer to take it off her hands. Because "there's a lot you don't use day-in-day-out", I say. "And you can't honor the stuff in the garage". I think I got that from one of those zen websites. But the truth is, it's my old stuff in the garage. And I have absolutely no idea what it's like to have two children on opposite ends of the world (Boston and Kuala Lampur), where keeping their childhood stuff is tangible hope that they'll be around soon.

With no recycling pickup, there are plastic bottles spread around. And they get re-used, eventually, for something. I'm using coke bottles for self-watering containers, and they're awesome. I'm grateful for [my?] old fishbowl full of dust in the garage: Noah could get a guppy for his birthday or something. I'm grateful that my mom kept all our old kids books, Noah is suddenly able to concentrate through 20 minutes of stories at bedtime. I'm hugely, hugely grateful that my dad kept 12 strawberry plants and 3 extra granadilla seedlings and a "free" pomegranate tree and my million bonsais and a mishmash of old pots and so on. My parents actually don't put out much trash. With the sense that plastics can't just be dumped in the trash, and the competing sense that it's a pain to drive to the recycling center, I wonder if more is saved.

Anyway, here's to embracing some of the chaos of having (at least a few) things that you don't use every day. It's a stage of generosity.


Dan Archibald said...

Ha ha, yay for clutter! We're currently working on getting our collections a little more organized, but in general we appreciate having a wide variety of raw materials and tools to draw on for new, as-yet-undreamed-of projects. Though it's also good to have folks like you to show the alternative and keep us honest! :)

Stephen Murray said...

Jo I must introduce to my friends blog. She's in the southern suburbs and recently finished a masters in sustainable living:

You guys should come around for supper sometime. Next few weeks might be a little crazy as our little one is due in the next 2 weeks. I'll email you. Hope you're enjoying Cape Town.

Concrete Gardener said...

Thanks Stephen! Maybe we should have you guys over for lunch (or bring lunch over), rather =). You might be pretty busy for a while! Blessings on your wife as you goes through birth, and with both of you with the sleepless nights. Hope you get lots of time to adjust.

Concrete Gardener said...

Dan- yes to raw materials! I realized we can't make rags because we don't have... raggy stuff!

The summary:
Stuff I really miss:
Our kitchen stuff (slow cooker, rice cooker, pots and pans)
Drill and saw
Uniform white Hangers
Glass bottles
mop and broom

Stuff I could do without:
Most of our books.
old underwear and clothes from years past.
Much of our furniture