Monday, May 21, 2012

Garbage Galore!

So, this isn’t going to be the usual glamorous discussion we have on this blog (who am I trying to kid?), but garbage is something we can all relate to because we all make it.

Have you ever noticed how much of the stuff collects around your house in one day? It’s truly amazing. I live in a 23 ft. RV.  Not much room for garbage, you’d think. However, what prompted this subject was a day last week when I found I had taken three grocery bags out in the morning and still had two more by the end of the day. That’s one person’s accumulation in one day in a tiny living space.

I was flabbergasted (old fashioned word just to keep you on your toes)! How was it possible? Then I sat down and took inventory. Everything I consume comes in packaging. Those items are put into a bag before I leave the store (I don’t do cloth bags because I need the bags to use for garbage – ironic isn’t it?). Then there are the parts of the vegetables I don’t eat, the stems of the fruit, the fat and bones from the steak, etc. On top of that are the items that just get worn out or are no longer usable but not in good enough shape to be passed on to Goodwill or some other likely charity.

I have a friend who holds on to garbage. She can’t let go of it. There are piles of old papers, plastic bags, empty cardboard boxes. Her refrigerator is full to the brim with food that cannot be eaten and her shelves with scraps of this and that. Every corner is overflowing. She’s a relatively young person, not one of the Depression era folks we normally think of as having this affliction. My friend is a hoarder and garbage is her treasure.

Then there are those who look on everything they no longer want as garbage, without considering that it might be useful to someone else. I passed by a house today that had put out its garbage cans for pick up in the morning, and right alongside them was a perfectly good armchair and lamp (at least that’s how they looked to me as I rode by on the way to someplace else).

Many, many years ago, my husband at the time and I raised pigs. We were both going to school and money was extremely tight – rare even. We regularly raided the local grocery store garbage bins for things we could feed our pigs. One lucky night, we loaded the back of our pickup truck with 50 gallons of milk and so many loaves of bread that one fell over the side of the truck on the way home. We had very happy hogs the next morning.

So, garbage is a matter of perspective I guess. However, one thing is extremely clear to me. We are a wasteful and negligent society. I wonder just how many people could feed and clothe themselves, and furnish their homes from the stuff we simply toss out every day?


  1. I have a sudden urge to clean up. Hehe...with that said, I'm not the cleanest person in the world, so often times you may find pieces of garbage in my room (never food related) and you might think, "Why the hell hasn't she thrown that away?" Honestly, I don't know. Garbage wise it's funny, when we can't find anything in my house, someone usually says, "Well no one in this house throws things away, so it has to be here somewhere." so maybe that's where my inner pack rat came from. :)

  2. Oh, believe me I'm not a neat person. In fact, I think I'm probably pretty challenging to live - or was back in the day when I shared a home. And my desk at work used to be the office joke - but I knew where everything was. I was raised to save everything because I might need it someday. Living in an RV cured me of that! LOL

  3. I'm a fairly neat person. I have to be, we don't have a lot of space, but I do try not to waste. Waste bothers me a lot. I try to declutter regularly sending things to goodwill, and occasionally putting them on craigslist, before I will resort to the trash. Very little food goes to waste around here...I have 3 big sons and a hungry husband, so there are rarely leftovers.

    I've learned over the years, that the space is often of more value to me than the things that are taking up space, and when I keep to much stuff, I can't find what I need when I need it anyway, so I have to run out and buy it again, so.....I might as well get rid of it and enjoy the space!

    1. I had to laugh at your comment about not being to find the stuff when you need it anyway - this is my life!

  4. "We are a wasteful and negligent society. I wonder just how many people could feed and clothe themselves, and furnish their homes from the stuff we simply toss out every day?"

    I completely agree. I do not toss out clothes anymore. I donate all of the ones I don't wear. Bra and undies, not so much. I mean holes and such are not fun for anyone.

    As for food, I am terrible! I go through bouts of not eating and food expires by the time I'm ready to eat again. Also, I can't keep milk from spoiling to save my life. I have always hated milk, but I like if for cereal. well....I rarely eat cereal.

    Ugh. I hate trash. I am actually quite obsessive and I throw out things all the time. And of course, the next day my husband is looking for the things I just threw out...

    Great post.


    1. I love milk but have the same problem. I simply forget it's there.

      I've gotten to the point where I love tossing trash or giving things away. So satisfying.

  5. I agree. A lot of times we toss out things that while they may be trash to us, someone else might put it to good use. I think we definitely need to recycle and donate. There's nothing more liberating and gratifying than to clear away clutter and know that somewhere, someone is putting to good use the ceramic platter you never used. :)

  6. I so agree. Today I gave a set of four vintage juice glasses to my niece because they sat in a shoebox in my RV. They are beautiful and I know they'll be used a treasured now.

  7. Kathy. When my wife and I moved to Thailand almost 9 years ago the biggest trauma we went through was getting rid of all our stuff. It was hard on us both!

    I had my kids come over with instructions to take everything usable to Goodwill and any place else that could use our things. I left for the day so they wouldn't ask if I really wanted to give an item away. We had moved some of our treasures to storage-- where they still lie in wait for our return.

    The good news was when I came home I really didn't miss the things I couldn't see. I have no idea what will happen when we do move back to the States. There will be some very happy Thia poepl I'm sure.

    Great post!

  8. I had a similar experience downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to my little RV - but in the end it was the memorabilia I kept and little else. It was freeing for me.

    I have a bad habit of falling in love with little knick-knacks, keeping them for a awhile and falling out of love with them. That's when I'm able to pass them on to a new owner. Yay!