Saturday, March 22, 2008


I'm a hoarder. Hopeless at chucking things out. I'm always thinking I can find another use for things. Or a new home. In fact nothing gives me more pleasure than being able to find a new home for something I don't need anymore.

Throwing things in the garbage makes me anxious. I hate waste. I marvel at the ingenuity of people in the developing world who reuse almost everything. I hate garbage.

There isn't really anything that I can happily throw away - well maybe the wrapper around the meat from the butcher coz that really can't be reused. I used to shred all the paper waste I had but I've been a bit slack lately. The shreddings get used for nesting material for the chooks, then get composted in the garden. Sometimes I get really annoyed with the unsolicited mail you get from financial institutions, so I rip it up, carefully so you can still discern my name and address, then put it in the reply paid envelope they supply and send it back to them.

Between the dog and the chooks, there's no food waste, ever.

I chop up garden waste for composting, though have drawn the line at the Bougainvillea. Those big spikes stay sharp for years, and will go right through the soles of shoes. They get binned.

Clothes I have a problem with. I'm not a big buyer of clothes but I'm no good at getting rid of them. As a teenager I used to make my own clothes, crazy coloured trousers out of old curtains and handmedown dresses. I was an op-shop tragic as well. In fact people used to take great satisfaction in seeing what crazy outfit I turned up to school in that morning.

It's been a long time since the sewing machine saw some action (it was the first thing I bought with my brand new credit card when I started my first proper job). Working means money, which means buying clothes. 1987 was my first proper working year, and I still have a huge collection from then, though all the shoulder pads have been removed (the shoulder pads are in a bag sitting in the sewing box just waiting for a new use to present itself!!) Of course, if you wait long enough your clothes come back in fashion. Trouble with this is that what looked pretty cool in your early twenties looks rather sad on a forty year old.

The oldest thing I have in my collection is my school uniform from Year 10, complete with signatures that everyone wrote all over it. I also have my high school PE t-shirt, which I actually wore to our 25 year school reunion. Yes it fitted!!

My strategy with clothes is that they fall into different categories. There's the good stuff, the silk suits and formal dresses and the like, then there's the smart casual, then there's the casual and finally there's the grunge. Mostly, I wear grunge. That's the stuff that is to be worn around the house when doing the daily chores, gardening etc. Stuff can graduate to grunge pretty quicly, especially white t-shirts which seem to attract stains like a bear to honey.

And yes, there's life after grunge. Clothes stay grunge until they fall apart, literally. Not just a little bit, but a huge rip in the pants that means my butt is definitely too exposed, or an enormous rip in a t-shirt so my tits are hanging out. Small holes and rips are still wearable, at least around the house. Trouble is I often forget to change when I head off to the supermarket or Bunnings so you can imagine what a treat I look. Grunge is also worn to the beach, so my windsurfing friends get quite surprised when they meet me all scrubbed up in "normal" clothes.

Life after grunge is rags. You just can't have too many rags.

After rags? Compost!!

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