Monday, January 19, 2009

Landfill

Something pretty to look at, because the subject is ugly.

The Mister and i braved the wilds of our basement this past weekend and threw away a ton of stuff.


No, I mean we literally threw away a TON of stuff. Okay, i exaggerate a tiny bit, we threw away 1,890 lbs of stuff. Plus 8 boxes of books were sold (we made almost $60!) a huge pile of mixed paper was recycled, the Goodwill received 12 boxes of yet more stuff, and even the three dead rats we found were put into the yard waste.


We received some upsetting news on Friday night and by Saturday night we were feeling rather pleased with ourselves and better able to deal with the news. Such, at least for me, is the power of organizing.


At the same time, i feel ashamed for all that junk that now resides in a landfill.


Before i buy anything ever again, i vow to ask myself, "Do i really want/need this. Remember that almost everything i buy i will end up throwing away, someday."


When i walk into a Walmart (which admittedly is not often) or a similar 'big box retailer,' my first thought is "landfill."


Although after our performance this weekend, i have no right to point fingers.

33 comments:

Princess in Galoshes said...

I'm sorry, Meno, for whatever your upsetting news is.

But I do think you have a healthy attitude towards "stuff." Not much you can do about what already exists, but you can definitely make smart decisions going forward. I am trying to do the same thing, although it's hard as my mother-in-law is a huge fan of buying and gifting plastic CRAP. I just got a couple new (crappy) Christmas ornaments from her the other day, because they were on sale at Target. sigh.

flutter said...

you are welcome to come camp in my delightfully uncluttered place, anytime you like

peevish said...

Wise words indeed.

Did you have to actually GO to the landfill? Because I never want to go to one again. Ever.

meno said...

princess, thanks hon, i appreciate that. Oh how i hate being gifted crap. I am a big fan of re-gifting.

flutter, why thank you. You better go make up the guest bed now.

peevish, no, we rented a van and took our shit to a transfer station. Which is pretty bad, but feels sorta carthartic.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

We could all do with much less stuff.

Sorry about your upsetting news and hope the ruthless purging of your basement helped.

Indigo Virgo said...

Too true. I'm even feeling cynical about donating stuff. I'm just sick of stuff. Period.

Doing better going forward. Sometimes, it's all we've got.

Hoping things get better.

fiwa said...

It amazes me the amount of stuff I am able to cram into a 960 foot home. I have taken bag upon bag to goodwill over the summer and fall - and yet there is still more. I think we get some points for recycling it to goodwill though. I made a promise to myself recently that for every do-dah or piece of decorative crap I bring in, two have to go. That has helped me curb it.

I'm sorry about your bad news, whatever it was. I'm glad you found a way to help you cope with it.

furiousBall said...

i hate that too. the fact that you recognized it is beyond what many accomplish

meno said...

hearts, oddly enough, it really did help. "When the going gets tough, the tough organize." My new motto.

de, i think about how man times i come INTO the house with stuff. No wonder it accumulates.

fiwa, it's endless. Does the stuff reproduce when left alone in closets??

furious, the consumer culture is pretty depressing, and most depressing when looking at aisles and aisles of more of it.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Can you share with my husband your wisdom on how to let go of things? He has boxes after boxes of stuff. I only have two suitcases because I absolutely hate filling up the landfill.
Nowadays, even foods are packed in plastics and I just can't bring myself to buy that.

The Real Mother Hen said...

The picture you have there - beautiful!

Maggie said...

I'm sorry for your bad news. I hope you guys are ok.

Sometimes I look around the house and wonder, if we moved, how much of this would I want to get rid of? And now that we live in a house instead of an apartment, I'm sure there is a whole heck of a lot more floating around here than I am even aware of. Not that I don't know what I own so much as, things accumulate before you know it. We'll just never move and hopefully we won't ever have to find out...

patches said...

Sorry to read about the occurrence of shit happening...I took a load to Goodwill Monday.... I need to take more, but since it isn't my stuff I want to take, I'll abstain.

deb said...

I call it cargo and no, I don't like it either. Cargo comes from a book by Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs and Steel".

I got rid of a lot of stuff when I moved out, now I have to sedate my husband and get rid of all his shit. I went over there today to get some paint and he has a basement full of crap that he doesn't know how to get rid of. He's a hoarder. So any good tips for sedating my husband? Valium in the wine?

Dick said...

One really good way to be forced to get rid of excess "stuff" is to become a fulltime RVer and move into a living space that is 8feet wide and 40feet (or less) long. Then you adopt a if something comes in then something must go out attitude to shopping. Of course many of those people also have really large storage units they rent.

Brad said...

Can we please outlaw planned obsolences? I'd like to be able to buy a dishwasher/microwave/tv/vacuum cleaner that can be repaired.

Oh, my bad. wrong century.

crazymumma said...

I wonder at the power of something that provoked such a purge. Is Em okay?

Scott from Oregon said...

We used to go to the Salvation Army sorting depot and watch the contents of people's garages and closets get pushed around with a bull dozer...

Robin said...

whatever your upsetting news was, i'm sorry for it and hope everything is okay.

the stuff you threw away? maybe i could've used it or needed it. you didn't even ask!!

it is SO hard for me to throw stuff away....even if it's your stuff.

Imez said...

Some of that stuff must have been furniture...I mean, couldn't have been 1800 lbs of cottage cheese cartons.

I still think we're awfully lucky to be the ones living in the society that can afford that much waste...but I'm usually the only person thinking that.

QT said...

I hope the bad news wasn't really that bad.

Doesn't it feel so, so good to get rid of a dumpster full of stuff, tho? GOD I miss that feeling!

Dianne said...

I'm hoping the news will turn from upsetting to gone.

I've been working on a bit of landfill myself.

TTQ said...

HOLY CRAP!

meno said...

mother hen, threaten to put your house on the market. That works every time. I'm glad you liked the picture

maggie, we are fine. It's amazing how much CRAP a house can swallow, only to burp it all back up at moving time.

patches, i completely understand about wanting to take someone elses crap to the Goodwill. Go ahead, he won't miss it.

deb, i should read that book. My husband keeps talking about it too. When i separated from my husband, one nice thing was that i only took what i wanted when i left. I hardly had anything. It was great. then we had to get back together. So i have all the stuff back.

dick, that would be one way to do it! Minus the storage unit.

brad, car, dvd player, computer. Yeah, i hear you!

crazymumma, Em is fine. The purge was not provoked by the news, it just helped me feel in control.

scott, amazing isn't it. Why do we think we need all that?

robin, dried up old paint cans, left behind from before we moved here. Old technical books that couldn't be recycled, bags of hardened cement mix. I don't think you needed any of this. I actually enjoy getting rid of stuff.

imez, no furniture; rusty cans of old screws, the poles from a sailboat that no longer exists, bits of cracked drywall, car brake parts, broken storage racks.... You are not the only one who thinks that we are lucky.

qt, no, not too bad. It does feel good. Cathartic.

dianne, i hope it will too. I think so.

Jeremiah said...

It makes me wonder, in a thousand years, how much of what's above will end up being below. Probably all of it, and a lot will just be junk. On the other hand, our landfills may end up being the thing that most accurately tells our story to those dwellers of a thousand years in the future.

luckyzmom said...

My husband has wanted a small chest freezer in the garage(7 cubic feet)for many months. I say, "Not until we clear out a space for it." Still waiting for that to happen. We don't work well together so neither of us has rushed out to the garage. So, I am truly in awe of your accomplishment. Good job. And I trust you will deal with the bad news with the strength we know you are capable of.

Irrelephant said...

Yes, but were any sea kittens harmed in the cleaning?

Tell you what--before you freeze to death up there come down here and hang out with us for a while. We'll take in Mardi Gras, go see the Jax Brewery, and in general not worry about landfills or big box retailers or the cold. Heck, we'll even go to Meyer The Hatters and buy you and The Mister swanky new fedoras.

egan said...

And when I make purchases now, I think to myself how easy the product can be recycled or not...

Irrelephant said...

Oh, and I just heard the news from BorgSoft--I'm assuming The Mister is still employed?

meno said...

ttq, yeah, exactly!

jeremiah, if we as a species still exist in a thousand years.

luckyzmom, i love that you've tied it to cleaning. Ain't gonna happen.

irrelephant, you make me an offer that is difficult to refuse. Sadly, while i look great in hats. The Misteris one of those who does not!

egan, god, how i hate some of the packaging!

irr, we're cool, for now. Thanks for asking.

Tink said...

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

...changed my life.

Diane Mandy said...

here here for the power of organizing!!

jen said...

it's all one giant landfill. very sobering indeed.

ps. meno, i hope all is ok. that you are ok. xo