To be of use

I’m not a hoarder, but I am a saver. If something can be of use, I tuck it away, probably with other objects like it, and wait for the moment when it is needed. I am constitutionally opposed to waste of almost all kinds–food, containers, paper, water. I attribute this trait to my first nanny, a farmer who grew her own food, raised chickens, and had a rubber band ball, string ball, and made cinnamon treats from the extra pie crust.

Yep, original 1950’s tile in the bathroom.

This ribbon was wrapped around the washcloths that I bought for the boys. Some woman in East Asia tied this blessed ribbon around a bunch of washcloths so they could be priced a bit higher. (Really, this is what I think to myself when I see this kind of packaging.)  And I can’t bring myself to throw it away.  It feels like disrespecting the time and energy–literally–that went into making it.  It’s a perfectly good ribbon that could find a host of uses.

At home, I have a ribbon box in my sewing closet. It’s exactly what you’d expect: a box filled with ribbons and other bits of trim that I’ve collected from shopping bags, packages, garments beyond repair or cleaning. And I sew just enough, usually gifty things, that bits of ribbon come in handy.  My box isn’t particularly big–the size of a shoebox–and ribbon gets cycled through it with enough regularity that I don’t feel the need to purge in the 10 years I’ve owned it.

So this ribbon presents me with a challenge. I don’t have my ribbon box.  I think it was salvaged, so I’ll get the ribbon back and will need to buy a new plastic box.  But right now I don’t have a ribbon box.  Do I buy a new one?  And then move it?  How much ribbon do I think I’ll end up with in four months?  These questions would be easier if I just got over it and threw stuff away, and I did for the first 10 days or so after the fire.  But now, after seeing dumpster load after dumpster load of stuff being hauled out of our house, that deep-seated conservationist is rousing and doesn’t want to throw the ribbon away.

And, if you’re interested, the title is inspired by a beautiful poem of the same name.  Hear Garrison read it here.

One thought on “To be of use

  1. Dan says:

    Ha! I feel your pain. I love finding ways to repurposed bags and boxes. And not composting since we moved has been rough. But life is full of tradeoffs and I also figure my days on earth are as limited as the junk is limitless so that clears my conscience some. Perhaps you can repurpose a plastic bin of some sort, one normally recycled, as a temporary bin? A nod to your current situation and a type of getting back to normal…

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