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.
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”
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…