February 13, 2007

Accomplishment for the evening.

I'm not a hoarder, but certainly, I am a collector, though I'd rather not be thought of as such. I have a few collections that I considered modest, but are actually probably larger than I thought (books), or larger than what most people have (costuming). But these are the sorts of things I don't mind collecting. I love them, they represent me, and fill me with joy. And while I don't actively go out seeking to "expand my collection" of these things, I don't mind adding to them if/when something jumps out at me. There are other collections in my possession that have just collected around me, that are distasteful because they clutter and fill my space without meaning, without love. These are the collections that I can't get rid of by simply throwing out because of the frugal and environmental part of me that doesn't want to throw the 'junk' away if it's still useful, even if I hate it or would never use it otherwise. Included in these collections (embarrassment that there are more than one or two) are the cleaning agents and laundry softener left behind by former tenants; soaps and lotions given as gifts that smell way too strong to be pleasant; briefcase full of free greeting cards from charities; wrapping paper tubes left over from my grandparents' house when they died; oh, and all the pens and pencils that I'm determined to get the last bit of ink/lead out of before tossing. I also have a soap dish with no less than 6 chapsticks on it.

I like being environmentally/consumer-conscious, and that keeps me from getting rid of the collections any faster than just using the products/items til they're gone. However, I've also become more aware of my tendency to allow these collections to build as well as my distaste for them to be present at all. It's rather a conundrum--I still like dumpster diving, which doesn't necessarily help (not that I don't get marvelous things that I DO need that way), and I've got 26 years of habit built up. I've been in the 'college' mindset of finding things that will do, even if they aren't pretty (tupperware dressers), or as practical (old short stool instead of a coffeetable) as the real thing, for a while now, and it's difficult for me to let go of the old things as I replace them with nicer things. Or, let's get real here, I've just found a use now for 2 things instead of 1. The one-in-one-out rule doesn't apply in my head because I can't bear the thought of giving up (for instance) an old banged up door when it makes a perfectly good desktop, even if I were offered a brand new awesome 'real' desk. In anycase, I try my best not to add to the cruddy collections, but only work on USING and thereby getting rid of the ones I already have. I keep little rules in my head like 'use the green pen instead of the blue one, it has less ink in it and you'll get rid of it sooner," or "save your favorite lotion for when you're with Ben, use the crappy gross lotion up in the meantime," and so on. It is with great satisfaction, therefore, that tonight I used the last drops of a hair conditioner bottle, a toothpaste tube, and an aerosol can of body lotion (see? does anyone really BUY that?!), and even got to toss one of the containers in the recycling bin.

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