One Man’s waste is another man’s treasure. So they say….
I am the first to admit, I hate waste. I was brought up in a home where we did not have much to spare, what little we did have was often passed on or found. As a consequence, My parents and grandparents we great at recycling, (and hoarding) so I guess that it became second nature to me to have second hand furniture, clothing and to learn how to give things a new lease of life, or just enjoy them when someone else had finished with them. Also to hang onto things, often until way past their usefulness has probably passed. When I grew up, it wasn’t known as recycling, that only became a popular phrase, as I was growing up, the phrase was learning how to just “make do and mend.” It instilled a certain level of practicality in us children, where we looked at how things were made and how they could be repaired or even turned into something completely new. So much of that seems lost now.
I am in turmoil. You see whilst walking the dog earlier, I came across a house which had been cleared. We walked past it yesterday too, or was it the day before. It looked interesting, the house had been sold and as a consequence emptied. Totally emptied! The front garden was now piled high with the belongings that someone had once held so dear. You see, to someone like me, there might be gold there! Some wonderful preloved thing, just waiting to be found. It is difficult for me to comprehend, how someone can just clear out and dump someones possessions all out in the garden. No Skip. Just loaded up so that they can barely get down the pathway, what on earth does that solve? The house is sold, clearly they didn’t want it but surely you would get a house clearance in, or donate to a charity instead, after all there are plenty of them around.
Lots of people would make use of these things. A washing machine, fridge, cooker, the odd nick-nack. I wish I had a truck and a spare pair of hands sometimes. Oh and a lock up.
Unfortunately we live in a wasteful society now, where everything is considered disposable, without thought or consequence. I find this difficult to deal with and try to find another option: re-use, recycle, re-purpose or donate. My other half thinks that I gather “unnecessary toot” wonders what I would do with it, but it just requires a little creative thought. I can see the potential in most things, this is both a blessing and a curse at times.
There are still poor people in the world, at times I am one of them. Those who don’t have much, are missing something in their home and cannot afford to go and buy it. Cannot afford the latest things for their children and yet still want to encourage, nurture and let them think outside the box. That someone might be grateful to sit on an old chair, with a new cushion, or repainted in a pretty colour.
They might want a suitable table where their child can paint pictures, draw or read a book in a quiet corner. That desk and chair might just be welcome.
Perhaps if I could get that truck, lock up and spare pair of hands, then I would have a curiosity shop, full of such things to inspire a new generation, that dumping stuff for the local youths to smash up and litter all over the roads, really is not the way forward. To needlessly destroy things of beauty that were once a cherished part of someone’s family home. Sometimes passed from generation to generation. Sometimes they are not worth anything at all, in monetary terms, but have huge sentimentality to others.
As I sit in my house, surrounded by items of furniture, either bought or collected through the years, mismatched it tells a story, or several. Some inherited, some replaced but all has it’s use and place within the home. New is not always better, it holds no story to tell. It’s life has only just begun, but does it have any staying power, will it endure? I would rather take steadfast old than crumbly new any day. They don’t make it like they used to.
I regret that I did not rescue a piece of furniture from the roadside a couple of years ago. It was robust, solid wood and well crafted. Made to Last and had done so since just after WWII a 1940‘s post war oak cupboard. It had been disposed of for days, I tried to think of a way of getting it home, since I could not lift it alone and my partner had damaged himself (as he often does) so was unable to assist me. Over a period of several weeks, the rain got to it, which split the wood. Someone poured something over it and the varnish began to peel. The drawers were removed and smashed upon the floor. Paint was then thrown all over it.
A few weeks later and the top was also pulled off and slung across the road, broken and beyond repair it was then stacked by a tree for the dustmen to take away. The furniture that had once stood proudly and polished, cared for in someone’s home. Gone forever… Such a waste. Things around here so often are, it causes great sadness.