We live in a disposable society. Nowadays, nothing is really built to last. Cars break down. Cell phones mysteriously stop working just in time for that 2-year contract renewal. Clothes rip and fray and pull apart at the seams shortly after you cut the tags off and wash them for the first time. Top of the line computers are rendered obsolete about a week after you buy them and figure out how they work, because the newest model with all of the important and enticing upgrades is already hitting store shelves.
My generation and the generations that follow just sort of accept all of this as normal. We consume things almost as quickly as they are created, and we feel little (if any) remorse when we throw one thing away to buy the next.
Amazingly, things were very different just a generation or two ago. People who lived through hard times like the Great Depression and the Dirty Thirties were the polar opposite–saving and reusing and finding ingenious ways to squeeze the last bit of life out of each and every item they spent their hard earned money on. These people, people like my Grandma Luethje, did not believe in being wasteful. Things like empty butter tubs, plastic take-out containers, drinking straws, those plastic rings that hold six-packs together–things like that were not garbage to be tossed casually in the garbage. Instead, they were cleaned and stacked and put away and used and used and used and used.
We have now hit Day 4 of cleaning out Grandma Luethje’s house, and it is only now that we are even starting to see some progress. Even after the kids and the grandkids hauled away the furniture and the momentos that we chose to keep to remember Grandma and Grandpa, we already have one entire trailer overflowing with things to take to the landfill and get rid of, and another pile ready to be loaded when that one is gone. We have at least 12 long tables already full of things that we plan to sell, and many more to come. Even now, we continue to make new discoveries in every drawer, every cabinet, and every closet.
Somehow, my husband seems to find all the best treasures. As of now, this is by far, the best one on the list…
Today’s 365 Project is dedicated to my Grandma Luethje for being so very frugal and inventive, and to my dear husband for being such a good sport, even when he’s shoulder deep in pantyhose.