Wednesday, March 6, 2013

All Kinds of "Junk"

What exactly is "junk?" A common definition - old, broken and useless things.  I remember when we were cleaning out the in-laws house.  We had a dumpster and were throwing what we considered "junk" into it.  Since it was just my hubby, Lauren and I cleaning out a three-story house, with a basement and a two-car garage, we called a company that cleaned out houses of its contents.  A man and woman showed up. They weren't interested in the inside of my in-laws house (like I had hoped).  Instead, they jumped into the dumpster and started fishing around in there. They were pulling all kinds of things back out of the dumpster and wanting to pay us for it.  I don't think they thought any of the stuff in there was old, broken or useless :) Okay, how many of you out there have a "junk" drawer?? That's the drawer (usually in your kitchen) that seems to be a catch-all for items that don't have anywhere else to go. The drawer under where we keep our phone is our "junk" drawer.  I have been meaning to clean that drawer out for a while, so earlier this week, I took it in to the family room, dumped the items out onto the floor and started sorting through it.  I found 32 pens, 5 markers, 15 colored pencils, 32 pencils, 12 Crayola Twistables, and 11 crayons. Added all together that makes 107 items!!!!!!!! Good grief, that's ridiculous :) I think half of the pens don't work and a lot of the pencils have no erasers.  I also counted four handheld calculators - two from what looks like the dollar store, one that was my in-laws and one that I don't know where it came from.  I also found three packs of staples and parts of five decks of cards.  I found lots more items, but I'll spare you any more of the details.  How about "junk" jewelry?  A lot of that type of jewelry is really beautiful. What about "junk" mail? We get at least a few pieces of that kind of mail everyday.  Oh, I can't leave out "junk" food!  That's all the kinds of food that are bad for you, but taste good!! One of my favorite shows on cable is American Pickers.  If you've never heard of it or watched it, it's a show about two guys who sift through people's "junk."  They buy items, repair them and resell the items at their shops. I find that show fascinating.  I'm still astounded that people will put perfectly good things out on trash day in my neighborhood.  Even if you think the item isn't usable, there might be someone out there that can use it.  We donate items to the Volunteers of America.  Goodwill and the Salvation Army collect items too.  There is a company called 1-800-GOT-JUNK.  According to their website, since 1989 they have saved over 1.5 billion pounds of "junk" from landfills. Wow, that is a lot!!  I signed up Dominic's school with a program called www.terracycle.com. You can even print a mailing label, so there are minimal shipping costs (just the cost of a padded envelope or box). Right now, I send them used Capri Sun pouches.  The next time you think about throwing something out because you think it's "junk" take a few extra minutes to determine if it really can't be recycled or reused.  You just might be doing something good for the environment!!

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