Treasure trove or just junk?

Today’s post was originally inspired by a daily google wander, now several weeks ago. The gentle author at Spitalfields Life is a writer whose blog I drop in on from time to time. I must I thought share his post about a legendary junk shop closing its doors. It seemed a perfect fit to a tale of drowning in stuff.

So Long, Des & Lorraine’s Junk Shop …   Spitalfields Life

I planned back then in this blog to ask and answer the question ” When I look at this picture from his blog am I horrified or delighted? “. A short post, with the answer a simple enchanted but …, then comparison with my own world and encouragement to keep to my 5 a day. However, since then found this story about junk on the BBC News  too.

bbc junk

Up to 600 tonnes of rubbish has been dumped under a bridge near a regional park.    BBC News

The BBC article made me question the direction this decluttering journey was taking me. My response and I suspect yours dear reader was very different to the two articles Why is that? I think one reason is because in the first (even if you disagree whether it is true) there is an assumption the stuff still has value, that it can still be re-used, repaired even upcycled.  It is a tale with hope for the future. In the other the stuff has been discarded and is useless rubbish. Instead of being a valuable resource ‘that stuff’ is now a problem to be dealt with. I questioned whether that difference is right. In that pile of rubbish , wood, a chair, useful stuff … if only people (that’s you and me by the way)  had made a different decision when it was time to let go of their stuff there might be no problem to solve.

I have thus come to realise that I’m ‘drowning in stuff’ in part (other reasons are for another day) because it really isn’t that easy to repair, repurpose, recycle stuff in the twenty first century.  Unwittingly,  ‘labour saving progress’ has instead made it so much easier and cheaper to just throw stuff away with no regard for where away is or the environmental price to be paid.  Quite unintentionally, this journey appears to have taken me on the road to eco warrior rather than consumer minimalist.  In seeking to de-stress by destuffing  I’ve come quickly to realise that just throwing stuff away might be an easy solution but ultimately not one that will make me feel any better about myself , one of the reasons for travelling on the road to unclutterment in the first place.

So what to do. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so its not enough to recycle. Ideally I would repair or re-purpose first and if necessary make my own recycled plastic stuff like this West Virginia dad does too.


My mission from now will to clear my space not by  just throwing stuff away but somehow  I will do so while reducing the amount of  de-cluttered stuff being buried for future generations to discover. I know this will be a challenge and expect to fail more often than I succeed.  A more modest one a day re-somethinged will be my aim or even one a week saved from the tip.  I will comfort myself with the thought that even one a week could start to bring the waste juggernaut to a halt even if there is still a long way to go to turn it around and get back to where the wrong turning was made. As ever words easy, action more of a challenge. Time for blogging done but I will let you know how I fare if you return another day. 

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