Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sunset in Portland and Thinking About Junk

Last night's sunset. It was a beautiful day here. Lots of sunshine. Today the Salvation Army truck comes to pick up the rest of the junk in the garage. I have to stay here all day as they won't narrow it down more than that. I don't mind because it is beautiful here at my son's house. I will be glad when they take all this stuff away because I keep rummaging around out there, finding things to haul back into the house. I do that. I am terrible about getting rid of things. If someone at a yard sale finds an object interesting, I immediately regret that I put it out for sale.  I think of myself as a preserver. I can easily cross over into the hoarder category.  Okay. I admit it. I am a hoarder. It is a good thing I don't own a house, or a car. All I have are two suitcases here and they can only carry so much stuff! (I hope my son doesn't read this. I even hid a few very special things in the corner of his garage. I just couldn't throw them out. Maybe I will be able to let them go on my next trip up here. Out of sight; out of mind. What can I do with the things in my son's garage when I am living in Mexico? Crazy, but I never said I was rational.)

What I notice about junk is that if you care for something enough, you can usually revive it. (Most Mexicans know this. It is partly how the economy works in Mexico and why yard sales are so expensive there.) Also, once I get rid of something I will need it within the next few days or weeks. The housemate here is an architect. He put an old plotter in the sale. A plotter makes blue prints. They are very expensive when they are new but they have to be connected up to computers. This old one wouldn't work on a newer computer. His boss told him to get it out of the office.  He put it in the garage here. He tried for weeks to sell it but no one wanted it. He said, Give it away. I need it out of here and I can't sell it. Someone, (a Mexican) took it the first day. And guess what, two days later the housemate came in and said, Today I was offered me a hundred dollars for that plotter.

I have experienced this phenomena time and time again. Something that I haven't used for years, once it is out of the house, within days, I need it.  Thus, the hoarding instinct.

Also, if you care for an object, and give it your attention, it starts to be useful. A good cleaning can do wonders for things. Simple repairs can make useless things valuable again.  I believe that I inherited this quality from my father. He would haul a truck load of junk to the dump and return with it refilled. I used to love to go to the dump with him. I don't know if they allow people to wander around in the dump anymore. But at that time I got to play the old pianos and jump on the piles of tires. It was fun. But when we returned home my mother was always furious. She was the minimalist. It is good to have both in one family. Otherwise, things get out of hand.

I had a half brother. I didn't meet him until he was in his sixties. He passed away right after he retired. He was my father's son. He looked like my father. He acted like my father. He was a garbage man all his life. I know there is a better word for that job but I can't think of it at the moment. He loved junk, like my father. Like me. His wife said he was always bringing home broken radios to fix and other things. I have another brother. He is like my mother and he isn't like us at all. The realist. The minimalist. A police officer all his working life.  Funny how so much is inherited. When I met my half brother I felt as if I had known and loved him all my life. We were so much alike. Left handed, emotional, kind of scattered, junk lovers......Also dreamers.

Sometimes I think that junk is a lot like people. If you focus your love and energy on people, they shine. They are healed, fixed.  It is all in what you value. People and things respond to love and attention.  That is my theory.


  1. Hey. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It's a GOOD thing! Keep doing it. On my last trip to the dump, I wanted to climb up to the upper parts to retrieve some cane furniture/baskets someone had tossed. I couldn't because 1)I was afraid of gangrene infection from stepping on rusted items and 2)my better sense prevailed. But - I thought: Reuse! They GAVE that away???!!

    You're invited over here to help me figure out what it is I HAVE to have in Mexico, what I should put in storage ... or give to whomever & save the storage costs - once you get your rear over here! I'm thinking it's all pretty much 'decorative' and 'nice to own' - but I don't NEED it - at all. But maybe the crockpot?!! Nope, too heavy to lug there - and I can make 'whatever' in a skillet.


  2. Hi Gayle, Sounds like you too may be a saver. I will see you soon....Thanks for writing. Patricia P.S. When I was in Mexico I really wanted a crock pot. Thought I needed one. Now I see that I don't want it or need it. Give it away.