Old stuff to recycle

So the stuff I took out of storage? As you know, constant reader, I put it in different storage. If I get it out within a month it won’t be a problem. But that’s how they get you. I have to make sure they don’t get me. I’ve got under a month. People who like sorting out old things and have too much time on their hands, hit me up. I’m dedicating a fair few days to this around my work. The first one is Thursday.

I had to put it in storage to empty the van. I had sofas to move, and then the family I was dealing with needed someone to clear the rest of their storage. They paid me this time round, so I now have a second load of Victorian set dressing, a load more books and records, and some bits of furniture and electronics that are incontrovertibly valueless and that I’ll have to pay to chuck. But I factored a trip to the dump into my invoice. I’m learning.

I’ve experimentally listed two shoddy electronic items on eBay – pet grooming tools – not because I expect them to sell, but because they’ve never been opened and it makes me sad. They were bought, forgotten, and then thrown away decades later. Technology has changed a bit since they were made. There’s a VHS tape included with the dog hair clippers with grooming tips that nobody these days has the means to watch. It was put there to add value, but it takes value away by making the buyer feel that it’s dated. Ditto the ionic brush, which wants one of those rectangular 9v batteries (and doesn’t bother mentioning it on the pack.) Nowadays instead of buying batteries you have to remember where your charger is. A different obstruction. And instead of making sure you groom your dog near a plug socket, you have to leave it to charge for hours when you first get it, but then it works wirelessly until you lose the charger.  These old items are perfectly serviceable and it’s part of the problem if we just throw this stuff in landfill because we want new new new. But we are conditioned to think that new things are better. I wish we could destigmatise re-using things. Especially when so many old things look great and work great. The idea that you only use second hand if you can’t afford brand new – it’s not good for the world. We are dying here.

In some fields we are leaping forwards daily. In others we have long stagnated and teams of people in the related industries are innovating packaging or pushing new “pentapeptides” in order to persuade suggestible people to upgrade their emotional placement to the “new better version”. (I’m deliberately using an old example from the cosmetic industry. They were introduced so mawkishly it stuck in my memory.) But we’ve been buying shit for years to make ourselves feel better. And things moved so fast for a while with the Industrial Revolution and the technologies that followed that our ingrained modern habit and expectation is to see the thing we prized being completely outclassed in a few short years by the upgraded version. We covet or buy the upgrade, which in itself is improved upon so quickly. But my dear friend’s dad uses a wall mounted “Spong” manual coffee grinder and it’s a beautiful thing that still grinds the beans as well as any shiny electric pretender. Let’s try and reuse things. Fix things.

Hopefully I’ll find new use for lots of the things I’m digging through. Huge amounts of classical vinyl… Someone wants it.

I’ll be off to the tip next week. But before then let’s see where we can put things that isn’t in here.



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

2 thoughts on “Old stuff to recycle”

  1. My wife and I started to “Downsize”, going through 10 cabinets we decided to toss out one plastic platter. We did have bags of trash which I went through in the garage and kept the good stuff, all of it basically. I can identify with this blog.
    ” But we’ve been buying shit for years to make ourselves feel better.” Great sentence.


    1. Thank you jacques. Yes, we get terrifically attached to junk, and I’ve seen how with some people their life ends up being dominated by the stuff they own…


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