Food and drink: Waste not wanted 

All clear in the Time of Stuff

The holidays have come and gone, and now what do we do - try to tuck those new sweaters into sweater drawers and new books onto bookshelves and generally find homes for all the presents, lovely and not, we've been presented with.

I don't know about you, but I've always secretly admired people who haul one shirt or skirt to the Big Brothers box every time a new one comes into their home.

And while I try to maintain some sort of discipline about the durable goods sloshing around our lives, even after a Christmas like this one where 80 per cent of our gifts were consumables and we managed to jam all our unrecyclable waste into a shoebox, I'm still astonished at the number of things we have to make way for in this household alone. (Multiply by 1.6 million households in B.C., 12.4 million in Canada...)

Even The Dog managed to acquire one durable consumer item this year, albeit a tiny one - a flashing light the size of a cigarette butt for alerting drivers at night. But it came in an unrecyclable bubble pack.

Years ago I was watching TV with a girlfriend when a commercial came on advertising those clear plastic bags you can suck the air out of with your vacuum cleaner hose to store more stuff you don't need under your bed or in a dusty closet.

I found the whole thing mildly depressing. But the slight widening of her eyes and arching of her brow would have definitely indicated interest had a psychologist been on the other side of a two-way mirror watching us watching. I think she actually ordered some of the damn things but, of course, they didn't really control the mounds of stuff in her life. They egged her on.

Then you've got those depressing plastic jumbo containers, again for storing stuff in some forgotten corner. They're usually made from a pale, institutional blue plastic you can "see through," I guess in case you forget what it was that was so important you couldn't let it go.

I remember finding under my parents' bed some of these lousy containers filled with something and it pained me. Even though they'd just moved from a house-house to a smaller duplex-house, it was like they were "slipping."

Ah, yes, the road to hell is paved with one Tupperware storage container at a time, so give me a good honest messy basement or closet anytime. Better yet, give me more ways to keep the lid on the "stuff factor," better known as reducing, reusing and recycling.


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