But it might come in useful…

Apparently those of us interested in being greener by reducing consumption can be divided into two camps: the minimalists and the hoarders. You can, most certainly, find me in the latter. Whenever an item has reached the end of its use I find it difficult to throw it away. I cannot help but think that ‘it might come in useful’.

  • That box that my new secateurs came in? It’s very sturdy, if somewhat oddly proportioned… it might come in useful.
  • The old dismantled chicken coop that was a bit of a disaster? There’s mesh and a little door and wood… it might come in useful.
  • The old gutters from the house that were replaced five years ago? You can use them to grow plants in apparently… they may, even now, come in useful.
  • Padded envelopes? You can never have too many padded envelopes in a variety of sizes because you never know when you might need to send out 157 items in the post! They may (all) come in useful.

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

Filling the space available

My bulging office

The trouble is, I’m starting to feel swamped by all this accumulating ‘stuff’ and so I’m having a bit lot of a clear out. A responsible clear out that does not simply mean sending everything to landfill and starting again, but finding an appropriate home for everything that I feel able to let go of.

The big task  at the moment involves teaching materials. After an internal tussle, I have made the decision to give up my university teaching and not to seek other similar work. The time has come to let it go. Now, there is a lot of ‘stuff’ associated with my teaching, including piles and piles of handouts. These take up an enormous amount of space in my office – occupying floor and bookshelves – that could be put to better use. So, I’m getting rid of them. Pretty much all the up-to-date stuff is on my computer anyway, so I don’t need to keep paper copies. And, even better, I know what to do with all the paper… it’s going in the bottom of the new raised bed to act as a carbon source! Well, we will keep a bit as scrap for printing on, but the amount I have would last us forever, so I’ve decided to convert it back into plant material: from hand-outs to herbs!

The other thing I came across today was a collection of OHP transparencies. I quickly searched on the internet to find out if these could be recycled… the answer is ‘yes’, but not in the UK as far as I can tell. The company 3M used to recycle them, and still do in the US, but an e-mail from them this morning confirmed that they no longer offer this service here. I’m rather disappointed about this because clearly a method is available. I see that there are a whole host of things you can use them for in an arty and crafty way, but I don’t want to. First, I want them gone because I’m making a break from this aspect of my life and second, I just don’t want to add to my stocks of ‘but it might come in useful’ craft materials. Anyone got any ideas? It has been suggested that I pass them on to a local primary school for craft work, but I’m not convinced that they wouldn’t just end up in the dustbin (call be cynical). So, if you have some use for acetate sheets with printing on them (all about conservation and ecology), just let me know because at this rate I’ll be sending them to Pennsylvania for recycling!!!


Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Yep! Definitely in the hoarder camp – very impressed by your clear out! Sadly I have no use for your acetate sheets.

  2. If it is cellulose acetate then I think it is biodegradable….

  3. An art college, quite certain there is an art work to be made

  4. I’m definitely in the minimalist camp. I’ve saved a few things here and there, but having stuff sitting around waiting to be used “someday” makes me twitch. As for your sheets, I wish I had some suggestions, but I’d probably be sending them off to PA just because it’s less of a hassle.

  5. Standing firmly in the hoarder camp, and going through the “I’m sure I’ll use *this* one day as I prepare to move. I would use your acetate sheets for pattern templates but before you rush to stuff them in your 157 envelopes and send them off I’ll say no thanks, probably have a few of my own to dispose of 🙂 Looks like Pa will get them.

    • Hehe… can’ seem to find any takers – here or on FB. I will probably send them to be recycled in PA in the end. In fact I have loads more files to sort through, so I’ll probably find lots more before I’m done!

  6. Funny thing is, a while ago, I was wishing I had exactly that sort of material. I was making a cover for the Husband’s tablet, and wanted a stiff and strong plastic material to sandwich between the layers of the front to protect the screen from accidental knocks. But of course, the need has passed and I have my own “that’ll come in handy” storage problems…

  7. Baba Yaga’s unite! 🙂

  8. Oh my. No idea. Once in a while I have one of those “it might come in handy” thoughts. Sometimes it does, but mostly I throw it out a year later. I think acetate IS biodegradable, but not sure whether it breaks down into component parts that aren’t harmful. The only thing I hold onto regularly in too large quantities is rubber bands. But they still fit in a small box. Files are worth going through once a year though…Good luck. I admire your tenacity at finding recycling/reuse.

  9. I was curious so googled, didn’t get far to see what’s done in Oz with them, but saw people talking about a recycling mob called Terracycle, they have a base in both Holland and France. Some comments I saw were from people doing craft activities with kids, and that’s their go-to place for supplies. They have a Facebook page, might be worth looking into.

  10. I am definitely in the minimalist camp. The minimalist part of me is even a little glad to be finished with home school because it means I can donate (translate: get rid of) so much educational stuff.

    If you can’t find a good thing to do with your transparencies, feel free to put them in one of your padded envelopes and send them to me. I’ll see that they get recycled. 😀

  11. two words. Marie kondo.

  12. Definitely not alone! well done on the clearing out, it’s a great feeling when you’re ready to move on.

  13. sarahfoto

     /  June 18, 2015

    Gosh it’s me you’re talking about! I always think “oh that could be useful!” but that time when you want to use it you will long time ago have forgotten about where you’ve put it…

    • You are SO right. My mother is also a great collector of useful things. She will always claim that she put whatever she is looking for in ‘a safe place’ and my late father used to say he was going to have a big cupboard with a sign on the door saying ‘A SAFE PLACE’ where she could keep EVERYTHING!

  1. Throwing it all away | The Snail of Happiness

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: