Why do I have more leaky garden hoses than anyone else in the entire village? It’s not only because I’m a gardener but also because I absolutely adore stuff that other people have thrown away. It’s all free! I love trash picking the way some people love major league baseball, or ballet, or Sudoku.
I subscribe to the Native American belief that everything has a soul or a spirit –creatures, trees, rocks, fire, and the two old bathtub diverters I’ve had for years. Maybe the Native Americans limit their beliefs to that which is not human-made but in my interpretation, “everything” means dang near Everything.
I do have standards and boundaries. I’m not interested in containers that held pesticides, for instance. All toxic materials are not acceptable, and anything radioactive is definitely out.
I’m not an extremist. I don’t have a box labeled “String Too Short To Save.” String can get pretty dang short before it’s too short, but if it is too short to save, and if I can’t find another use for it, it gets composted if it’s natural fiber and it gets recycled if it’s the plasticky stuff that doesn’t knot well.
The backyard isn’t piled high with building materials, although there are some items piled low, like the 20 or so tubs half-full of salvaged red lava rock pebbles. I have a notion that these pebbles could be used in a hydroponics setup in the backyard, or in the house. The entire interior of the house could become a hydroponics garden. I’m not kidding.
What about the leaky hoses? Say a 50-foot hose has a leak 8 feet from one end. Cut the leaky part out. Get hose repair fittings from the hardware store and you’ve got an 8-foot hose to pump out a rain barrel and a 42-foot hose to water the garden. If the hose has enough leaks to make it useless, punch as many additional holes as you want. Plug one end and lay it in the garden to use as a soaker.
If you don’t have the vaguest of notions what some piece of junk might be used for, you can always fall back on this maxim: It might come in handy for something someday. This is an indisputable universal truth.
Junk is all about possibilities. It is the positive thinking of the material world. Nearly Everything might be good for something, someday. And it’s all free!
Next time I’ll share secrets about organizing your junk.