Scrap-urday

It’s not hoarding if you use it!

Once again, it seems that life conspires against me. I start to get into a groove, and then something comes along to shake it up. I had so many good intentions of getting at least one post done this last weekend, and finishing up/starting a couple more so future Me would have things easy. We knew we were supposed to have an ice storm last Friday, so Poopie made sure to have us all stocked up so we wouldn’t have to go anywhere over the weekend. I was going to be watching the Red Alder interviews in the evenings and while away the days doing whatever craft, and finding a new show to binge watch. I’m sure he had his plans which likely involved loud music, either listening to, or creating.

And then our power went out Friday night. There went all of my plans for the weekend. As well as the following week. We were without power for 12 hours shy of a full week, just getting it back yesterday morning.

So we come to hoarding. Or…allusions to hoarding. For over a decade, I have dealt with not so thinly veiled criticisms of me keeping things. Don’t go thinking it was just from Poopie, I also hear from other people who have no problems giving me their unsolicited opinions on my things. There are many reasons why I keep Useful Things. I mean, firstly, they are Useful Things. I have Plans for them. Yes, I have many Plans; and some do not come to fruition, but some DO! Secondly, I grew up poor enough that we couldn’t afford to throw out Useful Things. Take paper bags, they can be reused for all sorts of things: garbage sacks, and just…sacks. Book covers as well. No, I’m not old enough for that to have been a “thing”, school mates thought I was weird…of course, this was not the only evidence for their thinking that way. Paper bags also were wrapping paper. Fun fact: this year, they were again. That’s saying nothing of fabric, string, yarn, stuffing, etc…

I’ve already mentioned this, but way last March, when we needed to start wearing masks, but there weren’t enough of the disposable kind (and who wants to keep making more garbage????), I found a pattern for a relatively easy mask. I could actually make 2 out of a single fat quarter. But…why would I use up my fat quarters? I still had a ton of fabrics left over from goodness knows what else because I’ve inherited a BUNCH of fabric scraps. Friends and family all know I’ll welcome them. In fact, for one of Thing 2’s birthday parties, instead of goodie bags for the guests, she wanted purses, so I made a bunch of simple purses out of scraps I had gotten from my MIL (which included her mom’s stuff, I believe). I think she (MIL) enjoyed the memories of a skirt or dress she had made herself in school. I’ll be honest, I take a great amount of pride in making things from scraps that look like they are supposed to look that way. I love making trash into treasure, and I fancy myself good at it.

Shocking no one, I digress….back to cutting up scraps for masks. I made some for our household, for my in laws, for the households of my mom, sister, and aunt. Basically anyone who wanted them. The only thing I needed to purchase was the elastic. I did not have a hoard stash of that. I was also able to make a bunch of masks to donate to various drives. Again, with very little out of pocket. And the time spent making masks was time I didn’t spend dreading/worrying like so many others. I’ll try to talk about this “trick” of mine in another post.

When the wildfires came, and the local charities were gathering toiletries for fire refugees, all those tiny bottles of shampoos, and little wrapped hotel soaps, and who knows what else I dragged out of my linen closet were put to good use. See? Not hoard — stash. Not junk — Useful Things.

We’ve been the family way station for firewood. Got extra wood that needs burning? It ends up at our house. Anyone going on a camping trip calls up, and they end up grabbing a load of wood from us. We have a fireplace in our house, so it makes sense for us to have the wood. We don’t heat with it. My house was built in 1979, so the fireplace is more ornamental than functional. Unless our electricity is out for almost a week. It’s still more ornamental than functional, but we managed to keep the living room at 50 degrees, while the rest of the house was 40-42. This lovely picture is of Poopie restocking the wood by the front door. He’s wearing the helmet because while the temperature was warming the next morning, that just meant giant ice chunks were falling from the cedar. He said it was a good thing he was wearing the helmet considering the loud crashing he kept hearing in the helmet.

And for my final “hoarding” story….the candles from our wedding…11 years ago. I had an evening wedding in winter. Instead of flowers everywhere, there were candles. What do you do with a metric ton of 1/2 burned candles? (Actually, just one under bed sized tote) I mean, no one wants them, but I can’t just throw them away. It’s not like they’ll go bad. Well, we went through about half that tub. I was so very glad I had that hoard stash of candles. Especially since I still haven’t received the tapers I ordered online yet. Sitting in the dark, even with your spouse is depressing…I assume. I didn’t have to find out…because I was prepared with a stash of candles.

I was able to use the electricity at my local volunteer gig for my computer for my day job. But, I’d come home just as it was getting dark. So lots of candlelight. We do have electric lanterns, but they don’t really give off much more light it turns out than the candles do, and the light isn’t as nice. I was able to channel our textile fore bearers (finally! she gets to some textiles!) during our outage. I sat by the fire and spun up the last of the random fiber I had been spinning when I last chatted with you. I now need to figure out how/what to ply it with. I couldn’t before because I didn’t have enough light to be able to see, but I’m hoping to figure that out tomorrow. It wasn’t light enough for me to weave. It might have been, but I broke a warp on Saturday, and the light was never good enough for me to confidently fix it. I spent most evenings knitting on one of last year’s Knitter’s Almanac projects (more on that elsewhere).

I have been keeping my patterns on a cool app in my iPad, and working off that. That meant I wasn’t able to work on either the shawl or scarf I have on needles because I didn’t want to drain my iPad. Basically, I was hoarding conserving the power I did have. I did realize that the lighting with candles probably isn’t good enough if trying to do a project that you need to refer to a pattern for, anyway. My black out knitting was an easy peasy double knit single color. garter edge, k1, sl1wif. all the way to the garter edge, turn, repeat.

Honestly, the roughest part for me was the job portion, the computer set up going to a laptop was terrible. The desk was an ergonomic nightmare as well…my back is still super unhappy with me. At home, we were able to borrow a generator to keep our freezer running, so we lost a minimal amount of food. We have no kids at home, so the only whining was our own. Of course, if it had to go much longer, I’m not sure how sanguine I could continue to be, I was starting to feel the strain. I spent today watching Franklin Habit on YouTube which has restored my knitting zen.

The blackout knitting just wasn’t enough to rejuvenate my zen. After this year, with pandemic, wildfires, surgery, other family issues, and now this, I think it’s fairly reasonable that I was seeing cracks in my zen. The blackout knitting was definitely keeping the beasts at bay, but I am always grateful for any added assistance.

Back to my thesis. These examples show that it’s not hoarding if you use it. Sometimes, if you have the resources, it makes sense to set aside for the rainy (insert plaguey, firey, or icey) day (week, month, year). And if you find you have some good fabric or yarn that needs a home, Poopie doesn’t have access to this site’s email…just sayin’ 😉

3 thoughts on “It’s not hoarding if you use it!

  1. Wow! What an ordeal. You certainly handled it well. I am pleased to hear you are on the sunny side of things now. Much respect to you for your resourcefulness. I imagine all the naysayers would be eating their words if they were in your shoes.

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  2. I love my candle stash. My kids make fun of me often. But guess who was prepared to be without power and who wasn’t?? I just went to the candle cupboard to take out what I needed. My child who didn’t take the candles left over fram an event was sad she didn’t have then while without power for 48 hours.

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  3. Wow – you have been through a lot and I hope your back is on the mend. I can relate to the toiletry-saving, as I once did a lot of business travel and saved almost everything. This past year, I used up little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. Everything bit helps save for a little stash enhancement. 🙂

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