Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

So, John and I are obviously working on the “reduce” part of this handy little maxim – using what we have, and acquiring less stuff.  This is not the easiest, but we’re getting better.

But I am already quite good at the second part.  Our clothing and other linens falls down a certain set series of steps in our household – from whatever level at which an item originally begins (work-appropriate, casual, etc) it drops lower and lower in the clothing hierarchy as it becomes faded or stretched from washing and wear, until it becomes dog-walking wear – then laundry-day wear – then painting and housework wear – then pajamas – and finally rags.

My problem here is that I let things linger too long, when I really ought to implement the third step: recycle.  I was going through the rag basket a few days ago and found some “rags” that have been kept far longer than their useful life.

This was originally a fitted sheet – purchased in 2000 and slept on for four years.  I cut it up and hemmed it after it had spent some time as a drop cloth, furniture cover, and picnic blanket, and while some of the pieces are still intact, most of them have very little contiguous connected surface area left.

Remnants of a sheet


Here is a pair of pajama pants that were new perhaps 10 years ago.  They didn’t have far to go down the ladder: I wore them until the holes were un-fixable, then tossed them in the rag pile.  Somehow, the legs have gotten separated from each other during their tenure as rags.

PJ pant


It’s probably not quite ready to move to cloth recycling yet … but the following sure was:

UnmentionablesIt actually doesn’t look so bad in a heap on the floor, but there’s really not much left – and I’m learning my lesson.  It is no longer in the rag basket; yesterday it passed into its new cloth-recycling life.


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