Some of my trash from the 1970s and 1980s

January 13, 2024 by Joshua
in Stories, Visualization

I haven’t filled a load of trash in my apartment since 2019.

This week I cleaned out my stuff from my father’s basement. It turns out he put stuff there after I went to college. He didn’t tell me and I forgot about it. I wish I’d known about it between then and now, but didn’t. I’m saving some and giving some away through Craigslist (putting it back in circulation, as I think of it). The paper is going to recycling. The rest I’m disposing of into a landfill, with a sense of defeat.

A lot of it is my school notes. I saved nearly everything since first grade, which makes sense since my parents save everything and I probably learned from them. I’ve since learned differently, as I wrote in one of my earliest blog posts, Less, please, from 2009. But school notes from a fourth grader look more like any other fourth grader’s notes than like me today.

I filled two or three cardboard boxes of trash, which I’ve thrown away. I went back and forth on counting it as throwing trash away since 2019. It’s mine, but I accumulated it almost half a century ago.

I decided my best way to account for it is to show a bit of what I’m throwing out and how much, so I’m not hiding anything, but I’m not counting it as household trash since 2019. I’ll still say I haven’t filled a load of trash at my apartment since 2019.

If you think I should account for or state it otherwise, I’m open to it. Let me know. I’m not trying to say I’m throwing away less than I am. I’m trying to show even someone like me, who grew up saving everything I could, who said many times “whoever dies with the most toys wins,” who spent many formative years in poverty, can reduce garbage to a few percent of what he did before and improve his life in the process.


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