Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Fab: I Didn't Throw it Away

I happily admit to being sentimental at heart. But we moved a lot when I was a kid and I've lived on four different continents in the last 20 years. You don't move that much without leaving a LOT behind along the way. Nevertheless, when Agy invited me to contribute to the "I didn't throw it away" blog train, it was easy to say yes. Because somehow, in spite of all the moving, I'm surrounded by things I've had for 20+ years. I'm Capricorn. I once read that Capricorns "love to fill their homes with association." This seems to be true for me! So what are these things I've hung on to and why?


Things I still use



Today is my 39th birthday (hence the Capricorn reference!). On my 19th birthday, I asked my mom to take me shopping at the local (Durban, South Africa) flea market. That day she bought me a leather purse/handbag and a silver bracelet. They're not only things I still have but things I use often. Especially the purse. Why have I kept them? Because I still love them and they're in great shape considering their age. I think I can get away with wearing such old things because they're leather and silver - they aren't really vulnerable to trends. And considering my age, I think they still suit me - thanks mom!

Things I've inherited



These are the very few things I've inherited from grandparents. I definitely love them as "things" but I know I keep them because they act like Time-Turner's for me. When I look at the glass jars, I'm transported back to my grandparents' home. I can smell the combination of mothballs, Jeyes Fluid, my grandmother's 4711 and my grandfather's Old Spice. And I remember playing with the sprung metal shirt-sleeve holders Grampie stored in the jar (they look like this). He worked for the post office - I guess it was crucial that his sleeves stay up? 

My great grandmother's sewing kit was a treasure I found when my Nanny moved from a small flat into assisted living. I never knew my great grandmother, but I was always told I have her hands. And I'm deeply attached to the tools she used to create :) 

Things I've repurposed


One of my dearest friends gave me a hand-painted tea towel and oven glove for my 21st birthday. I always loved them but never used them because bright white cotton in my kitchen ... well, I knew I'd wreck it. So I carried them around for years then, one day, decided to repurpose them as a sewing machine cover (more here). I've never regretted the decision because now I see the cover every day and think of Lyndi. 

Words ...



When I decided to tie a ribbon around these letters and keep them, I was being romantic. Now, 20+ years later, they represent a way of life mostly gone. And I don't just mean letter writing and the use of snail mail. I also mean the kind of delayed gratification we were once capable of. And the amazing quiet and intimacy of communicating this way. And the permanence of the words. One day I will actually re-read the letters. For now, I'm grateful to my younger self for hanging on to them.

Note: As I contemplated what to share in this post, it struck me that most of what I haven't thrown away I actually use, or look at, daily. They're mostly things that are very much part of my life and they all have stories. I have one small box for hoarding - I call it a memory box. It's the place that holds things like the letters and other sentimental bits and pieces I will never get rid of. If I ever overflow the box, I know I'll probably get rid of some things. Until then, I cherish what it holds.


This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "I Didn't Throw It Away". We have become such a throw-away society, but there are some things in our households that we still keep. Why is that so? Perhaps this blog train (that began Dec 1, 2014) can unlock the reasons behind it! Follow the daily posts and read about the stories behind the things we have kept for many years and why we didn't throw them away. Tomorrow Jill from Creating My Way to Success will explore what she's hung on to for 20+ years and why! Originally from the north of England, Jill now lives in Cairns, Australia.


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