Saturday Diary / Time for some trash talk

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With spring comes thoughts of flowers in bloom, cranking open the windows in the house and ... spring cleaning.

I recently remodeled my basement but had to remove everything before the project began. As I took things off the closet shelves it reminded me of a small circus clown car where they just keep coming and coming. It's amazing how much you can accumulate in 30 years.

The realization hit me ... I have too much stuff.

I am possessed by my possessions.

Not like the people on one of those hoarder shows. (That's what those people say.)

My stuff is quality. (I think they say that, too.)

Most has never been used, which is why it is so difficult to get rid of it. There are gifts that I purchased in case I needed an emergency present, but there never seemed to be the right gift for any emergency occasions.

Still, I buy things. Sometimes a sale is just too good to pass up.

Numerous sets of dinnerware for picnics and holidays are stacked wherever there is space. But who wants to drag stuff from the basement ... so I just use what's upstairs.

Hundreds of snowmen are in my collection, contained in eight huge plastic bins. With each passing year, fewer and fewer ever make it out of these bins.

Why didn't I collect matchbooks? They take up much less space and are useful.

I have a pony cart that I purchased at an auction, and it's been in my one-car garage for at least 20 years. Oh, and I don't have a pony.

Recently, I did get rid of an eight-track/stereo I had in high school, figuring that eight-track isn't coming back.

My neighborhood is having a garage sale later this month. After my last garage sale several years ago I told myself ... never again.

But never say never.

The anticipation of getting rid of my possessions for pennies on the dollar is very liberating.

Speaking of trash ...

I don't blog.

And I'm not interested in blogging.

But if I were, I think I'd blog about trash. I even have a name for my imaginary blog ... trash talk.

Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it's garbage day in my neighborhood.

On Tuesday night I look forward to the process of collecting every scrap of needless paper, every outdated morsel of food from the refrigerator and, occasionally, adding some unwanted item to the mix that has taken up space in the garage for years.

As Wednesday morning dawns, I proudly drag the bags of garbage to the curb and place them in a neat row.

The feeling is similar to getting absolved. A purification.

I think trash is interesting.

You can tell a lot about people from their trash.

Often as I drive down a street I take a quick glance at the refuse set out for the trashman. Sometimes I feel sorry for people because their trash is ... garbage.

If my trash were that unsightly, I wouldn't display it at the curb in front of my house. I'd disguise it in a black plastic bag or hide it in cardboard boxes.

I used to stop when I saw a perfectly good item in the pile of trash waiting to be hauled away. I would re-purpose it or take it to a donation site.

Now I don't see too much quality trash ... it must be a sign of the times.

Once I found a kid's bike that needed only to have the chain reattached. I thought some little boy is going to love this bike.

I pulled over, put the bike in my back seat and off to a donation site we went. When I got there, they said they didn't take broken items. It wasn't broken; it just needed to have the chain put back on.

I then discovered that grease from the bicycle chain had gotten on my car seat.

But I digress.

I don't know my trashman but think he works hard. I've watched as he jumps out of the truck in all kinds of weather , lifting the discarded, disgusting, smelly, icky, garbage that society purges.

It's not a job that I want but I appreciate that he does it.

So, after the garage sale, as I sort through the leftovers and place my trash at the curb for the trashman, I hope the saying that one person's trash is another person's treasure rings true to those passing by.


Joyce Mendelsohn is a photo editor for the Post-Gazette (, 412-263-1951).


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