I’ve often wondered if it’s being a creative-type person, or the product of mostly Dutch parents, or parents who grew up in large families during the Depression that makes it hard and nearly impossible to throw things away.
My mother saved every margarine and sour cream container that she ever bought and used them to freeze mashed potatoes and squash and fruit for the winter. She saved my brother’s and my dad’s and my uncles’ old jeans and cut them into scraps for quilts. When she moved, there were boxes and boxes of fabric scraps– many of which were too small to sew together, so we can only assume she meant to use them for stuffing. (At one point she did make a ball using the scraps as the stuffing and it was so heavy, you could knock someone out if you hit them in the head.)
But as I went through some of the scraps, I could understand why she didn’t throw them away. I found bits of the quilt that she won on her and my dad’s first date. There were scraps from my sisters’ dresses and my brothers’ shirts. All kinds of memories filled that box.
I, sometimes unfortunately, inherited her ability to see something that could be repurposed. The baby’s onesies are too small… let’s cut off the snap part and make them t-shirts. The boy’s pants are too small… cut off the legs and make them shorts.
Recently I’ve started making fidget quilts. They are lap-sized blankets with a variety of things to fidget with… buttons, snaps, velcro, ribbons, etc. Because of my aforementioned upbringing, I can’t just buy those things, I have to scavenge for them. I find zippers at garage sales. I have boxes of quilt scraps that can be incorporated. Buttons from my mother’s button box — which I actually learned were my great-grandmother’s buttons (how cool is that?).
This weekend, I washed my kids’ winter clothing and put it away. Two pair of snow pants were ripped beyond repair. (Yes, I did try. One pair had been limped through the winter.) I took them straight out to the garbage can. They remained there for about thirty seconds before I went back and cut all the snaps and clips off them because they would be handy on the fidget quilts.
Do you have things you can’t part with because you know you might need them for something else?