I am a fairly neat person. Clutter gets on my nerves and I hate not being able to locate something I need. This is a problem because I also like to collect stuff. Not collect as in “Oh, come see my nice collection of stuffed pigs” but collect as in “you never know when you are going to need another rubber band so of course I keep the one that my mail was held together with”. This has led to some, shall we say-discussion- with Bruce as he is an old Navy man and even neater than I and doesn’t get why I keep so much junk in labeled bins. Here’s my theory. We are so used to being  a disposable society, we won’t know how to deal with it if the stuff we have available all the time just isn’t there any more. There is a line in one of my favorite post-apocalyptic book about realizing that there will never be a another can of Coke made in all the world. I worry, not about Coke (I make my own soda) but about a million other little necessities of life that could be in short supply as they are probably made in China and who were that’s going although one can make and educated guess. So her are some of the things I save for a rainy day.

Shoe laces.  A lot of sneakers come with two pair of laces. Sometimes I will have a totaled pair of shoes with perfectly good laces. They are cheap any way and, if I find the long ones or boot size, I will often buy eight or ten sets.

Screws. If I have some piece of junk that has bitten the dust, I pull out all of the screws and other hardware before I actually throw it away.

Sewing supplies. Before I would throw out an item of clothing, I ask first: Do I know someone who would use this? Might someone in the family grow into it? Does it have usable fabric for patches or quilting squares? Are the buttons or zippers I can salvage? Does it have rag potential? Will it compost? Only if the answer to all of these questions is no will I actually throw out clothing.

Paper: Why throw out paper with writing on only one side seed in? Kids can draw on the blank side. I send notes to school on it. I have used colored paper for making Valentines. Some of it will compost. It doesn’t hit the recycle bin unless every other option has been explored. I keep my saved seed in the return envelopes that I am always getting.

Plastic bags. I try not to get them but when I do, I reuse them over and over and over.

large plastic containers. I got a cat to combat the mouse problem so not I have a kitty litter problem. The litter comes in these huge, white plastic jugs with a hefty handle and a screw cover. The label slip right off. I clean them out really well and they make dandy water jugs. I can carry one when it full. I will keep one near the stream where I start my mushroom spawn so I can water in the early days. I keep on in the green house with weak tea for my citrus trees. I lined a few with food grade plastic bags and stored rice in them. I put sand in one and keep it in the back of the car. I hate the kitty litter box but I do love those jugs.

Mesh bags: I get these from poor souls who actually have to buy onions.

safety pins: I have hundreds.

paper clips: my kids bring a lot home from school and I keep them all. Did you know that a paper clip and a thick rubber band make a dandy little bungee cord. They are handy for all kids of things.

I stockpile some things I don’t  want to be without. Tape of all kinds, especially duct tape, electrical tape and medical tape. I have all kinds of glues and adhesives. Sewing needles and thread. Scissors. Buckets. Fabric. I never pass up fleece or wool.

I actually went to the Salvation Army this week looking for wool clothing. I got a pattern for making slippers and I want to make a pair for everybody for Christmas next year. I have seven kids, three in-law kids, and four grandbabies so it’s a lot of everybodies. I did find a wool skirt, size 42, for 3 dollars. I also found an amazing pair of Italian wool trousers in my size for 4 dollars. The trousers will not make slippers. I found a huge piece of insulated fabric that was on a mark down rack for 3 dollars. I did have to pay full price for the pebbled plastic that goes on the souls to prevent slipping. It about killed me to buy it but I have wood floors and a fall isn’t worth saving a couple of dollars. Altogether, I figure I have spent about 15 dollars and I can make a lot of slippers. What is more important really, is that now I know how to do it. I will keep my eyes peeled at tag sales and thrift stores and I should never need to buy slippers again. And with our houses colder in the coming hard times, slippers will be a necessity of life I won’t want to live without.

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