Pass it on

The other day when our house cleaner came over, (Yes I have a house cleaner that comes once a month. Please don’t judge me!) I thought I’d do a good deed by passing on some old white undershirts from my husband that were in our rag pile. I had originally thought I’d just throw them in our recycle bin, but I decided to ask our cleaner if he wanted them first since I figured he might be able to cut them up and use them for cleaning rags.

After showing the old shirts to him, he surprised me. Not in saying he would gladly take them but rather because of his intended use for them.  I was not expecting that he wanted them for their intended purpose – as shirts – for the workers back in his home country, El Salvador.  When he told me his proposed use for them I felt a bit ashamed. Ashamed that I had ever intended on recycling them at all when some people could greatly use them just as they were. I was ashamed that they were all wrinkled up and in balls, as rag pile items often are. I wanted to get out my iron right then and there. I was ashamed that I was so privileged that the thought that other people would use my so called “rags” as clothing didn’t even cross my mind.

It wasn’t all bad though. A part of me was also happy. I was happy that I had the foresight to ask our cleaner if he wanted the shirts before simply throwing them away. I was happy that I often think of the best place to take items before declaring them trash. I have noticed that so many other people put valuable things in the trash cans simply because they are too lazy to find a good home for things.

Remember that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Please don’t just toss things in the trash can. Instead, think of a place that items could go where they can still be used for the items’ intended use. I know that whenever I find a good home for something it feels really good.

One thought to “Pass it on”

  1. Good morning, Karen. Thank you for passing this story on to us. Waste is one of modern America’s greatest sins. We have lost our grandparent’s knack for KEEPING things, CARING for things, using the things we have until they are truly beyond use. I cannot imagine the untold number of resources we would save if we were to mend things once or twice before moving on to the next pair. In any case, an example like this is a powerful reminder that even a worn item may have great value and use left in it.

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