Stewardship of Stuff

I am walking around virtual piles of clothes and bags of shoes. I can’t believe that all of this stuff actually was in the closets at one point, because it can’t be fit back in. In this revealing seasonal purge, I am again flabbergasted at all the stuff we have.
It is especially stupefying because despite having so many pairs of shoes, it seems that I do not have the right ones for my outfit on any given day, and resort to a few pairs that will make do without ever attaining the fashion statement I long for.
I also have fallen into the trap of buying essentially the same thing – just went spring shopping and came home with a pair of open-toe metallic pewter pumps with a 3” heel. I already own a two pairs of silvery metallic high heeled shoes, one of which have never actually been worn. If I were in the same line of work as say, Vanna White, it might be prudent to have three pairs. Note to self: no more of these.
In years past I gave a lot of things to the church thrift shop, and I should continue to do that. A couple of years ago I thought I would do one of my brother’s girlfriends a favor and gave her “right of first refusal” on some of the nicer things, before they were donated. Lately I have been trying to seek out friends of similar size or taste to see if they want anything.
But let’s be honest…unless something is never worn, very gently used, or someone has truly coveted it for a long time, I’m not doing anyone any favors here. Most of my stuff is just that – my worn, stretched out, shiny, pilled, fading, needs-mending-or-alterations stuff. If I don’t want it, who really does?
Where does the disposition of said stuff – not good enough to wear, too good to be trash – fit into my role as a steward of all the resources that are given to me? This is the dilemma staring me in the face – like the 8-year-old boots, re-heeled several times, worn in five countries, now the leather upper is cracked and odiferous. I visualize them in a landfill and fret. Would they break down, like compost?
Clothes are a little easier. Some things are logically rags in their next life – t-shirts, etc. But jeans? Khaki pants? If I were in Appalachia perhaps I could figure out a way to make rag rugs or pot holders out of the fabric strips. I read somewhere that some clothing donations are bundled up and sold to Third World countries where they repurpose the material. These are so ragged I would be afraid to donate them even if I were confident that’s what would happen.
Wherever I can, I am fixing stuff and keeping it. My Nike hiking boots that my husband bought we when we were dating 16 years ago need a new EVA mid-sole. I found a company on line (in Canada, no less) that does this type of repair. My raincoat from Loehmann’s in New York has a virtually shredded lining, but the shell is intact.
I wonder if there is a class I can take to learn that rag-rug craft?


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