Black Ecologie Vol 7: finder's keepers
carrie bradshaw once said: "shopping is my cardio"
This is the second post in a sporadic multi-part series on the things we throw away. Read the first one here.
An essential part of your twenties is scavenging for home goods on the street. Corporate executives call this “upcycling,” and young people definitely don’t do it because we’re too poor to buy new stuff.
Because I delight in free things I may never use, I love when my neighbors leave items on the curb for others to pick up. This is how I acquired a chipped, but usable panda mug, a broken skateboard, and various vulva-shaped vases. I regret not picking up those floppy disks that might be valuable collector’s items in 2080.
When I do pull my coins together to buy new items, the hit of dopamine I get from that ‘your order has shipped’ email is unmatched. In deep quarantine, this was all I had. I’m now at the point where my ears perk up at the sound of a UPS truck door slamming shut a block away.
As a Taurus, my kink is being surrounded by beautiful things all the time. But, the thing-afication of modern life is overwhelming. Peering into my
graveyard drawer of forgotten hobbies, you’ll find a candle-making kit, expired sculpting clay, and bags of dried herbs from my Garden Wench days.
It’s why my partner once compared me to a magpie. For years people believed that this class of birds stole shiny objects to adorn their nests. Scientists refuted this. Unlike the magpie, I’ve yet to reconcile my attraction to shiny things with my desire to do good for the planet.
There are all sorts of ways to extend the lifespan of things you don’t want. But eventually, every object you’ve ever purchased will end up someone’s curb, a landfill, or atop a pile of secondhand wares across the ocean. Or you can do what my mom does: lovingly offload anything you don’t want onto your unsuspecting daughter to extend its life.
I’ve started taking unwanted clothes to Buffalo Exchange, a chain of consignment stores that buys used clothing from city mice like myself. Rock bottom is being told your carefully curated wardrobe is worthless by a Gen Z employee with a degree in trapeze arts. And I’ve been there on more than one occasion.
To the person who now owns that ‘Vote for Pedro’ shirt I bought from Urban Outfitters in 2009: this was once a somewhat cool thing to own. Cherish it.
Things I’m Shouting About this Week
If you’re looking for a reason to get into thrifting, pick up the latest issue of Mildew, a secondhand fashion magazine.
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