A Yerdle Story: Repurposed, Recycled, Upcycled, and Reinvented

Brandy V. from Sedalia, MO shares an interesting story about her father-in-law’s perspective on reuse. Here’s Brandy’s story:

“I have no earthly idea how I stumbled onto Yerdle, but I am forever grateful. My husband and I have, for the past 7+ years, lived with my father in law. I have to care of him, 5 acres of land and our home while my husband is out earning a living. I do know I haven't bought brand new anything in years. I'm a thrift store and rummage sale guru. Living on a single income, creativity breeds genius when it comes to wanting a slightly better than Wal-Mart or Target wardrobe.

My 81-year-old father-in-law has lived in the same place for nearly 40 years. The accumulation of clutter amassed in that amount of time is staggering. At first I suspected he was simply a pack rat. He has no emotional attachment to these things that take up space in every nook and on every shelf - inside and outside the home. My next diagnosis was undiscovered hoarder. That was wrong because he didn't necessarily need to keep these things. Broken, ripped, torn or stained, it went in a box, bag, or an endless supply of empty coffee cans. At last count, there were 27 coffee cans. We have boxes of Prince Albert tins. Crates of magazines dating back to 1970 - all issues since then.

The outside consists of a tool shed where men pursue manly pursuits, an implement shed, a potting shed, a lumber shed, and a 2 car garage. The shed is currently occupied by farming equipment, inoperable riding lawn mowers, push mowers, and weed whackers. The lumber shed contains lumber of a deconstructed barn and untold pieces of broken furniture. When we moved in there was zero walking room in any of these outbuildings. Organization was the name of the game. But you can only organize after you've reduced the load. That wasn't something he was willing to do.

Completely baffled, I asked him “why keep all this junk?” Highly offended I had the audacity to call his treasures junk, he explained. Old men tell stories of profound revelation if someone will take the time to listen to them. He was a depression era child. There was no such thing as throwing anything away. When boots were too worn to wear any longer and couldn't be handed down, the tongue was removed and used for door hinges, the laces were saved, and the remaining portion of the boot was used to grow food they ate. A bygone era of the original raised bed, if you will.  Buttons were removed from clothing to be used again. The clothing was then cut up for rags. Everything was repurposed, recycled, upcycled or reinvented.”

You never know how the item you’re giving can impact a fellow member. Do you have a story or tips to help new Yerdle members?