Saturday, 16 March 2013

Junk Whore

I am a junk whore - I accept all manner of discarded and exiled items from friends, family, friends of family, family of friends of friends, well anyone really. My house is a junk magnet as I am a junk lover (please note this does not mean I am rubbish in bed - I am in fact as fabulous between the sheets as everywhere else). My husband thinks I am a bag lady and it is true I have many, many bags full of what used to be other peoples stuff but I am slowly converting him and while he is not yet a bag lad he is certainly warming to his new role of repurposer extraordinaire and showing a real talent for scavenging or as our family calls it - treasure hunting.

Treasure hunting in it's various forms is one of our favourite family activities - beachcombing, second hand shops and friends homes. This of course works best with the friends who can afford new things and therefore want to get rid of excess items. Unfortunately this also severely limits the number of items we find at close friends homes as one of the reasons we are so close is our common bond of thriftiness which is just a trendy way of saying we are all poor and anything we might have to offer each other is likely to be broken (by the kids), worn out, obsolete or just plain ugly.

The kids also love collecting treasure from the gutters on the way to school, they find all manner of interesting and vital objects such as broken pens, junk food containers, empty lighters, wires and broken electronics which does raise questions about what goes on in our neighbourhood after dark. I am not so keen on this type of treasure hunting as I then have to keep said treasure in my handbag all day only to present them with a flourish after school with a smug indulgent motherliness only to be told - "oh yeah, I realised at school I can't use that stuff now so it is really just rubbish". On the upside we are slowly clearing the local streets but on the downside we are using up our rubbish bags at an embarrassing rate.

The recent trend for repurposing, upcycling, restyling, rehoming or what ever new fangled name you want to give it has spawned a new genre of reality tv. I am not a huge reality tv fan but mix together some treasure hunters, creative visionaries, practical sorts, design genii (I have always wanted to use that word) and I get very excited, sad but true. I do find it a little disconcerting though when the retrieved junk sometimes ends up as cutting edge furniture and fittings and are then sold on to the rich eco chic who believe they are saving the planet one purchase at a time. The good news is they are being totally ripped off so they must feel even more virtuous and us poor people who really are saving the planet because we can't afford to buy new things can get a good laugh at their expense. This slightly tarnishes my mother earth image but what the hell - I know you are thinking the same thing, well maybe you're not in which case you win the mother earth award.

While I embrace the current fashion for making new items from forgotten gems and hope the world discovers the joy of modern treasure hunting I know trends come and go. When the fashions slaves turn their heads to the next eco trend I will still be out there treasure hunting because I am a junk whore, always have been and always will be.