When I found this bag during the downsizing process of my “Musty Art Supplies,” I saw white spots clouding one side of it, and my heart sank just a little. Would this be the first object I’d regret throwing away? Did mold get to it? I put it out in the patio closet to air out. When I tended to it with soap and hot water today, I realized what it was, and its attachments.
Before I give you the answer, a quick backstory.
For my senior capstone project in 2008, we built a mock business around selling reusable shopping bags a few years before they really caught on in the United States, and everyone on the team got one along with the ceremonious capstone project’s bag. I thought it was a unique idea that could have netted us some money had we been savvy enough.
Until I tended to the white spots on the bag.
I blasted it with hot water and degreasing soap to kill off any mold and the white spots remained. They actually multiplied! Then I looked at the spots closer… it had a plastic texture. It was probably just the plastic outer shell of the bag; oddly on only the top part of one side of the bag. This bag got me thinking about what would happen if other things fell apart.
I’d have to trash it, were those white spots mold.
How many objects would I keep if they broke down? I’m sitting in my red writing chair, background guest of some past essays, most recently, “Backup Your Clutter!.” If this chair broke beyond repair, I’d throw it away, even with its storied history. I bought it at a thrift store, bungeed it into my car’s trunk, and spontaneously drove it across town because I liked it so much.
Other objects are here because they’ve “always” been here.
I’ve owned them for years and they haven’t really had much friction to them being still around. Some are useful; others are nostalgic. This cloth bag reminds me of that class, but, otherwise has yielded no practical application. It’s always just been a thing that I’ve owned since I originally acquired it 11 years ago. It’s so innocuous, why not still own it for another 11 years?
I stared at the bag while eating dinner.
This class project bag has limited use for me. I could use it to store socks like two others, but a third one would be displaced for alternate use elsewhere. Seeing it now, disheveled and drying, doesn’t really inspire any sensations for me besides that it represents a place and time in my life where I helped achieve an end-goal, and my role was just editing the paper and add some pieces, so I didn’t even really do much, comparatively. It’s well-made. I just can’t part with it like I’ve done with so much. Will this essay transfer that pensive, indecisive nostalgia?
Objects like this tend to weigh us down more than they should.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: After writing this essay, I decided that I will use this bag for something. What, I’m not sure yet, because it’s still drying. If I can’t donate something, then I should try to reuse it [pun either intended or unintended] until it can’t be used at all.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photos: The damage done after the soap and water. Sure, it was good to give it a good clean after 11 years, but at what cost to the bag itself? Nothing, other than its plastic shell.|
|Written On: August 27th [45 minutes, WordPress]|
|Last Edited: August 27th [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|