Garbage is my Canvas

My name is Meggie and I’m a hoarder.

Well, being completely honest, I only have a slight hoarding habit, nothing detrimental to my health or having a house so full of stuff that there is no room to walk and live with a family of cats I didn’t know I had. I just like to keep things because they are so nice I just can’t throw them out.  Magazines, shoe laces, Altoids containers (cleaned of course).  You name it I probably have it neatly stored in boxes stacked in labeled piles.  That’s why I can’t be a hoarder, I’m an organizer and I can’t have things out of order or a mess.

My aunt, in recent years, has taken an interest in keeping items too.  I think I got my mild hoarding bug from her.  What makes her different is the fact that she makes so many incredible things out of what she keeps.  Anything, from old paper to tires to aluminium cans to magazines, all of those are just tools to make something beautiful out of, not throw away.

She’s a mailwomen and has many businesses on her route.  If you are not aware, businesses throw away a lot of things, a LOT of things all the time.  For example, she has carpet sample binders she turned into organizers.  The carpet samples make bulletin boards and they last forever since they are so heavy-duty.  All of these just get thrown away.  She’ll get things like the color sheets that are you used for the file folder tabs and make them into window clings, things you can spend so much money she can make for less money and most of the time better quality.

She turned her hobby into a business, Recycled2New and I help.  One of the best part of working on R2N is seeing reactions.  People look and they see earrings, necklaces, notebooks, binders, zipper pulls and just tons of other things, they just look at them thinking they are just nomal items.  When they start reading though, that’s when you hear “Ohhhhhhh” and “Wow! That’s so cool!”  because they know that they mostly likely threw away whatever was used to make something beautiful and more durable than most things you can find in a store.

Lately it’s like garbage it my canvas and I love it!  Things that are everyday items, things people just throw away without even taking a second glance at them, I can look at them and save them from their awful fate of a garbage can death.  It’s such a challenge sometimes, taking ‘junk’ and making something beautiful out of it.  There is so much beauty in the entire world that is so easily overlooked, from outside to your recycling bin.  Painters take ugly canvas, plain, boring canvas and turn it into something beautiful that people will admire forever.  For me, garbage is my canvas and I can take that and make something beautiful and touch people.

One moment that truly touched me was when I was doing a show with my aunt.  She loves just giving things away, especially these envelopes she makes out of magazine and calendar pictures.  This woman walked by and my aunt step out and says “I made this for you”, holding her hand out with a beautiful brightly colored lily envelope and the woman just stares at her, shocked.  Since you all don’t know my aunt, she is a loud, vivacious person who love everything and everyone.  Her joy takes some people by surprise.  This woman finally gains the courage to reach her arm out and enter my aunt’s little bubble of joy.  She examines the envelope as my aunt explains to her what it is and how she made it.

Then the woman looks at her and says “Thank you so much, I just love flowers” so naturally, my aunt then gets this big smile on her face and turns around rummaging through piles and pulls out every single flower envelope packet and just hands them all to her, no charge.  She looks at my aunt almost in tears and just gives her a big hug.  She tells us that her birthday was just a few days ago and a lot of her friends have passed away (she was an older woman) and no one else really does anything for her anymore.  This, she said, made her birthday feel like something special.

Not only is garbage my canvas, but it is my moment, giving me a chance to see a peron’s joy and like I’ve said before in past blogs, seeing pure joy on someones face is the biggest reward I could ever get.

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