There’s a lot of talk about being “green” and unfortunately it’s often in the context of having to buy something. Like having to have a new aluminum water bottle to be green, or being guilted into a new reusable shopping tote when your closet is already full of tote bags, or buying new “sustainable” clothing when you could focus on wearing the stuff you already have (or buying used). Green consumerism has grown into quite the racket, even if it began with the best intentions. The greenest way to do things is often, conveniently and coincidentally enough, the cheapest: to reuse or repurpose what you already have. And that is (one reason) why I never throw anything away.
The flip side of keeping stuff is that you can turn into a hoarder, I guess. On any hoarding-focused show, the subjects always justify their stashing of useless crap with “but it could be useful someday!” So there’s a fine line between holding on to useful things and letting go of things that you probably won’t use, however potentially useful to someone they may be.
I fall on the hoardy side, or did until several things happened. First, we did several house cleanouts and I vowed never to hold on to that much crap. Second, running the store has shown me that there is a neverending stream of cute/cool retro furniture and housewares running constantly, and I feel less desperate to snap something up now in case I might later wish I had it. (The exception for me is kitchen stuff, the exception for the guys is tools.)
But I will always hoard glass bottles.
For instance, wine and liquor bottles. Our plans to eventually start producing wine bottle lamps aside, they’re a great way to stash that limoncello, pertsovka, leftover kombucha, or what have you. Serve water out of a wine bottle when you have people over for dinner! Stick a candle in the top and boom, instant dirtbag centerpiece! Or fill with flowers and call it a romantic bohemian starving artist in a garret decorative touch. (That alarming murk on the left with a cork floating in it is soured red wine, which K was about to dump until I pointed out that soured red wine is red wine vinegar, and now we have red wine vinegar!)
If you’re bottling fizzy drinks and don’t have a bottle capper, hold on to bottles with Grolsch-style lids, like that maple syrup jar on the left. Or improvise an airtight lid, as seen on the old medicinal flask full on the right: cover bottleneck with plastic wrap, then foil, then a strong rubber band wrapped tightly. FYI, on the left is some of the latest batch of homebrew – we were a little short on beer bottles this time. On the right is smoky black tea kombucha with orange peel and ginger, which turned out sweet, mild and fantastic. At least I think so. The guys are still a little leery.
And obviously the basic screw-top glass jar is the most versatile. Here we have whey (the leftover liquid from making labneh – it’s full of protein and tastes sour/tangy, and I use it interchangeably with lemon juice or vinegar), sprouts (with a specialized lid for sprouting), and yogurt. They’re great for storing leftover sauces, dressings, and sourdough starter. I have a good friend who likes to pack leftovers into a mason jar to eat on the go. And if you’re on that hipster ish, serve drinks in them.
And keep the really pretty glass bottles for bracelet storage.