Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On Things, And Why I Love to Get Rid of Them

I take an inordinate amount of pleasure in using things up. This is a newish part of my personality, one that comes from my years post-university. Obviously, it is the result of moving by plane with two suitcases every year or two, but it strikes me constantly just how much I like it.

I like using up things when I have multiples of them, which seems to happen often in Korea, as you pick up half bottles of shampoo and parmesan cheese from departing teachers who have leftovers. These leftovers are fun in their own ways, as I get to try out bath products and foods that it would never occur to me to buy on my own. I have tried several things that I have since become somewhat addicted to. And sure, it makes plenty of sense to use up multiples; after all, I live in a very small place with limited storage space.

However, I also have an odd love of using up things that I will need to replenish. I hate shopping at the HomePlus much of the time, not so much once I am there but I dread the thought of needing to pop in to do a little grocery shopping. In spite of this, it is as if every finished tube of toothpaste or loaf of bread or sheet of stickers is somehow a pleasant victory of sorts.

Part of it is the hate of waste, as well. I save all bubble envelopes and use them to repack things I mail to people. It annoys me intensely to think of them thrown out. It is a concern for the environment, sure, but I can’t claim to be Ms. Environmental by a long shot. It is also the waste of money (and of the time at work it took to earn that money), though again, I am the last person to claim some sort of frugality. It is just one of those odd little things I do.

Thus, the next month and a half of my time in Korea will be all about trying to use up the odds and ends that won’t be leaving the country with me. I’m sure it will lead to some interesting meals and some pleasant evenings spent pampering myself with bath products.

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