I have an addiction that probably boarders on hoarding. I can’t BEAR to throw containers away. I’m running out of room under the kitchen sink where I store pickle jars. Empty gallon milk jugs are now strung together with yarn and hanging from my shed. I have a tower of transparent spinach bins and berry flats on the kitchen porch. Old pop bottles filled with water are stacked in the freezer. Somewhere in the basement are collections of glass bottles and jugs from eons ago that I had “plans” for. The powder for my protein shakes comes in gallon sized white plastic jars that have been piling up on the kitchen porch next to the spinach bins.
I glance over in time to see someone throwing a milk jug in the trash. They roll their eyes as I shriek in horror.
For years now this habit has been building to it’s now epic proportions. There was a moment when I started thinking that perhaps I should seek some professional help. Then the universe began shifting in my favor. Slowly, I am being redeemed.
We attend an art festival in the mountains of Colorado every year. A friend we camp with asked if I would like to do a piece for the Spiral Art Garden that was bordering our camp. He suggested something with pinwheels. He knows how I love a good pinwheel. Guess what you can make pinwheels out of? Gallon milk jugs. That’s right. I don’t look so crazy now do I? (Don’t answer yet.)
This did however interrupt my cycle of becoming overwhelmed with milk jugs and having to throw them away before the floor caved in from their immense weight. (Imagine how MANY that would TAKE!)
No. Now, I had to push through. I had to make it past my threshold.
Lucky for me, my two year old daughter drinks a lot of milk. I passed overwhelming and found new heights of milk jug hoarding only previously IMAGINED by my family. The piles fell over. Making it through the dark porch at night to let the dog out became in exercise in NINJA skills. Then my dad came to visit and helped me put them in giant lawn bags. They were contained, but ominous in their black lumpy hoards.
The festival approached and my eighteen year old daughter was luckily on hand to assist. We spray painted the insides of countless milk jugs with different layers of colors. Cutting them out proved time consuming. The plastic on the the bottom gets thicker and it wasn’t long before we had blisters on the insides of our thumbs. I ended up dragging them to the festival with me. I asked my camp mates in advance to bring scissors if they had time to help. I wish I had more pictures of the process. My battery went dead early on, and I was so focused on turning my hoarding into ART that I couldn’t be bothered.
After 2 more days of prep work on site, and the construction of the frame by my partner, I began stringing the painted plastic onto fishing line and tying it to the frame. I had no idea what I was going to get. It was only a concept in my head. I spent hours on a ladder in the hot sun getting them all in the air. So many smiling people stopped to see what I was doing, drawn in by the bright colors and the weird cube. The kids from the camp across the road were ducking in and out around the fishing line. This was funny at first, but fishing line can be nearly invisible. After nearly garroting a couple of people I privately nicknamed it “The Pretty Deathcube”. I prayed that none of those celebrating exuberantly ould go stumbling through it in the middle of the night. Horrific visions went spinning through my head.
Luckily it was only fishing line, not razor wire. And nothing of THAT sort happened.
There was an unexpected effect. When the first breezes began to hit them and they started to spin on the fishing line I jumped up and down so excited that it was working! I hadn’t been sure until then that it would actually work! I was so excited I nearly missed the fact that they were SINGING! The rough edges on the tight fishing line were plinking them like harp strings! It was, for a moment, the most beautiful sound in the universe.
It seems that there has been some cosmic shift since the festival. Suddenly, these containers that have been collecting on my porch are being USED.
I’ve been constructing upside down planters out of the protein jars.
And yesterday, after lamenting one last time that I keep passing over the little 10/$10 organizing bins at the grocery store – I was giddy to realize that spinach bins are about the same size! A little bigger actually. And the plastic is more clear so you can see what’s inside. And you get one FREE with EVERY bin of spinach you buy!!!
It’s such a relief to be using all of these containers that would have otherwise been stacked up annoying my partner, or worse yet going to a landfill.
Unfortunately, now I am fresh out of milk jugs. My project for next year needs guess what? Milk jugs. Hundreds of them. I’ll be trolling my friends and neighbors for their gallon jugs before long. The kitchen porch isn’t big enough any more. I wonder if I can strap them to the roof of the garage. Hmmm…..