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It’s like an Aesop’s fable for grow-ups

It’s like an Aesop’s fable for grow-ups

December 10, 2006

The moral of the story is: Garbage bags are for garbage, ONLY garbage.

Alternate moral: Don’t throw anything away, ever. Squirrel it all away until your house looks like one of the ones featured on the 5 o’clock news where they had to use a bulldozer to rescue the family that was trapped inside behind a fortress of their own garbage.

The story begins…

In early January when you are sick and tired of looking at all the dusty holiday decorations, the dead pine needles that have gathered in all corners of the rooms, and the sound of Christmas carols makes you want to tear your hair out and strangle the general public with it, you might decide one day that you have to put all the decorations away now. As in RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT.

However, as is always the case, you may not have enough rubbermaid bins to store the decorations because you have purchased more decorations during this holiday season. And even though you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will never use half of the itmes you have stored away in the boxes marked XMAS, you can not throw them away. Baby Jesus doesn’t like wasting perfectly good, albeit outdated and dusty, things.

And so you may decide to put all the garland, wreaths, bows, lights, and other non-breakable assorted things into a black garbage bag with the intention of buying a new rubbermaid bin the next time you are out shopping. But after you carry the black garbage bag up two flights of stairs and deposit it in the far corner of the attic, shut the attic door, walk back down two flights of stairs… you will have forgotten all about it.

And the months will pass by. Christmas will be a distant memory.

So distant in fact that when summer comes along and you decide that you want to clean out the attic and purge all the junk that is stored up there you will throw all the junk into black garbage bags and leave them in various locations in the attic. And then a few weekends later you might harass instruct your husband and sons to get all the garbage out of the attic, for crying out loud, and bring it to the dump.

And you will be blissfully happy with your newly cleaned out and tidy attic. And you might even go so far as to make oboxious sweeping statements to anyone who will listen about how much “lighter” you feel now.

Then come December you might find yourself opening up every single storage bin in your attic looking for the missing items before it all flashes before your eyes. And your mouth will fall open and you will yell, “No fucking way!” And then you will curse to yourself all the way to Micheal’s where you replace it all, and possibly more, making a mental note to purchase some new rubbermaid bins.

And in case you were wondering, the same hold true for the children’s winter outwear accessories… hats, neck gaitors, expensive ski gloves and pants… You will not discover this until the first snowy day in December when you try in vain to locate the things for the children to play outside. And the children will be forced to wear cheap mismatched stretch to fit gloves, and hats that have been rejected for so many years that they never even made it out of the attic last winter. And when the children complain about their hands being wet and cold you might just find yourself telling them to play outside without touching the snow.

Or maybe suggest that they wear black garbage bags.

Because saving their hands from frostbite is not nearly as important as having a well decorated house.

Posted by Chris @ 11:26 pm  

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  1. Kate says:

    Oh I am so sorry that just sucks!

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh….no! I’m so sorry! What a sucky lesson to learn two weeks before Christmas!!!!!!

  3. Heather says:

    I feel your pain. I have done the same exact thing during our last move. We threw away gawd knows what, I havent had the energy to wrack my brain.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    No good comes from cleaning, no good at all. But a lot of stores are having 50 percent off sales on Xmas decorations right now, so that’s a plus, right? Sorry!

  5. Annika says:

    Oh no! I hope nothing too precious was in there.

  6. Julie says:

    Oh no!!! Note to self: clear plastic bins! Must. Buy. ClearPlasticBins.

    I’m so sorry. I think your reaction of “No Fucking Way” is rated G compared to the fit I would have thrown.

  7. carrien says:

    but clear plastic garbage bags on the other hand….in case you don’t get those rubbermaids again.

    You make a day I would have run away from and gone back to bed crying about funny, how do you do that?

  8. lisavc says:

    I did this once with the baby clothes. Handknitted. And blankets. And babysling. And all sorts of expensive gear. Just before the 2nd baby was born. And we were 18, and poor. I still get a tear in my eye when I think about it.

  9. Maddy says:

    I too learned this very sad and painful lesson, with all my maternity clothes! After my last baby was born I lovingly washed them, ironed them, folded them and then foolishly put them in a big strong black garbage bag for *SAFE* keeping. They didn’t even go to the thrift shop, my husband ……. binned them!

  10. annette says:

    I am so sorry for this loss but I am certainly glad for the reminder as I am tackling the basement.

    On the brightside, you can tell your kids you are recalling the nostalgia of using wonder bread bags over their shoes instead of snow boots, or was that just my poor neglected childhood?

  11. Tricia says:


  12. judi casey says:

    that sounds like something i would do.

  13. Sue says:

    Oh no! I can JUST imagine doing exactly that. I felt my stomach clench as I read, and goosebumps appeared on my arms. At that instant I made a renewed determination not to put anything, ever, in rubbish sacks except rubbish…

  14. Cathy C says:

    You are too funny! Now that you’ve replaced the decorations, and hopefully soon your children’s snow wear, I really hope that Santa brings you some Rubbermaid bins. Lots of them. Extras even, so that next time you need one, there will be one ready and waiting in your attic. Have a great day, Chris!

  15. Chris says:


    I guess I had better get some bins to replace my garbage sack storage…

    Also… I directed my husband to take the “garbage” out of our storage room once. He threw away my wedding dress. I guess I forgot to instruct him to look IN the garbage bags before he threw them away.

  16. S says:

    I lost some lovely (not cheap) oxford cloth bedding that same way once.

  17. Jen says:

    Wow, we have got to stop using garbage bags for storage…look at all we lost in the posts above….

    I lost my “off-season” bedding. I have a set of sheets/blankets/comforter/bedskirt used for fall& winter and one set for spring/summer. right now, we are freezing our butts off with our light summer comforter set because the heavy winter set is residing somewhere on a great big hill of trash.

  18. peepnroosmom says:

    Oh No! I KNEW what you were going to say after the first sentence.
    Sadly, been there, done that, hopefully won’t do it again.

  19. jen says:

    Oh my gosh, annette! i thought *i* was the only child who had to suffer with wonder bread bags around my feet! wow - hadn’t thought about that part of my childhood … well, since childhood!

    so sorry, chris, about the stuff tossed out — what a pain! hope you enjoyed the shopping for new stuff at least! ;)

  20. Katie says:

    Ai yi yi! Well it’s nice to have new stuff though right?

    I second Carrien’s idea of clear plastic bags, I bought a bunch of them (from the Home Depot in case you are looking) when we moved. It was great for the kids’ bedding and other things that don’t box well.

  21. Prism75 says:

    I learned this lesson from my dad. When he was around 9 years old, he and his brother went to stay with cousins and brought their clothes in garbage bags. Around supper time the boys were all told to take the garbage out and burn it, and so ALL the garbage bags went outside.

    Come bedtime, when they went searching for their pajamas, they realized that they had just burned them along with their week’s worth of cloths, which pretty much back then meant their whole wardrobe!

    Garbage bags ARE handy, but may not be the best thing for storing things in :)


  22. Lori says:

    On the bright side. Perhaps if you’d been able to open that garbage bag of all things Christmassy you might have said “I really need to replace these things someday”–I hope you at least had a pleasant shopping experience!

  23. Alice H says:

    I made the mistake of leaving my wedding veil in a plain brown cardboard box at my in-laws’ house. The day before the wedding, my father-in-law picked up what he assumed was an empty box (from the weight) and threw it out. I went to pick it up after the rehearsal dinner and it was nowhere to be found.

    In all my wedding pictures, I look like I have a little tiny head on top of a huge dress.

    I’ll borrow your family next time we do a garage clean-out. We had one last summer, when I discovered that while I was on bedrest, my husband had been using the garage as a dumping ground for all the cardboard boxes that were coming in as people shipped us baby gifts and Christmas gifts. And mice had nested in them. I almost just set the garage on fire to get rid of everything. Unfortunately, the garage is attached to the house.

  24. owlhaven says:

    Sucky, sucky deal!!



  25. T in HD says:

    CRAP. So been there, done that. Most recently was when I was packing our fifty-thousand pieces of luggage for all of us after a nearly five-month visit in the US. Somewhere amongst all that crap was a bag with *adorable* matching Easter outfits for all the kids next spring, which I’d gotten a *fantastic* deal on from Gymboree in one of their after-Easter clearance sales. I was so pleased with myself, having found such nice stuff and for such a great deal and the kids would even match. Get home, unpack the luggage and the stuff is nowhere to be found. Call the US, they turn the house over looking for it. Long and short of it, I threw the $#@! bag of stuff in the rubbish bin with a load of other crap. Oh, and that would include the cute underwear I’d gotten at the same time on clearance. I could just be sick. That was six months ago and I still can’t stand to think about it.

  26. Kate says:

    Was the word “fucking” really necessary????????????????

  27. Susan says:

    ^Is commenting on it really necessary???????????

  28. InterstellarLass says:

    Oh no! That’s too bad. I don’t think I’ve ever lost anything to a trash bag. But hey! You got new stuff, right?

  29. Debbie says:

    You said ‘fuck’. Baby Jesus doesnt like the word. Have you received hate mail yet??

  30. Gretchen says:

    Umm, in this case I do believe that word was appropriate, LOL. I never blog that word, but for sure it would have been coming from my lips if it were me searching for missing things in my attic.

    So sorry Chris, though shopping for new would have been fun. You have the perfect house for doing up for the holidays. It is really hard for me to find where to put stuff in my 70s box house.

  31. lovely says:

    OMG I’ve done that and more then once I think as I get older I’m getting smarter (maybe?)

  32. Deb says:

    Add me to the list of those who have done the exact same thing as well as thrown out bags of clothing and kept bags of clothes that were for donation….

    Fucking garbage bags….

  33. nabbalicious says:

    Oh, man. That absolutely blows!

  34. » Lost - Actual Unretouched Photo says:

    [...] This story (over at “Notes from the Trenches”) reminds me of the Christmas that my husband gave me a gift certificate for a massage.  I placed that white envelope in the windowsill until after the festivities. [...]

  35. annette says:


    I think it was worse. I don’t think they were actually “Wonder” bread bags but some off brand, like Aldi :)! My kids would die!

    I am glad I was not the only one!

  36. Kate says:

    Oh, Deb, you’re so cool . . . .