There's an excellent post on the Zero Waste Home blog about heirloom guilt. I think the author, Bea, worded it very well. She makes the point that everyone needs to find what works for them--you don't have to be completely cold-hearted and unsentimental and get rid of everything that's been passed down to you--but that we need to get rid of the guilt associated with heirlooms. If you don't use it, why keep it? Your ancestors didn't pass things down to you to clutter up your home or make you feel guilty. This is exactly how I feel! It drives me nuts that people have "good" things which they never, ever use. What's the point?! I admit that I'm starting to get a few heirlooms, but I'm being careful about the things I ask for or keep. It's hard to get rid of the items from your loved ones because you want to keep them close after they've died. But I don't think it does their memory any justice if all you do is box up their stuff, leave it in the garage or attic, and then feel guilty for even the thought of getting rid of it. Keeping a few well-chosen items which you'll actually use is a much better reminder of that person and your relationship with them.
A trend that I've noticed lately is that every group which is trying to portray a "green" attitude gives away those reusable bags. This seems sort of funny and counter-intuitive to me, since they're just creating yet another thing that most people won't use. So what we've started doing at the library is bringing them in for others to use. When a patron checks out a lot of books which would be either hard to carry or hard to put in their backpack, we loan out one of these bags. They usually make their way back to us and it's a nice, communal way of using what otherwise would be a silly freebie giveaway. I wonder how many of those bags actually get used again?
Also, if you need newspapers, just ask your local library. We only keep ours for two weeks before they get discarded. We keep the recycle bin public and it's amazing how many people come in and ask us if they can take some of the old newspapers. I've even taken a few myself, for household cleaning and such. (Cleaning the windows with newspaper really does work well.)
Trying to get in shape again after being sick for so long sucks by the way. So sore!
And I think I need to adjust how I store things in our "root cellar". Fairbanks is super dry in the winter (I wish you could see my chapped hands!) and some of the things I was trying to store ended up drying out really fast. The turnips didn't last, and neither did the parsnips. I tend to eat those fast enough, though, that I'll probably just go back to storing them in the fridge. The potatoes are fine, but just to be safe I put a damp cloth over the sweet potatoes. I don't want to plug in a humidifier because a)I'd have to buy one and b)it would cost electricity. But my experiences of storing sweet potatoes in the past makes me think that they'll be all right for a while yet. Hopefully.
Finally, my dog is seriously upset with me for being gone so much, and she's being very melodramatic about it. I'm trying to win her over again with walks, but every time Shane pets her she stares at me like, "See? He loves me. He's a good parent." This attitude is spreading to the cat, who comes over to rub against me but flees yowling if I reach down to pet him. How demoralizing is that? My own pets don't love me right now.