It feels good to clear out the house

This week, our columnist Claudette Sandecki tackles her recycling

The number of seniors living in Terrace makes this town a perfect site for an enterprising person to set up a service helping elderly cull their residence of ‘junk’ when they’re ready to downsize to smaller living quarters, move to a retirement home, or relocate to another city to be nearer grandchildren.

For more than a year I’ve been stacking up recycling beginning with daily additions of plastic bags,  empty cans and berry cartons. I went so far as to remove hard covers from weighty volumes to make the pages acceptable for recycling. Next I tackled a 20-year stash of glossy magazines: Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Readers’ Digests, National Geographic… all bought before I invested in a computer and began reading periodicals on-line.

Bags of recycling grew in four rooms, until the last week when I consolidated them in the room handiest to the front door, formerly my upholstery shop.

That’s when I phoned Kasey at Do Your Part Recycling and asked her  to bring their cube van.

Other years, I’ve loaded recycling into my pickup and taken it to the depot by myself, but this year in addition to being four months late I had cleared many years’ worth of outdated reading material. Paper products like books and magazines are especially heavy. In addition, the bulk would never have fitted into my pickup nor would I have had the stamina to load it by myself.

Teaming up, I delivered the bundles two at a time to the doorstep, where Kasey dropped several bundles  into each of 16 big garbage bags before stowing them neatly in her van. In 40 minutes we had cleared 80 square feet of floor space I hadn’t seen in months.

All of it went except for the items Do Your Part doesn’t accept – dog food bags; glass jars; hardcovers that took muscle to cut off bound books (the covers are not cardboard, but rather some composite material); and big plastic spools from industrial thread. The spools have no recycling code on them. The spools, when screwed to a wall,  make excellent tool holders , particularly  for electric drills, staple guns, or anything with an electrical cord. The one inch diameter spools protect the cords from injury. Cans needn’t have their ends removed, as I did previous Aprils.

Sorting what to keep, what to toss out, and what to pass on to someone who might be able to use it is never easy, quick, or without pangs. By comparison, sorting potatoes is a lark. What looks like just old magazines may hide a gem, perhaps a file folder or note enlivening family history.

In my case a heap of Enquirers turned out to be hiding a $10 owner’s manual for a General Electric VCR I had ordered from Thomson Consumer Electronics in Louisville, Kentucky and not seen since its arrival December 22, 2005. The VCR awaits delivery to an electronics recycling depot.

But delivering castoffs to a recycling depot, landfill, Goodwill, or secondhand store isn’t all seniors may want help with. There’s reaching to fetch things down from high shelves, and equally difficult for some of us, kneeling on the floor to access lowest storage areas; packing small items in boxes or bags for efficient removal; carrying everything to the front door; dusting empty shelves; and tidying up the room afterwards.

Not everyone has ample space to safely collect boxes or bundles. Leaving something where it can snag a passing toe can lead to an emergency room visit, or worse, surgery to stabilize a compound fracture.

Having extra free space in the house is as exhilarating as I imagine an Oprah spa day to be. I’ll bet my kids are equally relieved so much junk has left the building.





Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Terrace calling on Province to take stricter social distancing measures

The City sent the Province a letter earlier this month with a number of recommendations

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

Grant could help ease road rebuild cost

Would help pay for sidewalk, bike lane

Terrace Library, Misty River Books adapt amid COVID-19 to keep readers reading

Library also unrolling online programs to keep kids occupied

Preventable accidents may impede Search and Rescue capacity during pandemic

TSAR vice president urges outdoor enthusiasts to pause risky activities

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read