Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Rag Bag

Nothing was ever thrown away. Perhaps it was a holdover from the Depression. Maybe it was just the way of life for country families who struggled. But, nothing was ever thrown away.

My kids laugh when they pull out an old rag from the rag bag and find a worn pair of pajama bottoms, an old ratty pillowcase, even an old ripped sheet. I wouldn’t dream of tossing them. Nope. I do what my mother did. I toss worn items into the rag bag. Why use paper towels when I can use a rag over and over again?

For years I have used old margarine containers for food storage, small craft pieces, the kids’ stickers and small pieces of toys. Old ice cream buckets can actually work as a regular bucket or storage place for tennis balls.

Most of us grew up with jelly jars for drinking glasses. Mom used old jars for food storage. She even washed old plastic bags to use over and over again. (Okay, I did the same thing for years.) An old Velvetta Cheese box was used for odds and ends. Now I use the old box for pencils and small games.

When Mom cut out a pattern, she would save the large pieces of fabric for quilting, to make doll clothing and for pieces on bibs and other baby items. Old quilts and blankets, tattered and worn, became filler for new quilts. Buttons were saved from old shirts and other pieces of clothing. My grandmother had button boxes full of old underwear buttons white with two big holes. Pieces of ribbon and yarn were saved. One never knew when it might be needed.

Mom made pie crusts later rolling out the dough scraps to make small cinnamon rolls for us. No piece of chicken was thrown away. Bones were cook from meat and used for soups, stews and dressing. Cooked mush was turned into fried mush the next morning. Mom used flour over and over again for breading other foods. Nothing was pitched until absolutely necessary.

I could go on and on. I have some of the ‘old’ handed-down ways. In fact, we are living in a time when it is more important for us to think before we buy and use whatever we have remembering good health for us and our planet. My kids won’t find boxes of old Cool Whip containers or shoe boxes full of salvaged odds and ends, but they will probably still find an old dish towel or random sock in the rag bag.

The history of recycling.

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