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Donkin's World: Nothing Like A Good Clear Out

...We've had two of everything for a while. It's when you start to get three of everything that you know you're in trouble. A third vacuum cleaner arrived in midweek from our next door neighbour who is moving to Switzerland. It's a great vac so it was out with my dad's old upright....

But Richard Donkin hates to throw away anything that is still serviceable.

Richard broaches an idea that is so sound and sensible the “authorities’’ will inevitably ignore it.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site
http://www.richarddonkin.com/

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

It's not often that Gill and I get a weekend to ourselves but all the boys were away doing various things. So what did we do? We went to the tip.

When you have lived in a house for 18 years you accumulate a lot of stuff; or at least you do if you are not good at throwing things away. The time has come to be ruthless. But it's so hard. I hate throwing away things that are perfectly serviceable.

We've had two of everything for a while. It's when you start to get three of everything that you know you're in trouble. A third vacuum cleaner arrived in midweek from our next door neighbour who is moving to Switzerland. It's a great vac so it was out with my dad's old upright.

We started on the garage which hasn't had room for cars for some years now. Instead there's a settee, an armchair, a sideboard and a bureau. It's more like a front room without the carpets.

We chucked the armchair - perfectly serviceable. That hurt. It wasn't so difficult to part with the single wooden oar found on a beach years ago, or the four old suitcases and assorted nylon bags - the sort you get at conferences for all the papers - or the Hewlett Packard laser printer that buggered up my old computer.

All the other computer bits - the keyboards and joy sticks worked just fine. But they had to go.

For some reason - I have no idea why - we had hoarded bits of carpet in the loft. They've all gone. The loft is a nightmare: boxes of books, a commode, a plate rack, lots of paintings and prints, lampshades, more suitcases, wooden rackets, old computers, school exercise books and boxes and boxes of toys (for the grandchildren - says Gill. By the time that happens the Brio train set will be a museum piece).

We didn't make much of an impression on the loft.

I wanted to throw out a music cassette player and video cassette player. But Gill pointed out that without them we would have no means of playing any of our old videos and cassettes. People must have had these debates in the past when they wondered whether they should part with their wind-up gramophones and 78s.

At the tip it was such a shame to see so much good stuff going in to the skips. You aren't allowed to take things; that doesn't make sense to me. When we were first married people used to hang around the tips eyeing up the goodies.

We Tarmacked and edged the drive of our first house with asphalt and kerb stones tipped by the council. That was real recycling. Today new things are coming out so quickly there is no time for your existing stuff to grow old.

The video monitor is a case in point. If it's not a flat screen these days, no-one wants it; nothing wrong with the old ones, they're simply not flat.

We took a load of old plastic plant pots to the local gardening centre where they had a recycling bin. But all the bins were full and they couldn't accept more. "The people who said they would pick them up from us don't appear to have got their act together yet," said the manager. So the pots went to the tip.

But why couldn't the nurseries recycle pots? When I buy a new plant I don't need it to be in a new plastic pot. It's the plant, not the pot that I want. The garden centre will tell you that old pots are not acceptable to consumers. Why don't they try us?

I think that councils should allow their refuse workers to earn a few bob on the side selling some of the better waste as jumble; but that wouldn't do, allowing a bit of entrepreneurial spirit at the local tip. That wouldn't do at all.

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