Nobody in my family would ever classify me as a spendthrift and certainly not a penny pincher. As a matter of fact, history indicates moments of impulsive buying when items such as ginsu knives or rotisserie ovens start arriving at the front door.

We all love new stuff, but our culture rarely embraces finding ways to still use old stuff.

Recently, I’ve found myself thinking about creatively using the old stuff.

There’s a chance that my mind wanders to these matters for one primary reason. Most of my stuff is old.

If you ever want to make yourself feel better about how your stuff measures up to other people’s stuff, pay a visit to the Bees Ferry landfill.

Dump trucks, garbage trucks, pickup trucks, trailers and loaded SUVs roll in and out of the West Ashley county landfill and recycling center all day long.

Most of us aren’t there with large construction or demolition loads. We’re just there to rid ourselves of junk nobody wanted from our yard sale.

During spring cleaning, we often are inspired to finally purge the attic and garage of things that have done nothing but take up space and attract dust for decades.

Everything from used cooking oil to cardboard makes its way to the recycling area. Paper, plastic, scrap metal, appliances and old newspapers have their holding bins. When leaving, not only is there a sense of new beginning, but also a feeling of accomplishment.

We’re often told it’s extremely therapeutic to just get rid of things that are old, no longer in style, serve no purpose or hold little value. Sometimes it’s tough to let go.

“It might be worth something someday” is always a justifiable reason. Or, there’s always the “I might decide to use that one of these days” excuse. The main reason we don’t expel and expunge probably is rooted more in laziness and choosing not to make a decision.

All these words of wisdom come freely from my head, while I see more and more “stuff” piling up in my own garage. Doing nothing about such a circumstance can be paralyzing. Understanding the need for action does not replace the need to take action.

Spring is a time for growth, for a new start. It’s the perfect time to see if there is actually a floor in the garage.

Does it mean all of your stored treasures are nothing more than trash? Not necessarily.

However, if you’ve done nothing with that stuff in months or even years but rearrange it, then it’s probably time for it to go.

Perhaps the best bargain going at the landfill is the compost. Converting all the yard and food waste to nutrient-rich soil is quite a cool process.

Some of the nastiest ingredients to ever fall out of the back of a garbage truck are pulverized and cured to a natural state that can then be used to grow and beautify.

And they sell this black dirt for just $10 a ton.

There’s probably a landfill life lesson here for all of us.

Junk no longer wanted, needed or used is hauled away. The clutter is cleaned up, the space is reclaimed. Taking its place in the back of the family car are bags of soil that can be used to promote growth and curb appeal.

That’s a pretty good trade. Just don’t start stacking the bags of dirt on the newly discovered garage floor.

Like goodwill and a kind spirit, that rich soil won’t do any good unless you spread it around.

Reach Warren Peper at