Friday, February 15, 2008

Wanton Waste and TV Home Improvement

No progress on the bathroom today; I am holed up in a hotel room on a business trip. We don't have TV at home, and I so am watching HGTV. I am watching people smash toilets, attack cabinets with sledgehammers, and otherwise destroy or trash perfectly usable items. It kind of makes me sick.

What have I seen destroyed in 1 hour of home improvement and decorating shows?
  • A Yellow Toilet. Now, I know that yellow toilets are not the most popular decorating choice... but did they have to smash it? Surely someone could use it... even as a garden planter.
  • A Blue Recliner. Perfectly usable, not stained. Admittedly very comfortable. Its only sin? Lack of fashion. Sentenced to the trashcan (instead of a local thrift store or freecycle). Hopefully someone rescued it.
  • A HUGE Bathroom Mirror. Sure, small framed mirrors are the mainstay of modern decorating. Sure a big full wall mirror is outdated. However, it is so USEFUL. You could cut it down into smaller mirrors and frame those... or you could find a home for it with someone who needs a big mirror, like a musician, music school, or dancer. Why did you need to smash it with a sledgehammer?
  • A Full Kitchen of 50's Wooden Cabinets. Again, again. Someone could use them, even if just as garage cabinets. I know I could! And, I'm sure there are lots of you LOOKING for a matching cabinet or two for your 50's ranch restoration. No need to smash them.
Too bad they are not showcasing positive deconstruction techniques. Too bad they are promoting destruction instead.


Green Fairy said...

It might be my grandparents' strong influence as I was growing up, but I shudder at wanton destruction, too. I have a hard time throwing things away if I can find a new use for them. Even the ugly bathroom mirror that took up nearly an entire wall of our condo was carefully peeled off and is in storage "in case we need a mirror in one of our (not-yet-purchased) rental buildings."

That said, there is a part of me that likes smashing/ripping things, too. But I try to channel it by tearing out old, crumbling drywall or floor tiles. :-)

Aimee said...

Amen, amen! And I love the idea of a funky yellow toilet as a garden planter! :)

Too often people don't think about reusing, or donating. It's a shame really. I mean, I love new stuff too, but we are always looking for good ways to reuse what we take out.

Anonymous said...

I have been questioning this stuff for a long time. I hear people whine, complain and gripe about people who would stick vinyl windows on homes or side a house in vinyl while at the same time they are filling up dumpsters with 100's of pounds of plaster, lathe and wooden 2x4's or a pulled up hardwood floor and slapping granite countertops onto their cupboards or cork onto their floors proclaiming they are building "green".

The truth is, there is no outlet for saving much of this stuff and it's easier to smash it to bits to remove it than to carefully take it out in one piece. Imagine how many pounds of lathe go to landfills each year. Probably enough to heat over 5,000 homes an entire winter.

I watched an episode of TOH in Austin where everything that came out of the house went to a special recycler where every single thing was processed for reuse, right down to the last nail, it was impressive, but obviously this type of thing isn't available to most of us so to the landfill it goes.

Wendy said...

Yah, I yell at the TV a lot, especially when they do destroy perfectly good stuff.

(I also yell anytime W comes on. My daughter has learned to change the channel quick if I ever have to see his sneering little face.)

Maybe we need to write them a letter (or 50).

Sandy said...

I never could understand why they do that, either. We always pass stuff around in our family. There is always someone that needs something you don't want any more! Like they say, "One man's "trash" is another man's treasure!"

Our Little Bungalow said...

Amen! We have huge closets in this house and because I hate to trash anything there are things in there that need to go the ReStore! LOL

Andy said...

I replaced the pressure-assist toilet upstairs with a "regular" toilet, but it was because the water pressure was too weak to overcome the pressure-assist's pushback. Did I throw it out? No...because I could use it downstairs if that toilet ever breaks. Plus, I'm sure it was not a cheap toilet either! I try to keep whatever I can and find interesting uses for other things...but I will say, I don't think I could use a toilet as a planter...I'd find something else for it. :) Just personal opinion though!

modernemama said...

I have boxes of old lights in our house, someone may want them. I've also recycled/repurposed a lot of furniture. I'm hoping we can save some of the mirrors in our bath, too.

Green Bean said...

oh, I hate hate hate this kind of thing! in the past 5 years or so, I don't think we've thrown anything but a set of old, twisted metal blinds out. really, someone - if not me - can almost always make use of home decor. just because it is "out of style" doesn't mean it is trash. unfortunately, though, that seems to be the american mindset.

Anonymous said...

What makes me angry about the home improvement shows (and clothing shows) that so this, is that they are brainwashing America into thinking that they need new products all the time and that the old stuff is "too ugly" to keep.

They have even said "we are not going to donate this because it to too outdated for donation!"

I understand that too a point. The Salvation Army may not want a bunch of really old stuff, but some place does. Try freecycle or a "free" garage sale for change! UGH!

When we bought our first house, everything we remolded went to the road to be picked up. Usually it was picked up within hours. Otherwise we freecycled it or gave it to neighbors.

Chile said...

That would drive me batty! But, I'm sure viewers love to see the senseless destruction. :(

Jen said...

I agree with Wendy, maybe HGTV needs a flood of letters written to them about how things should be donated to Habitat ReStore or Good Will or freecycle or what ever outlet.
Only about 50% of the decorating done on HGTV is good anyway.
Yes we had to demo a lot with our house, but it had rotted. Things not rotted were sold at a yard sale, donated, or placed on the curb and picked up by people who wanted it. Our old carpet was even picked up by someone in a truck, so it didn't go to a landfill.

Idaho Locavore said...

When I read this post what came to my mind was the new fad of brides "trashing" their wedding dresses.

If new brides don't want to keep and store their dress then why not give it away or sell it to someone else who can use it? Why wallow in the mud and do things that rip it up and makes it into just another piece of garbage? Why celebrate wanton wastefulness? Is it just because you can?

Maybe some of the motive for trashing still-usable things is the mindset that "it's MINE and I don't want it, but I don't want anyone ELSE to use it, either." Who knows. It makes no sense to me.

marci lambert said...

i couldn't agree more! when we reno-ed our kitchen, we gave the old old cabinets to Habitat, along with the appliances. even though i hated the stuff i didn't want to throw it in the trash!

Skymosher said...

I have to admit that I am one of those folks who used a cracked old toilet as a planter. I had dreams of "building" a bathroom in the back yard made up of old bathroom fixtures. I loved my toilet planter. :)