If you were raised not to waste things, tossing stuff into the garbage when there’s a chance it might still be good is a hard thing to do.

That is why there are so many old people like me who hang on to their outdated computers even when the only thing they’re useful for is to cover with a doily and place a vase of flowers on top.

A friend of mine planted her garden this spring and wondered why the Swiss chard was not coming up. Then she checked — the seed was packaged for 1984.

Another friend consulted a jar of pickled asparagus in the door of her refrigerator she’d bought for bloody marys. The expiration date said 2012.

My advice is: Toss the seeds and buy new. It might set you back $1.79 but it’s definitely worth it.

As far as the pickled asparagus — it’s probably safe. Vinegar protects things, sorta. However, might as well chuck that, too, and buy a new jar. That’s what your stimulus money is for.

It almost makes you laugh when you hear how long other people hang on to stuff they clearly should have junked years ago. And then you look into your own cupboards and closets, and you are once again reminded not to cast stones.

I had a can of my mother’s cream of tartar that I believe dated back to World War II. Even though I could hardly pry open the can, I hated to throw it out. My mother’s been gone a quarter of a century now, yet whenever I looked at that little can of cream of tartar, I thought of her.

My old dog, Christmas Belle, used to chew up stuff whenever I was away from home. I have a pair of scissors that I can no longer use because Belle chewed off one of the handles.

And the quilt on my bed has big holes in it that she shredded while I was on vacation to California.

I won’t mention the leather binding of my Bible she took a big bite out of.

Throw that stuff away? Are you kidding? It would be like discarding a piece of history that reminds me of that sweet dog whenever I see them.

I could buy new scissors. I can get another quilt. And I have more Bibles than a Christian bookstore. But I will never have another Christmas Belle, so I will just live happily with the things around my house she destroyed.

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.

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