I Can’t Contain Myself

Empty bins

I spent a good amount of time clearing these bins of items that I no longer need. This usually feels good. However, now that they’re somewhat in their original state, similar to when they were brand new and empty in the store, I am asking myself, Why did I need to buy these in the first place?

I am very enticed by containers. I always have been ever since I was young. The act of storing my special trinkets and toys into a box, bag, basket, envelope, cat-shaped purse etc. always brought me some sort of strange satisfaction. My daughter (and her cousins, I hear) are keeping this legacy alive.

K box

Now I know exactly where to find a miniature flipper for my next small snorkeling adventure.

As an adult who is responsible for helping to run a household and also run a classroom full of 8- year-old students, I acknowledge that containers and bins are security items that give me some sense of control. I HEREBY COMMAND THAT ALL 37 SQUISHY TOYS IN THIS HOUSE BE KEPT IN THE LARGE PLASTIC JAR THAT USED TO HAVE ANIMAL CRACKERS IN IT. This simple request makes me feel less guilty about letting the squishy collection get out of control in the first place, and I’m also “protecting the planet” by re-purposing a plastic jar. Yet, in the end I still feel pretty crappy. Or squishy and plastic. I feel some kind of way.

When items from containers are no longer necessary or functional, time is spent making a choice about what to do with them next. Then the “burden” of the items will eventually just be handed off to someone else or some other entity to deal with. I wonder what percentage of our landfills will be made up of squishies and surprise toy wrappers in a year or so. Now I am left with the decision of what to do with these empty containers. I am not feeling too jazzed about filling them back up and starting the cycle over again. If I pass them along to someone else, I’m just setting them up for some time consuming decision making later on down the road. Plastic bins do not deserve anymore of my emotional attention, that’s for sure. I have a husband and a daughter and a son who are waiting in line for their turn.  

Thanks to beloved Instagram, I came across some amazing posts and learned about an initiative by National Geographic that woke me up again regarding the impact of plastics on our planet. I had been turning a blind eye when life got a little more hectic with work and kids. I’m inspired and motivated to do better, and I want to model awareness for my kids and students in any way I can. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m up for it. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: 


Until then,

  • Acknowledgement: Plastic containers and bins are a “security blanket” in my home and in my workplace. When everything is in its place, I feel like I have control over stressful situations. Sometimes it’s efficient. It’s become more of a distraction lately.
  • Goals for the future: Work toward just having the basics in the home and in the classroom. Eliminate the stuff that will eventually eliminate the bins that eventually end up in the trash on purge day. Lots of work ahead!
  • Now: I’m going to take a deep breath. Maybe even a few.

Extra Credit Question: What do you usually do with empty bins after you’ve cleared out the items from them? Leave a reply if you’re not feeling shy!