Using Things Up

by Tabitha Kidwell

It may be a slight twinge of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but I have an intense passion for using things up. It all began when I was in the Peace Corps. In college, I could part with shampoo and lotion bottles without feeling the need to leave them balancing upside down for weeks while gravity worked it’s magic on every last bit. This mania has developed since my time in Madagascar, when I had to use every last bit of sunscreen (because there was no more sunscreen coming my way). Now, I get a huge sense of satisfaction whenever I finish anything up, which even extends to non-consumable items like clothing and books. It was a huge triumph when I gave novels to just the right students who would actually enjoy them, and it was totally okay when I spilled oil on my favorite green skirt (which was kinda falling apart anyways). I think this compulsion extends from valuing my possessions and not wanting them to go to waste. I only feel able to let go of things if I think I have used them to their fullest potential, or given them to someone who will. So the last few weeks in Indonesia have been awesome:

I finished up this bottle of sunscreen...

I finished up this bottle of sunscreen…

...and this lotion...

…and this lotion…

...and this toothpaste...

…and this toothpaste…

...and this deodorant.

…and this deodorant.

I also had an ongoing sale, which was so gratifying as students, neighbors, and friends came by and helped it go from this…


…to this…


… to nothing!

But the best was this quad-fecta: finishing up my coffee, sugar, cereal, AND toothpaste on the last morning!

Coffee not pictured

Coffee not pictured

Is this a pathological compulsion? I’m not sure. All I know is, I’m going to use like 2 or 3 fewer tubes of toothpaste over the course of my lifetime than you wasteful jerks! Ha!

One Comment to “Using Things Up”

  1. U sold ur BRImob shirt and bike?????

    Dikirim dari iPod saya

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