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  • Writer's pictureClaire Marie

Junk vs Junque

Every so often, I am reminded of an old saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." I have no idea who said it, but I've heard it my whole life. When I wrote Becoming Un-stuffed, I had just gotten started on a journey of sorting all the stuff I have collected between piles of junk vs piles of junque. No, junque isn't a real word, but it is a made-up word for junk (or trash) that may be someone else's treasure.

When we did our renovations, our old windows became cold frame covers in my sister's garden. A piece of quartz countertop too small for a bathroom counter became a garden bench for my sister. (Yes, she really is that creative too!) I knew they would be useful to someone, but they weren't going to be useful for me (at least not at present).

Something my siblings and I learned from our parents was to try to make use of what we have, even if it means repurposing it. I wrote about that here, but sometimes junk really is just trash. It's just a fact, which is why our garbage canister has been nearly overflowing every week for most of the last two years.

One thing I can say though is that we haven't resorted to renting a storage facility for our junk. It all still fits in our house, even if we are getting rid of a bunch of it, bit by bit. Jeffrey Walter and I have even had a few humorous thoughts as we have passed by all the storage facilities around town. Here are a few:

America- where we have so much junk, we rent space to store it.

America- we have so much junk we park our $50,000 car in the driveway so we can store our junk in the garage. (We aren't normally there, but we have renovations material in the garage until the renovations are finished.)

America - where we downsize our homes, then rent a separate space to store all the extra junk we can't seem to part with.

That last one just boggles my mind. I thought those storage facilities were intended to be temporary, like when you renovate or you're between homes. Oddly, people rent them for years on end.

One last thought - a lot of people throw things away that someone else may find useful. That's why there's a thing called "dumpster diving." For me, it's more like perusing what the neighbors have left at the street for the garbage men to pick up. Some do post curb alerts to let neighbors know there might be something useful, but many don't. I have found several useful things that way including flowerpots, a high-top table with stools we use for eating on our sunporch, a working blender, and a cat carrier, to name a few. Someone else's trash that has become a treasure.

So, what about you? Is it trash or is it a treasure? Do you shop at thrift stores? Have you ever pulled something from a trash pile or dumpster because you were able to use it?

As with all my blog posts, if you enjoyed this article, please like, share and/or comment below.

Some of that junk that really is just trash.

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Christopher Tipton
Christopher Tipton
Jun 21, 2022

Dumpster diving was my favorite past-time as a teenager. Of course my idea of junque and my father's ideas were often diametrically opposed. Guess who won that intellectual battle?

I still keep an eye on people's trash piles set out on the curb for pickup day. Once in a while there is a treasure. My Ex is a professional dumpster diver and has come up with some great items. She once found an overhead projector in good shape and perfect working order and gave it to me for my firearms teaching. I still have it.

One of my favorite George Carlin skits is about people and their "Stuff." Funny as hell.


Kathi Sturm
Kathi Sturm
Jun 21, 2022

Junque--LOVE IT!

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