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Have you seen all the cute craft projects people are doing lately using old newspapers, drink-containers, plastic bags, and other trash? I love the creativity that goes into these projects and it’s fun to think that they’re made with items that would otherwise be thrown out or put through the long and resource-intensive process of recycling.

Laylee’s fascinated by this too, always talking about the virtues of the 3-Rs -- reduce, reuse, and recycle. When I was napping this afternoon she went to the recycle bin and got to work, rescuing every item and putting them to use, creating magical and useful items which I came down and found spread throughout the house.

“Mom, LOOK!” she exclaimed as she dragged me from room to room showing me each treasure. At first I was delighted by her creativity but as each item was revealed, I became more and more aware that my entire house was now covered with garbage, garbage that had been given the Laylee’s Masterpiece Stamp of Approval and could therefore only be thrown back into the bin by the most heartless of stone-cold heartless losers.

“Those are so amazing,” I complimented her on the cereal box placemats and coasters, the many glass and plastic container instruments, and the bottle that still just looked like a bottle but was apparently a special colorful spinning thing that spun and was colorful.

“Where are you gonna put them?”

“Ummm…put them?”

“Yeah. They’re really cool and I’m so glad you had fun making them but where are you gonna put them?”

She thought they could just stay where they were. I told her that although we knew they were special creations, other people might not figure it out and it may look like our house was covered in trash. Perhaps this was harsh but she didn’t seem bothered by it. They were, in fact, all made out of trash.

So we started looking for places to keep them. The placemats went with the real placemats. The coasters went in the drawer where we keep the coasters. The spinning bottle that is colorful and spins went on the kitchen counter above the recycle bin where it will hopefully end up.

When I asked her where she wanted to put her gazillion musical instruments, she was puzzled.

“Hmmm,” she thought aloud, “I guess they can just go out in the garage with all the other stuff.”

It’s true that all our family’s “stuff” ends up in the garage. However, it made me feel pathetic that Laylee’s only six and she’s got it figured out so well: that while I’m opposed to garbage all over the house, if I have something that I don’t really want or need, I just shove it in the garage. I went out there later tonight and found her pile of recycled goods sitting neatly on the floor next to my growing pile of junk. It all sort of goes together. I think a lot of it needs to GO somewhere soon.