The Backpack Saga: A resourceful tale.

I’m not resourceful, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I operate under the mindset to acquire the smallest number of things, by spending the least amount of money without harming the environment too much. Maybe that’s resourcefulness. I prefer to call myself a lazy environmentalist.  Why buy something, when I can find a way not to?

I was faced with a prime dilemma recently, challenging my lazy environmentalist ways. My lunch leaked in my backpack. EEK! My teriyaki meal prepped rice leaked out of the container, leaking sauce all over the rest of my lunch (ew). It leaked just right that it leaked out of my lunch box, on to my library book, bullet journal and all over the bottom of my back pack. Ew. Sticky Ew.

My coworker saw me dealing with my sticky mess. Her suggestion: Throw it out and start over.

What???????????????

No.

She suggested I throw out all my lunch containers (The ones in my lunch box and at home) and start over. Throw away my backpack and buy a new one. She didn’t see my now sticky bullet journal, but she probably would have suggested I throw that away and start over as well. All because of a teriyaki spill.

Never did it cross my mind to throw it all away.

I went to the lunch room and cleaned out my lunch box and all the stickiness. I let it dry in the back of my cube. Good as new.

When I came home, I threw it in the washer and soaked it in soapy water. Simple enough. I forgot about it and let it soak overnight. When I came down in the morning, the water was disgusting. Life Pro-Tip: Maybe wash your backpack more than once every 15 years.

I didn’t want to add any other clothes to the wash, so I ran it on its own. MISTAKE. I forgot to put it in a garment bag or a pillow case. It took a beating. When the wash finished, my bag was sparkling clean, but had 2 rips – a matching one on each side.

Perhaps at this point, I should have throw it out. But that didn’t cross my mind.

So my backpack had rips in it. Its a backpack. I know how to sew. I might even have some fancy contrasting thread I can use to add a little pizzazz to my wonderful backpack. I’m thinking purple Xs on my pink and black pack. Prettttty.

While I waited to let the pack dry and then procrastinated, I still had no plans of getting a new bag. I used my laptop bag for a week and it was okay. The one sided strain was what finally got me to get to stitching. Turns out, I had pink thread that was nearly a perfect match to my pack. I stitched it up while I browsed YouTube on a slow Sunday morning.

Is this resourcefulness? It probably is. I prefer to think of it as part of avoiding this crazy consumerist culture we live in. It’s more important for me to avoid that and the cycle than anything else. What if I did throw everything away after a teriyaki spill? How soon after that would I be throwing it all away again? If I throw everything away at the first sign of trouble, I will be throwing everything away constantly.

I don’t have the emotional energy to always be shopping.

Cleaning up after the accident took a few minutes at work, 30 seconds to throw it in the wash to soak and later turn on the machine. The YouTube video I watched while stitching was 45 minutes and I had video to spare. In total, spending an hour bringing my pack back to life sounds way better than shopping for a new backpack and abandoning this one.

I’m sure the environment thanks me. Laziness for the win.

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4 comments

  1. This person wanted you to throw out your lunch container because it had teriyaki sauce on it? That sounds insane! Good for you for not listening to her advice and to salvaging perfectly salvageable things. We’d all be in better financial and environmental shape if we did the same.

  2. you’re supposed to wash your backpack??? 😉
    I have not yet. LOL.
    maybe you could use iron patches (like the kind you put on kids pants to reinforce the knee area – does anyone do that anymore?) to strengthen the rip area if needed. While throwing away may have been the easy all answer, what fun is life with out a bit of a mess to clean up. yay for the environmental, frugal win.

    1. It was sticky, so I had to, but ewwwwww the water was nasty. Maybe an every 10 year washing plan?

      Thankfully for me, the rips aren’t in major weight bearing areas. Hopefully my stitching does the trick!

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