Home » Uncategorized » Taking Down and Putting Up Houses: A Culture of the Disposable

Taking Down and Putting Up Houses: A Culture of the Disposable


Yesterday, I collected a small door, a small sink, and a small light fixture from a home that a friend in the dance community, Steve, is doing a re-model on.  I very much like the “finds”, especially the door which is bright white and lean and tall and hung out the back of Wendy’s truck as I drove it home from the North Boulder Housing Development back to my mountain, stopping for my favorite coffee cake and a chocolate croissant (for Wendy) enroute.

Amidst the sounds of electric saws and nail guns, Steve walked me around the house quickly.  “Those windows are coming out, and that door….what about odd cuts of 2 by 4’s….plywood?  What do you need?”.  He disappeared, came back with the sink and the light, disappeared again, came back with the perfect door for my bathroom.  I feel giddy with abundance.  I felt in awe in the stream of goods that are used and then no longer needed, still shiny and not even yet old in any sense of the word.

As we loaded the skinny door into Wendy’s truck, moving aside planters and her snowboard, Steve told me that he remodeled this same house 11 years ago, and that the previous owners had to move from their much beloved abode due health issues and an order from the doctor to “move to the lowlands” immediately.  Now, the new owners, were in the process of creating a re-imagined “paradise” for themselves with the help of Steve and his crew.  And hence, my perfect door slipped into the back of my borrowed truck.

Thankful to have friends who are in the right places, and generous with their resources and know-how (maybe Steve will consult me on my house when I reach that stage), however struck by the “there will always be enough resources” mentality that takes a perfectly good home and unravels it, putting in all new manufactured things suited perfectly to the new taste of the inhabiters.  Just because, they have the apparent resources to do so.

I am not sure that the earth has the resources.

In today’s world, the life and usefulness of things must be much shorter than in eras past (or in economically poorer areas).  Just as we speed around in faster cars, on faster iphones, with faster conversations….our homes arise and fall and are re-figured faster.  Things in nature become man-made things, travel across great distances, become fancy homes, cars, furniture, clothing or cheap versions of the same.  Until we change our minds, or locations, or both.

And we, or a few of us on the planet, have the luxury to live with this relationship (or lack of relationship) to these resources.

Then there are those, like me, who get to just stand at this end of the waste stream with wide open arms and say, “YES”.  It’s not sustainable for the long haul, but for now, I take my gratitude tinged with a little cynicism, my new little door (and sink and light) and continue to create my tiny, portable house that I hope to have for a good long time as I change and grow and move through this beautiful world.


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