Junk: Digging Through Americas Love Affair with Stuff

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Junk: Digging Through America's Love Affair with Stuff Details

Junk has become a national obsession. Who doesnt have a basement, attic, closet, or storage unit filled with stuff too good to throw away? Or, more accurately, stuffyou think is too good to throw away. And rather than address the dust-covered boxes piled up downstairs, you choose instead to watch others in the same predicamentHoarders,American Pickers, Storage Warsfinding solace in the fact that at least you are not alone.
When journalist and author Alison Stewart was confronted with emptying her late parents overloaded basement, a job that dragged on for months, it got her thinking: How did it come to this? Why do smart, successful people hold on to old Christmas bows, chipped knick-knacks, and books they would likely never reread? Junk details Stewarts three-year investigation into Americas stuff, lots and lots and lots of stuff. Stewart rides along with junk removal teams like Trash Daddy, Annie Haul, and Junk Vets. She goes backstage to a taping of Antiques Roadshow, and learns what makes for compelling junk-based television with the executive producer ofPawn Stars. And she even investigates the growing problem of space junk23,000 pieces of manmade debris orbiting the planet at 17,500 mph, threatening both satellites and human space exploration.
But its not all dire. Readers will also learn that there are creative solutions to Americas crushing consumer culture. The author visits with Deron Beal, founder of FreeCyle, an online community of people who would rather give away than throw away their no-longer-needed possessions. She spends a day at a Repair Caf, where volunteer tinkerers bring new life to broken appliances, toys, and just about anything. Stewart also visits communities of tiny houses without attics and basements in which to stash the owners trash. She later discovers that a solution might be to embrace the old and imperfect, as she learns from Mary Randolph Carter, creative director at Ralph Lauren, whose own home is a creative cacophony of not-yet-and-maybe-never-cast-offs.Junk is a delightful journey through 250-mile-long yard sales, resale shops, and packrat dens, both human and rodent, that for most readers will look surprisingly familiar.
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