You Bet Not Put That In The Trash! Stuff Black Folks Do Not Throw Away — Ever

December 12, 2012  |  
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Source: iStock

Black people may be a lot of things, but wasteful is not one of them. In fact, we probably hold on to too much stuff for the sake of being resourceful when we’re really being lowkey raggedy, or simply reaching when it comes to the benefit of keeping any and everything that’s ever come through our doors. I know some of our parents and grandparents grew up in times where they didn’t have much and they’re always operating out of a fear of scarcity but I promise you the world will not end if you start to throw away at least some of the stuff on this list. Check out the stuff black folks refuse to throw away.

Crown Royal bags

If you’ve ever been in the car with a black person looking for some change and instead of reaching in the ash tray they pulled out the purple velvet sack that is a Crown Royal bag you know what I’m talking about. I won’t lie, those little baggies are convenient — and sturdy, my old college roommate used to keep her laundry quarters in one — but there is something so hood fabulous about them that makes most non-Crown Royal bag collecting people cringe.

Source: Shutterstock

Condiment containers

You’d think that as much as black people love them some Tupperware they wouldn’t pass up on new plastic containers for butter tubs and old sour cream bins but that’s how we do. Just about every black mama in America has a cabinet where she keeps all of her recyclable product tins and though it looks tacky, I finally realized why they do this. When Christmas and Thanksgiving roll around and people get packing up to-go plates, that’s when mama pulls out the cream cheese tubs because she’ll be doggone if someone takes her good Tupperware home and she never gets it back.

Source: Shutterstock


I’ll never forget the day I told my mom I threw out the grease after cooking in college one day. “What?! Threw it out?! That’s good grease! You can use it again! ” You ever notice how every black household you go to has a conspicuous container on the back of the stove? That’s where the recyclable Crisco lives, except in the uppity homes where they like to keep their reusable grease next to the reusable containers where no one can see it.

Grocery bags

Anybody else grow up in a home with a trash bag cabinet under the sink that looked like somebody in your family was a grocer on the weekends? I thought so. Black people do not throw away plastic grocery bags do you hear me? And that’s why they’re always trying to give you a plastic bag for no reason. You might be walking out of the house with a piece of paper in your hand and somebody will be like, “here, put that in a bag.” Umm newsflash black people you can just stop collecting bags if you want to get rid of them.

Panty hose

It doesn’t matter how many runs and holes are in those stockings, they can be used for something! Most times that something is going to be a wave cap for the boo and a scarf-like contraption to keep your wrap fresh at night, but some people even use old pairs to clean, catch lint in the dryer, or line the bottom of potted plants. Yeah, you bet not throw those away.

Shoe boxes

I can’t explain this one, but I know there must be a lot of walk-in closets with black people’s names on them. I know men like to keep their sneakers fresh in the boxes they came from but even women have closet shelves lined for days with just about every pump ever created. Say what you want, but you know we like to keep our stuff nice and in mint condition.

Source: Shutterstock

Towels and t-shirts

“Uh uh, don’t throw that away, you can use that for a rag.” Every black person in America’s home ought to be spotless because we stay saving something to be used for a future rag. When brothers go to the self-serve car washes in the summer, they aren’t thinking about those fancy squeegie-like inventions to dry their cars off, you will see hella bath towels and college t-shirts out on that lot to wax on and wax off. The same thing goes in the crib.

Source: Shutterstock


Black folks love to hold on to proof that they purchased something, especially because they know there’s a chance that whatever they bought might be going back. When you have a separate wallet just for receipts you know you need to throw some of that away, especially when 90 days is about the longest you have to return something these days. So, grandma, why are you still holding on to that slip of paper for something you bought in 1957?! I’m sure she’d say, you just never know.

Source: Shutterstock


If you can cut off the scraggly ends and make a bob out of it at some point, that 18-inch yaki ain’t going nowhere. I know a lot of weave is intended to be reused, but from the raggedy mess of faux hair I’ve seen collected in drawers and shoe boxes, no less, around the blackosphere, it’s clear you don’t ever let go of a good weave — even if it isn’t good no more. I’m not sure if the intention behind keeping the hair is like a time capsule so you can pull out that auburn wet and wavy one day like, “ooh girl remember when I wore this for New Year’s Eve back in 2008? I was killing it!” but some of ya’ll know that mess needs to be thrown out.

What other stuff do you notice black people refuse to throw away?

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  • abosc

    Im guilty of the Crown Royal bag lol! I have one full of nail polishes.

  • Wendy Strain Boykin

    This was too funny!

  • Bosede

    OMG, I do it all except the weave. Last week I got my first weave, so I guess it won’t be long before I’m at 100% recycle diva mark, lol. And FYI, my hubby is an Arab and his whole family does it too. So, I’m convinced everyone does it but we’re just out there with it, lol.

  • barbara

    I had to laugh because my folks are white farm people and we do the same! Not weaves, but save cut hair and pet fur, put it in the old stockings and hang it on the garden plants or flowers to repel deer. Waste not, want not, a wise philosophy.

  • Catk

    dang, can’t we keep some business to our selves?? LOL

  • Jenny

    I am white and I keep every one of those things except weave and I’m pretty sure that I’d do that. Wait, do colored hair clip-ons count? The expensive ones that they cut into your style? Yep, have those too.

  • Disgusted

    Wow you people are freaks. So disgusting!

  • Disgusted

    Wow you people are freaks. So disgusting!

  • Larue

    After looking at your list I realized that I must really be black. Either that our all good minds think alike.

  • BlackBarbie

    Damn I find myself doing nearly everything on this list. Especially the grocery bags and the weave.

  • Maldrie

    OMG! I’m LOL! because for me this is true. I use the containers to store things in, shoe boxes to store my receipts, momma taught me that grease can be used until it’s burnt, bags to put in small trashcans and my weave is gonna be used until it can’t anymore! All the rest applies to me or someone I know! Yes lawd!

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  • NVAdamzz

    Don’t forget food! Everybody remembers the black eyed peas scene in Crooklyn. I didn’t eat my black eye peas one night and my grandma stuck them in the fridge and tried to make me eat them the next day. Black people don’t waste no food!

  • Ronilove

    OK, you got me on the old weave. I never were weave but in an inpulse buying moment @ Targe’t I bought a ponytail in the bag in 2004, just can’ t throw it away. I could have a hair emergency tomorrow!

    • ronilove

      meant wear

  • ebonyhud

    Possibly the best list on Madame Noire. I swear we do almost ALL of this except the weave and the CR bag. This list is TOO funny.

  • chanela

    OMG @ the plastic bags! lol they definitely come in handy for when you take your dog for a walk and you need to pick up their poop!

  • BAP

    im CRYIN laughin omggg all of these are true lmfao

  • BAP

    my mother keeps her sewing materials in a crown royal bag,so i know that one’s too true lol

  • Cakester

    They should have added baby clothes to this list… when I had my son, my mother in law tried to reach back for her son’s 38 year old baby clothes to put on my son!!! The hell!!! We put a stop to that immediately!!! Oh, and I am known to have have a “bag o hair” laying around the house! LOL!

  • Papillon

    I hold onto receipts until my statements come in and I reconcile the amounts. I keep shoe boxes and plastic bags until I have time to recycle them. I do not drink Crown Royal and have never met anyone who has. I don’t wear weave and I do not fry food so no grease jar on my countertop. Maybe I’m not as Black as I thought.

  • B.Ann

    I want to hate this…but the shopping bags and plastic container thing is true in my mom’s case. She’s a super neat freak, but she still has a special cabinet just for her many recycled bags for doggie walks.The plastic containers get filled up because she refuses to use her “good Tupperware” and run the risk of never getting it back. She nearly took my head off when I offered to throw out her potato salad containers.

  • Whowever wrote this must have a hidden camera in my place, I promise you all, I am guilty of having ALL but one of the items listed. The Crown Royal bag is the ONlY item I do not have but the rest, I have plenty of. GET OUT of my house Madem Noire lol

  • However wrote this must have a hidden camera in my place, I promise you all I am guilty f having AA but one of the items listed. The Crown Royal bag is the ONY item I do nt have bt the rest I have plenty o. GET OUT of my house Madem Noire lol

    • Metoo

      I’m white but my family and I save plastic bags, shoe boxes, receipts, containers and old clothes. My mom puts old panty hose on the dryer vent. My grandmother keeps old cooking grease. I even keep flatware I get from Wendy’s to use at work.

  • the Deets

    Okay so I now live in Ethiopia and I still collect plastic bags. I have a large bag full of smaller bags. They come in handy when going to the market, lining my waste bins, and all sorts of things, and my granny is guilty of everything but the weave and the crown royal bags.

  • Allie

    Lol i LOVE this! My dad is the king of using old food containers as tupperware, and my mom always has endless amounts of grocery bags stored in the kitchen, even now I have a big trash bag full of bags in my dorm room…I always cringe when I have to throw one away

  • Meyaka

    I only keep the plastic bags for my bathroom trash can,everything else gets tossed away.

  • ANTMilf

    I dated an ex who kept grease in water jugs, especially, black grease, he kept them under his kitchen sink until roaches started coming into his apartment and he had to throw them out. Plus I kept a lot of grocery bags for diaper disposal while my daughter was in diapers.

  • LOL! A plastic grocer bag can be a garbage bag for a smaller trash can, a plastic cap for when you are giving your hair a hot oil treatment, stuffing for purses to keep their shape when you aren’t using them etc. A shoe box can be used as storage, keeping shoes nice and drawer dividers etc. I can go on, I love being resourceful.

    • kierah

      Exactly. I want this post renamed “Stuff Resourceful Folks Do Not Throw Away.” Do you think Container Store would carry a plastic bag dispenser if WE were the only group saving grocery bags under the sink.

    • adrienne michelle

      i do all of these except the grease. i never understood that until now…Thanks MN!!!!

  • Kourtney

    I can so relate to the grease story. My Mom and aunt came to visit me in college when I moved off-campus. I cooked them a huge dinner (which they didn’t eat) and as I was cleaning up, Ii went to dump the grease. My mother had a heart attack. She went, got a old coffee can, and poured the grease in there. She said times were too tough to be wasting grease.

    • why didnt they eat it?

      • Kourtney

        Because they stopped at Cracker Barrel before they got to my house. I was livid. lol

  • In my house we hoard grease and plastic bags… but the bags work out for disposing of the diapers from my Grandad.

  • ieshapatterson

    Uhh why wouldn’t you,throw out old grease?

    • Kaori

      Because it gives food more flavor. I also read that it is okay to keep grease, but I throw that sh@t away after one use.

    • ….no no I don’t use crisco like my granma did, but when I do fry, I keep the old oil in jars to throw out when they get filled so it doesn’t go down the sink…I hope we like to try to protect the environment as much as we can….but the rest with the exception of the weave hair…guilty.

  • AJ389

    Guilty as charged.

  • Kaori

    I must not be Black because I throw away ALL of those things.

    • JB#3

      Me too!

  • pickneychile

    Lol funny list. My mom always threw out the old grease! But the main ones I relate to is the condiment containers, plastice bags, n receipts. I have a whole section of my wallet for receipts and I have no idea why I do that…lmao.

  • RJA

    This was too funny!! I can relate to every last one of these. Matter of fact I got my old grease in an old margarine container LOL

    • Miss K

      Hahaha!!! TRUTH…the plastic bags description had me rolling!!!