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

December 12, 2012  |  
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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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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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