Illustration from a vintage issue of OCD Monthly magazine

Have you been saving your milk cartons?

(Via Phil Are Go!)


      1. That’s no good. If he finds any after he finishes then he’ll have to go through the entire inventory again to figure out which one which container was a grain short.

      1. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the playground sandbox was meant, I thought of cats first also.  Still seems a stupid waste of time to do it this way.  Get some five gallon buckets or something.

        It’s sand, it’s used to being outdoors, I don’t understand why he is bringing it inside for the winter in the first place.

  1. I think the most important question that this ad raises is, “What is Tommy Lee Jones going to do with all that sand?”

      1. I finally figured it out: As per the illustration, it’s sand that’s stored to use for Winter. 

        That is, so you can use it for traction on slippery walkways around your house.  Conveniently packed in individual handy containers.  A pile of sand sitting outside would freeze into a solid, undiggable mass.  A pile sitting inside would track dirt and grit everywhere, ruining your floors and carpets.

        Actually, it’s a pretty good idea!

        1.  No, no, NO! Daddy must save the $2 of sand from the ravages of winter, not merely replace it. Daddy’s time is worth much less than saving every can, old newspaper and grain of sand. Sheesh…

  2. That’s fine for home use, but if you maintain any sort of resort property with a beach you really need to use 50 gallon drums. Depending on the size of your frontage you may need to rent some climate controlled warehouse space, or you’ll run the risk of your sand being ruined by the cold weather.

  3. Everyone I know who lived through the Great Depression had this sort of OCD to one extent or another.

      1. Hmmm… sounds like an idea for the submitterator, only instead of creating a stilllife of the stuff we’re smugly pleased about owning, we take pictures of the stuff that’s mildly embarrassing in the junk drawer, and try to explain why we can’t part with all those items for reasons that defy all common sense and proportion. 

        Or is that just me?

      1. As far as I can tell, my mother bought a roll of aluminum foil, a roll of waxed paper and a package of lunch-sized brown bags shortly after WWII, and we re-used them through the 1970s.

          1. I’m laughing hard right now, because my grandma did this.  How about reusing the fronts of store-bought greeting cards by glueing them to pieces of construction paper?

        1. Yes, but what did she do with the elastics, twist ties and bread closure things ? I hope she didn’t throw them out !

          1. Ahhh… yeah… those…

            I don’t save and wash plastic bags that the bread came in, like my grandmother did (born in late 1890’s), and I don’t save the bread closures thingys like my mother did (was in her teens during WWII) when I was a child. But I do save elastics and twist ties.

            Hard times do leave their marks at least a generation or two.

          2. I wash and reuse plastic bags. I only put out a half-full 13 gallon kitchen trash bag roughly every other week.

          3. Reply to Antinous:

            Apparently the plastic in those bags is so porous that no amount of hot water and soap will get them clean enough to guarantee you’re not passing bacteria to the next batch of food.  As hard as it is to contemplate — heck, I’ve composted for decades and I live in a major city — throwing them out might be a necessary evil for your health.

          4. I’d throw them out if they were full of mold. But throwing out a bag that’s had a couple of pears in it seems weird.

          5. to Antinous:

            Pears, spinach…sure, no pathogens there, right? Just because there weren’t animal products in the bag doesn’t mean there aren’t bacteria or other toxins left behind to grow.

            I use containers whenever possible, because those can be properly disinfected in the dishwasher.

            Obviously you’ve lived this long without dying from eating leftovers from a pre-washed Ziploc!  It’s just an interesting factoid I learned and wanted to share, in case it mattered to you.  I’m probably more sensitive to infection than you…chemo, and all…so it makes sense that I would be more careful than the average Joe.

      2.  Use it up! Wear it out! Make it do or go without!

        That was my wife’s grandparents’ motto. They kept everything. The ceiling of his basement was covered with baby food jars — mail the lid up, and keep small hardware or whatnot in the jar. They used to have a bunch of old condom boxes, when my mother in law asked what came in them they would tell her ‘little screws’.

    1. Very true. 

      This behaviour, at least in my immediate fam was passed from my mom’s mom to my mom , and from my mom’s mom to me — I didn’t really get if from my mom. Passed to my sibs too. My brother is three years younger than me — but our sister is 19 years younger than me (same ‘rents) – this Depression Era practice was personally passed from my grandma to three generations (she lived into her 90s.)

      However – with my grandma (aleha ha-shalom), who came of age during the Great Depression and Prohibition, the reuse/saving behaviour edged into the realm of pathology, hoarding, you know. With me, my siblings and my mom, I think it’s attenuated – it’s useful. 

      My dad – he likes to throw shit and non-shit away. It’s a problem. Great source of intrigue was making sure he wasn’t tossing stuff out. My dad is older than my mom by about three years (‘rents WWII babies, not exactly boomers), but the Great Depression ended when my dad’s mom was, like, nine years old. She doesn’t think before she throws stuff out.

  4. It’s the notorious Xoacan  sand smuggling  cartel, packaging the product in milk cartons to elude customs. 

  5. This is actually from the October 1956 Popular Mechanics:

    “Empty milk cartons provide a handy method of storing the sand removed from a sandbox that is dismantled and stored for the winter months. The flat-topped 1/2-gal.-size cartons stack compactly and are easier to handle than are large boxes or bags that sometimes are used. Also, the waxed material of which the cartons are made is resistant to moisture which may be in the sand. Before pouring the sand into the cartons, sift it through a screen to remove foreign matter.”

    1. Oh… so the sandbox (I mean the wooden structure) is dismantled and put in storage. I guess that explains it. I haven’t seen anybody do that though, here one just leaves it out for the winter. I was mostly thinking that having thawed sand in smallish containers would be really convenient when the road is icy… handy way to sand the walkway.

  6. That’s me. Except instead of paper milk cartons they’re glass bottles, and instead of sand it’s grains and dry goods. (Although once I finish off the brown sugar, I will never try to get that shit through a funnel again.)

    1. Brown sugar is deceptive, “oh look at me! I’m  granulated goodness … ha! Molasses motherEFFER!”. When I was a kid we had some spill on a carpet infront of a heater so it melted in; running a vacuum over it just ripped out the fibers leaving a bald-ish spot. Thinking about that makes me uneasy.

  7. Why is my mental illness a punch line? I’m a psychotherapist with severe OCD. I take medication and use cognitive-behavioral techniques to manage the compulsions that demonstrate that I don’t want to do something shameful or terrifying. This disease is a curse. I just finished counting and saying rhymes because I tried to watch a movie that contained triggering content. It’s hard enough without it being a joke.

    1.  Well, a little laughter never hurt, but, I too came to comments intending to post that OCD is a serious mental illness and certainly no joke.

      A friend and I used to giggle at some of her “silly” ways, like unrolling and checking the socks she’d just ironed and rolled up to make sure they hadn’t got creased while she rolled them up. When she eventually had to check the cooker switches so often, before going out, that she couldn’t actually go out, she phoned the doctor and screamed for help.

      It was a long, hard, several-years road of medication and counselling (some of which screwed her up even worse), and during it she had to be a single mother to three children as well.  She couldn’t cope, but she had to cope. It’s a couple of decades ago now. Laugh at it? She doesn’t like to even think about it.

      Despite all the useful stuff it carries, I gave up following Lifehacker because it often made me wonder how much OCD it triggers. Who the hell cares about saving a few seconds folding towels, or whether the bed is made to military specifications? That stuff is dangerous to some.

      Well, I guess I’m going to giggle at some of the rest of the comments too, but no, I’m not going to forget what OCD really is.

    2. We’re all a little obsessed about something (or think we are).  If we didn’t identify with this in some small way, it wouldn’t be funny.

      Boingers are irreverant, but rarely mean to offend, and if they do, intentionally or unintentionally, they find their comments removed.

    3. For one, that sounds quite tough. You have a real problem, and folks give you guff.
      The second thing is the hair-trigger: one pattern snowballs and the effects just get bigger.
      The third and worst of them all? If you find the pattern, but then it doesn’t remain consistent all the way through.

      If you’re a psychotherapist, then you should know that the OCD joke is funny because it’s true. A *lot* of people can relate to it.

      1. People think they can relate to OCD because they have experienced obsessions with the trivial. Obsession with the trivial can be very funny. I get it. That’s not OCD. Actual OCD is usually based in obsessions over sexual or violent acts that one experiences as an intrusion upon consciousness. For example: drowning your child, having sex with a parent/offspring, stabbing one’s spouse. The compulsions, whatever they are, demonstrate that the sufferer is not actually subject to those thoughts. The compulsion must be performed perfectly or it needs to be repeated. The compulsion can never be performed perfectly enough to completely satisfy the anxiety created by the obsession. The cycle of obsession/compulsion repeats endlessly. One can spend hours doing them until one finds death preferable to living in a cage. I came to Boing Boing last night to try to distract myself from counting. I enjoy the blog very much. I just got furious that Boing Boing, so concerned about the possible offense caused by Columbus Day, still thinks jokes about mental illness are funny. I guess the joke’s on me.

        1.  Part of the value of this and other blogs with commenting are the gem-like “aha” moments where we all learn something halfway through the comments.  Those of us reading this learned (a) what’s the real reasoning behind the sand in the milk cartons, (b) what’s a useful alternate purpose for the sand in milk cartons, and (c) that OCD is generally completely mischaracterized and has other angles to it that the general population had no clue about.  But now we know these things, all because of this exchange.  So I thank both you and the jocular title applied to the image.

  8. But that sand isn’t sterile!  It needs to be boiled and dried in the oven before packaging if you expect it to sit all those months in storage.  I also see nothing about organizing all the broken action figures and crushed toy cars.  I believe a letter to the editor is in order.

  9. To the OCD sufferers that are horribly offended by this, I offer a quote from Daniel Tosh, “If you have ever said ‘There’s nothing funny about blank’, we will never be friends. There’s always something funny about blank if you have good enough writers.”

    The articles on BoingBoing above and below this story are about Nelly being arrested for smuggling heroin, a peanut butter ad, video game tights, and a Lego bat cave.

    What about those who have lost family members due to drugs, who have children with life threatening peanut allergies, soldiers who have had legs crippled in our wars overseas, or victims of mining accidents trapped underground? Should we not also censor these articles so as to not offend anyone?

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