The-Fluff-The-Straw Philosophy – Columbia Star

Old people call it fluffing the straw. It’s a genius gardening hack for when your flower beds start to look bad. You take a pitch fork, lift up the pine straw, give it a good shake, put it back down, and voila, your beds look good as new. No need to order a delivery of fresh pine straw. Just fluff up what you already have.

This philosophy defines my parents’ generation— use what you have. Waste not, want not.

I can only fluff my pine straw for about 20 minutes before I need a break, but I’m pretty good at using what I have. That’s a good approach to life, not just gardening.

I recently hosted a baby shower. I did what everyone in my generation does and went on Pinterest. I got my ideas, made my list, and headed to Michaels. While I was waiting in line, I started looking for coupons on my phone. Even with coupons, I was about to spend a lot of money on things I would use for about two hours. It seemed wasteful and wrong. I decided to try the Fluff-The-Straw/Use- What-You-Have approach.

I went home for a quick inventory. I started in my dining room. My children’s Bunnykins china by Royal Doulton was sweeter than anything on Pinterest or at Michaels. I used the bowls as serving dishes for my home-made pimento cheese and put the celery and carrot sticks in the two-handled cups. It was adorable. Total cost: $0.

I pulled out some mementos—my baby shoes, a baby bootie, and my little pink identification bracelet from the hospital. I tied a pretty ribbon around one of the buffet lamps in my dining room and looped those items into the bow. The other lamp got a ribbon tied with silver baby cups and spoons. Total cost: $0.

It was all coming together, but I still needed one more thing. My coworker reminded me you can get photos printed for about a dollar at the local drug store. I put our favorite pics of the new baby on easels for the perfect centerpiece.

The shower was wonderful. The baby stole the show which is exactly what babies are supposed to do. The house was festive, and I hadn’t spent a fortune. All my keepsake items were wonderful conversations starters on those rare occasions when we talked about something other than the beautiful new baby.

Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and sites like Pinterest tempt us with adorable stuff, but that’s just what it is—stuff. Usually, it’s stuff we don’t need. We buy it, and then we toss it, or we store it where it will be forgotten.

No, I think the older generation might know best on this one. Use what you have. Fluff that straw. It’s not just a gardening hack. It’s a good way to live your life.

Tammy Davis lives in Columbia, SC. Her first book, Chin Up Buttercup, is available on Amazon. You can visit her website at

%d bloggers like this: