IT’S only going to take two minutes. It’s steps. It’s cardio. It’s easy. Come on. So begins the effort to persuade myself to take the rubbish down three flights of stairs to the outside bins.
Edinburgh’s hefty street bins are controversial enough – accused of being blots on the landscape and often surrounded by debris. But to that add another problem, shared by flat dwellers across different floors and other cities: how do you overcome shilly-shallying about taking the rubbish out?
As we’re all urged to consume less and reuse more, we residents of apartment blocks have a guilty secret: yes, we care about those goals but sometimes our main pre-occupation is not getting waste to zero but to the ground floor.
Household chores are annoying at the best of times but most don’t require you to be presentable. It’s sensible to clean the bathroom wearing garb that’s past its best, by which I mean daubed with a previous dinner, featuring a nubble of oven-cooked cheese and generously speckled in toothpaste.
But taking the rubbish down the stairway is a different chore entirely. You might have a close encounter. There could be people going to and from the office (almost now possible) or gallivanting (more possible). They’ll have dressed themselves in nice things.
You weigh the risks. Do you change and put on equally nice things just to take your rubbish out? Good plan if you bump into someone. But a waste of clothes if you don’t. They’ll just need washing sooner. That’s another household chore.
Or do you venture down in at-home habiliments, in my case a couple of old bags together. The risk: bumping into neighbours and seeing in their doubletake the fear you’re diminishing the value of their property. Disgraced taking out the waste. There might even be consequences. The factor could send a letter asking residents to uphold a standard of bin bling, maintaining how you look on the stairs is a communal issue.
So, you don’t make that extra journey. You figure you’ll take the rubbish next time you go out properly. Perfect plan, says your unkempt self in a whiffy hoodie, celebrating the fact you’ve found a reason not to fasten a button or pull up a zip. Except when you are next leaving the flat and your attire is fresh – and even includes pieces which coordinate – the last thing you want is a shoulder bag of rubbish.
Meantime, brands are trying to give trash more panache, offering florally fragranced refuse liners and ‘Perfect Fit’ bags, which sound like supportive shapewear and could mean your rubbish has a better silhouette than you do. But until someone makes a bin liner that can walk itself downstairs and insert itself in the outside bins, there is a huge market opportunity among flat occupiers.
When I finally take the rubbish down, it does only take two minutes. I ask myself: what was all the fuss about? It’s not indolence, it’s bindolence. I’m trying to chuck it.