NASHUA, N.H. — Oh, goody (rolling my eyes).
Seasonal soft yard waste collection for residents began on the week of April 18 here in my city. But there are rules, and maybe in your community, you face similar requirements.
For example, place your stuff into either paper compost bags or 32-gallon barrels. You cannot use plastic bags.
Er, define soft yard waste, please.
According to the Solid Waste Department of the Division of Public Works, soft yard waste includes leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. (These are never to be disposed of in the trash — New Hampshire state law, actually.)
I knew an elderly male acquaintance who once confided to me that he stuffed old, empty boxes full of leaves, taped them shut and threw them into the trash bin. He didn’t want to pay for compost bags. I’m still scratching my head on that one, but it is quite funny.
“Any brush, including cut bushes, shrubs and branches 1 to 3 inches in diameter, should be cut, tied and bundled.”
And this one: “No dirt or rocks may be put into any soft yard waste containers.”
Now, that’s never simple. When raking, dirt is often clumped with weeds and leaves. I cannot sift through my soft yard waste for hours on end avoiding dirt. But I must confess, our Street Department is excellent and rather forgiving. If I’m trimming my rhododendron bushes, I throw the leaves and branches into the compost bags, instead of tying them up in bundles, and DPW has always picked them up.
I can get lazy like the next homeowner, but I try to be hands-on. I mow, rake, pick up weeds, tend to my perennials and toss down Scotts Turf Builder Triple Action with my hands. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I try hard, and sometimes, it pays off. My grass looks lush and green at the moment, but because it faces south, by mid-July when temps heat up and things dry out, well, my little lawn will do a nasty 180.
If you’re spending time outdoors cleaning your yard for the season, I feel for you. At least you’re getting good exercise. My late mom Effie enjoyed spending time prettying her property and loved being outdoors. Years ago, she had a line of stunning rose bushes blooming along the length of our fence and driveway. She took great pride in having an attractive, tidy home and landscape.
And if my mom was having a bad day, she told me that heading out into the yard was an excellent distraction. And maybe she was on to something.
I just read on Vogue.com about the mental health benefits of spring cleaning both indoors and outdoors. And after the pandemic nightmare we have lived through for the past two-plus years, it’s time to get out there and purge.
“Cleaning and organizing can help us feel mastery over our immediate worlds,” says Marni Amsellem, a clinical psychologist at Smart Health Psychology.
Dawn Potter, a clinical psychologist in Cleveland, agrees. “A lot of people do find cleaning to be very satisfying but also to be a very good way of managing stress or anxiety.
“When they are faced with other problems that maybe they can’t address at the time, or they’re just kind of overwhelmed, they find that cleaning helps them restore a sense of control.”
My next do-it-yourself project is trying to remove moss from my concrete courtyard. Ugh. That’s not as easy as it sounds.