Finding the value in everyday things

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readMar 2, 2018

Moving from one house to another is one of those things you look forward to and dread at the same time.

The packing. You always have more than you think. It’s an opportunity to throw things away, but then again, it’s hard to throw anything away.

For some of us, our grandparents grew up during the Great Depression. They threw nothing away and new the value of a penny. Yes, a penny still stands for something. More than its literal worth, a penny saved is a penny earned. And it can still add up to something.

Times are tough for many people in this, our greatest and richest country on the planet. Imagine you saved a penny a day for an entire year. It might not be much, but it might be just what you need, or what someone else needs.

I moved to a new house this week, and I threw many things away. Things that didn’t matter much. Old receipts, paperwork, broken things I was saving because someday I would fix them. But I saved all my pennies.

I saved them because while they seem worthless to most today, they meant so much to my grandparents. During their day you could actually purchase something for a penny or two. A stick of candy for one cent. They daily paper for two cents.

Then there’s the color of the penny. A beautiful copper that makes it stand out from the rest. The rugged face of the sixteenth present. In God We Trust and E Pluribus Unum. They all mean something.

In many ways, I wish my generation was like those of our grandfathers. The people that figured stuff out without Google or YouTube videos. All they had was intuition and instinct.

Today we throw everything away. The chair that looks a little rusty, it’s time to take it to the dumpster. Remember that favorite lamp in the corner of the reading room? It’s been flickering lately, making it hard to read at night. Time to toss it.

We don’t fix things anymore, which means that we value everyday items a little less. Everything breaks because we buy things that break easily. Cars used to be made of steel. Now they are high-speed plastic machines.

Is anything built to last? Is anything worth keeping, fixing, and ultimately believing in? I think so.

At my new place, I have a garage full of boxes with everyday things. The things mom liked, and so did grandma. The things they said were important, even if they looked like they weren’t.

They are the things worth keeping, and fixing. It’s an important lesson that grandma and grandpa taught me. Don’t throw things away because they are old. You can apply that moral to most things in life, from the grimy, dust-filled penny you just found under the couched you moved, all the way to the value of a human being.

Most things in life are worth more than we think, we just don’t realize it because we are too busy throwing things away. We want the latest and the newest. Not because what we have isn’t enough, but because we want to meet the social demands of society.

So I’m still unpacking and I’m taking my time. Looking at each item and finding out why it’s special to me. There is value in everything.



Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.