I have written a handful of trashy articles and columns recently in my various local papers — or, at least, pieces about trash and recycling and marine debris and all that. It is safe to assume the reading public around here could stand a break, and friends are ready for something a little less, uh, earnest. Hectoring the neighbors about their garbage routine can sound a bit strident, even when for a good cause. In any case May is upon us, the sun is warming the mid-coast at last, nobody wants a stern lecture today, and we are spring cleaning.

Writing about housecleaning is absolutely fluff journalism. You cannot convince me that “de-cluttering” is a serious subject for a serious writer (I, however, could get away with it). By the way, it is not universally agreed that everything you haven’t used recently needs to be “thrown away.” For one thing, what does “thrown away” actually mean? Secondly, we have evidence to prove that you do, in fact, want your local handyman/electrician/water-pump-first-responder to be a pack rat.

I’ll add that we (meaning, I suppose, anybody who’d care to weigh in) have had one entirely serious inquiry online about how somebody should best recycle underwear. The guy making the broad inquiry clearly didn’t like the idea of just “throwing away.” Good on him. I replied, “Assuming the underwear item not too objectionable, use as a scrub rag to clean up a mess, then toss in the trash with clear conscience, having used it twice.” Boy, not sure what we’d do without the Internet.

So, fluff content warning: none of the rest of this column is important. You might, however, commiserate.

I am trying to clean my room and I have way too many T-shirts. They do not fit into any sort of reasonable drawer or shelf. Some of them have to go, but they are a sort of timeline, and it’s hard. In some cases I just can’t bring myself to use them to wipe up spilled paint.

We won’t be quickly giving up the T-shirts from the different flight schools and small airports I’ve been to, like Ernie’s Café (“Fly on in”) Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA; or “Fly Jackson Hole” (that one cost me a few months’ newspaper columns), or the one from California which reads “Cessna 152—Vintage! Better with age! Awesome gas mileage! Feel every bump!”

I have donut shirts from other people’s establishments, which I like to wear in my own summer bakery, like the one from Bellefonte, Penn., that reads simply “Dam Donuts.” I often feel that way come late August. (Yes, there is a hydro dam right beside their shop.) From Seattle I have “Top Pot hand-forged doughnuts.” I went into the Top Pot store, bought a chocolate glazed and got all sorts of friendly conversation from the clerk about how “That’s my favorite flavor too,” but when I bought a shirt and started again making idle chatter about having both a blacksmith shop and a doughnut operation back home in Maine, I got silence and a look saying, “Next!”

My sister, who lives around there, told me I had just encountered The Seattle Freeze. A customer is, by some sort of local ordinance, entitled to exactly one random chatty interchange with the clerk. Not two.

I really like the graphic on the Wilderness Medical Associates shirt, an outdoors-sports version of DaVinci’s “Vitruvian Man” with all those arms and legs, each geared up for some sort of backcountry fun, four hands holding a paddle, an ice ax, a ski pole and a fishing rod.

I have all the Matinicus recycling shirts, including “It’s never going to work!” and “Satisfaction guaranteed or double your garbage back.” The old Maine Boats and Harbors shirt offered some Latin, Plures naves quam mentes (“More boats than brains”). I may decide to keep Underdog, and “You are not the boss of me” is often appropriate for business meetings, and I probably do need the one from the Maine Orange Growers Association.

There is a big pile of Common Ground Fair shirts, none of which I had to purchase — general-purpose volunteer, Fair Staff, Safety, Recycling, EMS/First aid, Parking — but I sure don’t need 19 of them, when there will always be another, each September for the foreseeable future.

Lots of regular Common Ground Fair volunteers own decades’ worth of shirts. Somebody made a lovely quilt of theirs which was hung in the Exhibition Hall. But don’t suggest I make a quilt with all my slightly worn souvenirs of personal history. If I find the time to make a quilt, it’s going to be a lovely Mariner’s Compass in brilliant colors, not the fronts of a bunch of grease-spattered T-shirts that say things like, “When they outlaw doughnuts, only outlaws will have doughnuts.”