• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Leigh Tate
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • John F Dean
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Stacie Kim
  • Jay Angler

Hoarding vs saving

 
master gardener
Posts: 3447
Location: southern Illinois.
986
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While I am a long way from making any reality TV shows, I notice that I am seeing more clutter than I would like. Many years ago, when I was not on a homestead,  I would ask myself if the item had been used in the past year or had some intrinsic value.   If the answer was no, it got tossed.  I am not convinced that is the right formula.  

How do others determine if an item stays or goes?
 
pollinator
Posts: 503
Location: San Diego, California
94
forest garden trees rabbit chicken food preservation building woodworking greening the desert
  • Likes 18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If it breaks and i can't fix it myself, or it's not worth the time or materials to fix it, i throw it away.

If it's still usable, and i just have no need of it/space for it, I have a dedicated "Swap Meet" shelf in my shed - when the shelves are full, i have a yard sale or get a space at the swap meet - even if you sell each item for only a quarter each, by the afternoon most of the stuff will be gone and you'll have made $50-$100.  The key is having sufficient volume of items to make the trip worthwhile, and not being attached to them. When you're close to feeling ready to leave, just yell out that everything is now free - all the excess junk will be gone in a flash, and you might not have to bring anything back home with you (DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING BEHIND AT THE SWAPMEET WHEN YOU LEAVE)

I have jars ready to receive extra screws, bits of string or wire, etc.

I have a true hoarder/addict for a dad, and that memory/trauma keeps me from going overboard with the saving of useless things.

 
Posts: 35
Location: Southern NH
6
forest garden chicken homestead
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great question, also looking to hear some ideas on this one.

I would say- to me hoarding seems to usually have a spirit of acquiring or keeping something specifically to prevent someone else from getting it.  The easiest way for me to get rid of something is for someone else to ask me for it, or use of it.  If I'm not using it often, I'm probably going to share it.  I don't feel like I have a problem with hoarding.

Saving, on the other hand, is a problem.  I, or someone I know, might need that at some point.  We could probably rig it up do do.... something.  What is it? Doesn't matter, we might need it.  At times I have gone with the same method of "have I used this lately?", and if not been rid of it.  That seems to be the best way to ensure that I am in fact going to need that item.  

Right now the most common reason - when I am tired of figuring out how to justify its continued presence to my wife.  

 
John F Dean
master gardener
Posts: 3447
Location: southern Illinois.
986
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Dustin,

Great idea. I have been organizing my barn, and I have 3 more push mowers that I need ...for example.  Then, of course, there is smaller stuff.  Finally, for the past 20 years I have been clearing out a junk pile that someone made years ago. Most of it is junk.  Sometimes I find enough to take to the recycling center.  And, rarely, I find something that has value but I dont need.
 
gardener
Posts: 1170
Location: Western Kentucky
511
dog gear foraging trees hunting food preservation cooking fiber arts woodworking wood heat rocket stoves
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm currently wondering how many empty milk jugs is too many🤔.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2558
Location: 4b
707
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Likes 18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm pretty bad about this.  After all, nearly everything can be used for something.  I still have parts to fix computers that no one has used for 15 years.  The biggest stumbling block for me is remembering the number of times I've finally thrown something away after sitting on it for years, only to need that exact thing a week later...
 
gardener
Posts: 5080
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1919
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think Trace Oswald has nailed it!

The biggest stumbling block for me is remembering the number of times I've finally thrown something away after sitting on it for years, only to need that exact thing a week later...

I can think of a use for almost anything and much of what I keep does end up being used, but keeping it organized enough to be able to find it when needed is a challenge.

I also agree that giving away stuff cheap or free is helping me. I hate seeing useful - or potentially useful - stuff going to the dump. Recycle is only a minor step up because too much of "recycle" material goes overseas to pollute there rather than being responsibly recycled.

This is a small part of it, but trying *really* hard to buy quality so less stuff breaks, is a way to try and interrupt the cycle at least a little.

I wish it was easier to get parts and I wish things weren't 'plastic melted' together, so repairing was easier, as I feel that fits this area also.
 
John F Dean
master gardener
Posts: 3447
Location: southern Illinois.
986
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Indeed, there appears to be a need for balance. Do i need to keep a $5 object because I will need it sometime in the next 25 years?  What about a $10 object ?  Where is the cut off ?
 
gardener
Posts: 697
Location: Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
410
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am prone to hoarding, so I like to put space limits on things. I lived in a 400sq ft apartment for 3 years, then a 600 sq ft one, and have lots of hobbies, so this is necessary.

For example - my acrylic paints which I looked at today must fit in a shoe box. This keeps it from expanding like my mother's, to fit three large drawers, with most of them being only half good, picked up at garage sales. I am starting water colouring. My watercolouring supplies will have a similar limit.  I dont buy anything that I "might" need some day, either. My shirts must fit in one drawer. My tools must fit in one dresser drawer. My kitchen appliances must fit on this shelf. My seeds must fit in this box.

Once the space limit has been set, I dont begrudge myself filling it to the max, or whatever is in it. But I dont let the category expand beyond the allotted space, that's when i start to get clutter and hoarding. If it wont fit- then i need to reassess what is in it, and what can be gotten rid of. I have one box of old electronics. It's a lot of stuff I will never use. But - it's just one box, and not expanding, so I figure that's ok.

I like to say that stuff expands to fill the space allotted to it.

(Just like work expands to fill the time allotted to it).
 
pollinator
Posts: 2659
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
442
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah it was getting too messy around these parts so I started tossing things. No regrets yet. Unless it has an obvious use, like fencing or wood or metal, I toss that crap.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1658
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
431
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Catie George wrote:I like to say that stuff expands to fill the space allotted to it.


^^What Catie said.
 
Posts: 279
Location: New England
89
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm a recovering hoarder, so I think about this question a lot.

A few things I've found:

1)Most of my clutter is made up of things I can pick up with my hand. Those things are usually supplies or "stuff." The supplies I want to keep as much as I use in (period of time) and one back. The stuff is harder.

Biggest shedder for me is: will I want to dust, caretake, etc. this thing for another 10-20 years?

i am not a permaculturist in that I don't have a large backlog of pieces to be turned into other things. I was like that for fabric and bead supplies/pieces. I've shed more than 1/2 of it and shed more all the time. If I grew our food, knew how to weld, made my own clothes, etc. my answers would be different.

For me, here, now, it's 1) storage space determines what I store and how much 2) the questions above, as related to aging in place. If I thought I could still make bead laces in 20 more years, I'd keep the seed beads. But I think that's unlikely, so many of them have gone to a friend's daughter who has an online bead shop. 3) I ask myself, if in the next phase of our life, likely moving to either a relative's in-house apartment or some other such facility, and we're in one room, would I want this?

Your answers will of course be different than mine.

 
elle sagenev
pollinator
Posts: 2659
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
442
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I keep all fencing and building materials because I almost always need them at some point.

I did purge tools. Tried to only keep one of each. I kept a lot of broken tools, like why?

I got rid of tons of random wire and broken buckets.

so I guess if it's broken or you already have it, get rid of it!
 
steward
Posts: 11233
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3215
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brian Michael wrote:Right now the most common reason - when I am tired of figuring out how to justify its continued presence to my wife.  


This is my primary approach as well...

Trace Oswald wrote:The biggest stumbling block for me is remembering the number of times I've finally thrown something away after sitting on it for years, only to need that exact thing a week later...


Yes^^^  I wonder if there's some sort of confirmation bias going on (that's the wrong word for the type of bias but I'm not a psychologist).  Something where if you didn't see it and throw it away, a week later would you have remembered that you had that doohickey and that it could've been cobbled to work for that situation?  We only remember the times where the thing we tossed might have been useful but we don't remember all the times where some other piece of our junk would be useful but it stayed unnoticed in the junk pile and we found another way to get the job done.

John F Dean wrote:Indeed, there appears to be a need for balance. Do i need to keep a $5 object because I will need it sometime in the next 25 years?  What about a $10 object ?  Where is the cut off ?


For me, the cut off is a Venn diagram of cost, rarity and size.  If it's antique or hard to find, I'm more willing to hold onto it.  If it's under $5 I'm more likely to let it go.  If it's value to weight ratio is worse than a garden hose it might go.
 
gardener
Posts: 3596
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
480
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can always figure out a way to use things, so my latest rule is to not keep anything unless I have specific use in mind.
It's hard, for example I never use nails,  so I usually  purge them, but I recently  inherited a tool box full,  and they do fit in to a specific use I have in mind, truss building.

So the second test is "do I want to be in the "XYZ" business? "
Do I want to repair hand tools?  Or do I just want to have working hand tools?
Do I want to change my own oil,  or do I just want to have my oil changed?
So,  with this rule,  roofing tools and materials are donated or pitched.
I actually want to fix hand tools,  its fun to me,  so they get to stay, for now.
Nails... I want the advantages nails provide over screws,  but I've never been able to drive them straight on the regular.
But,  they are here,  they were free,  and they don't take up much space.
I've decided to keep them for now,  and start practicing.
I might even get a pneumatic nail driver, if this old dig can't learn new tricks.
 
gardener
Posts: 3479
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
1073
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John F Dean wrote:Indeed, there appears to be a need for balance. Do i need to keep a $5 object because I will need it sometime in the next 25 years?  What about a $10 object ?  Where is the cut off ?



It's common, but in my view unwise, to have these conversations without acknowledging that the answers vary enormously with one's wealth, social class, and income.  Your search for a cutoff is missing a variable.  How rich (or broke) do you expect to be over those 25 years.  And how sure are you?  (aka "How much economic confidence do you have?")

If you knew that the $5 or the $10 object would be a trivial expense when it came time to buy another one, the problem is easy.  But how do you know?  Who can see the future?  People who have been poor tend to feel these uncertainties more keenly, even if they're doing just fine right now.  (Or maybe it's just me.)

I do have some hoarder tendencies, which in my case manifests as letting the acquisition get ahead of rational storage solutions.  If my stuff is deteriorating and becoming garbage, or if I have no hope of finding it when I need it, then it's problematic stuff.  Seeking the balance, I usually have lots of stuff that's IMO worth keeping, and at any given time some problematic stuff that needs sorting, cleaning, storing, or throwing away.  The pandemic has been good for me in this narrow regard: fewer opportunities to add stuff, more time and incentive to work with the existing stuff.

Earlier in the pandemic I avoided a $2400 plumber bill (and an unmasked stranger breathing in my house) by doing my own installation on a gas hot water heater.  I planned ahead and bought plumbing parts via Amazon, but on the day itself, I had half a dozen minor issues that required me to resort to my "hoard" of plumbing stuff accumulated cheap in $1.00-priced coffee cans at garage sales.  Without those collections, I would have been three days without hot water and forced to make several pandemic-dangerous expeditions to hardware stores.  When I die, the unused bulk of those collections will probably sell in $1.00 lots at my estate sale, too.  Does that make them not worth keeping?

These are complicated questions/problems.  But the answer in every case is singular; it's informed by each person's economic position and sense of security.  Everybody has a perspective and that perspective is very difficult to generalize.
 
pollinator
Posts: 683
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
240
3
urban books building solar rocket stoves ungarbage
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, my name is Ken, and I'm a ... saver?

William's point of "What business you want to be in?" really resonates with me. Saving things that you are never going to do something with because that job doesn't excite or please you (or takes time away from those that do excite you more) is problematic.

Mike's comment about "confirmation bias" is also real. The number of times that I have thought that "X" is just the ticket for my project, and then *BINGO!* "X" thing is there, on the curb, or at the transfer station, or being offered to me. This is a powerful "TOOL" and should be used carefully, especially when combined with owning a pickup truck. Seriously though, you CAN make yourself much more aware of "X" in your environment if you think about "X" just a little bit. You can also network the finding of "X" by letting others know that "X" is of interest to you.

Dan's comment (also William and Trace) about the "opportunity cost" of things, where you could save a trip to the store by having a stash at home to go to, and if you didn't have any  you almost certainly would need one... is true... to a point. It is also a slippery slope of going to the store and getting "a few extra" just in case... the rationale at the moment in the store is "If I run out or break one, I'll have to make a second trip anyways, so I can just come back and return the extras..." (or I only have the help, or fair weather today...) but then you never do return them. now you have a stash instead of cash.
The flip side of "opportunity cost" is the space lost to your stashes of "handy even if I never use it" and "round-to-it" stuff. It can turn into: a workbench that is now only a shelf, scraping ice of your car parked out in front of the garage, and time lost moving things in and out of your own way just to find other things that you were sure you had... going to the store to buy a duplicate of a lost thing.

All of this is very real for me at the moment.
 
Brian Michael
Posts: 35
Location: Southern NH
6
forest garden chicken homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

It's common, but in my view unwise, to have these conversations without acknowledging that the answers vary enormously with one's wealth, social class, and income.  Your search for a cutoff is missing a variable.  How rich (or broke) do you expect to be over those 25 years.  And how sure are you?  (aka "How much economic confidence do you have?")


This is a real factor, and personally "How sure are you" is a real question.  10 years ago I was single with plenty of time and no money. I did pretty much everything myself (or at least tried).  I didn't have the money anyway, but also enjoy the feeling of independence.  I now am married with two children and a corporate job that I never thought I would have.  I am not wealthy by any means, but these days there are plenty of jobs that would be more economical to pay someone else.  I still try to do much on my own, but have begun to start hiring out some of the "businesses I don't want to be in."  However, the #1 business I do not want to be in is my day job.  This brings me to a point of confliction when it comes saving/hoarding.  I do not want to work this job (or anything like it) forever.  Although I have purged more/saved less lately, there is a certain part of me that thinks about it in the "make hay while the sun shines" type of mentality.  Should I buy an extra one now while I can afford it?  Now I have a stash instead of cash.  But there is only a difference if it is something I am not sure I will need/use, right?  Otherwise, essentially, I am buying "stuff" futures at a reduced price compared to the cost at the time I will need it later on.  This is probably just me trying to justify my saving desires.  



The flip side of "opportunity cost" is the space lost to your stashes of "handy even if I never use it" and "round-to-it" stuff. It can turn into: a workbench that is now only a shelf, scraping ice of your car parked out in front of the garage, and time lost moving things in and out of your own way just to find other things that you were sure you had... going to the store to buy a duplicate of a lost thing.


Then the reminder of reality. The "space lost" thing is no joke either.  It was great all summer with easy access to outbuildings, outside storage, etc.  Winter has hit in NH and I am completely snowed in, piled on top or myself, and in my own way.  I would be embarrassed to count the number of things I have an "extra" of because I went and bought one because I could not find/get to the one I already had.  
 
Posts: 33
Location: Maine
5
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
With larger items (tillers, vehicles, mopeds, chainsaws, wood stoves, etc) I try to keep tabs in my social circle in who needs it might need access to a good deal more than I do. Sometimes it helps assuage your FOMO to know that someone who really (and not hypothetically) needs something to put the use can get it, when it works out that way.
 
Jennie Little
Posts: 279
Location: New England
89
cat monies home care books cooking writing wood heat ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brian,

Also in s NH, yes, there’s 2 feet o white stuff out there to wade through! Shelter logics can only hold s9 much...
 
Mike Haasl
steward
Posts: 11233
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
3215
3
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good points Kenneth about buying extras at the store in case you end up needing more copper elbows than you thought.  

My approach to that is to buy reasonable stock piles of things I know I'll use.  For instance I used to buy deck screws in 1 lb boxes when I had a project.  Now I just get the 5 lb boxes in the 6 sizes I use the most around here.  Then I always have the screws I need and the driver bit is the same for all of them (square drive).

On the other hand, if I'm doing a particular project, I buy plenty of fittings and pieces and plan to return the excess.  I'm located close to a hardware store though so I'd rather return a fifty cent fitting today and re-buy it in three years for 58 cents than hold onto it until then.  If I was an hour from the store I'd probably maintain a mini-hardware store area to stock fittings.

Back in a previous life I was telling a coworker that I needed to stop by Menards to return a $5 item.  He was almost incredulous wondering why I'd waste my time returning it.  I'm not sure what his alternative was, tossing it or storing it but neither made any sense to me at the time.  Gimme the money (back).
 
pollinator
Posts: 722
Location: Utah
178
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A place for everything. The car goes in the garage, therefore if the car will not fit in the garage then something needs to go. So I begin to evaluate. Will I use that item? Do I have another place for it? If not, it gets tossed or things need to be moved around so that everything fits.

I usually find things I cannot or will not use again. I also often find duplicates. Once in a while I end up tossing something that (yes, indeed!) I later discover I could have used. But it's helpful to have the discipline to fill ONLY the space I have, and not to let it overflow. No floor storage. No boxes piled where something else goes. If the shelves won't hold everything, time to re-evaluate.

If I want something, or need it, where will it be stored? If I have no place for it, what do I have that I need less? Am I willing to discard that item in order to make space for my current need? If not...I don't need it.

It was oddly helpful to have my brother and his family move in while they build their house. I had to consolidate, remove all my storage from four bedrooms, including the closets, and find other places for what I honestly need. Something like downsizing from 5 bedrooms to 1 while remaining in the same house. I was surprised to find that I still had space for most of it. Consolidating where storage had been haphazard, stacking. I filled the space under my bed to capacity, and got rid of a lot. I thought I'd already pared my wardrobe down, but found out otherwise. So now my clothes all fit on a few shelves. Everything has its place.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1822
Location: RRV of da Nort
357
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dan Boone wrote:
These are complicated questions/problems.  But the answer in every case is singular; it's informed by each person's economic position and sense of security.  Everybody has a perspective and that perspective is very difficult to generalize.



I'm just going to add a perspective that I don't think came up here  In addition to economics and sense of security is the very real aspect of personal psychology.  I've inherited tools from my dad....who really didn't need the magnitude of what he owned, but he came from a Depression-era farm and just couldn't let go of the mentality that you *NEVER* threw anything away.

My wife verges on psychotic hoarding, but she admits why this is.  Her mother threw out everything after wife left the nest....heirloom items, wife's childhood favorites, etc.  And not with any kind of warning, just did it wholesale over a few years and wife was devastated over some of these actions.

For me, I'm just lazy.  I don't actively hoard, I jus passively don't discard ... ;-).....   But additionally, I'm the opposite of wife....she's noted I have little sentiment for anything from my past or a reminder thereof and tend even to forget gifts/favors in present day.  So my inclination it to give the heave-ho....
 
Posts: 288
Location: Málaga, Spain
77
home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lauren Ritz wrote:A place for everything. The car goes in the garage, therefore if the car will not fit in the garage then something needs to go. So I begin to evaluate. Will I use that item? Do I have another place for it? If not, it gets tossed or things need to be moved around so that everything fits.

I usually find things I cannot or will not use again. I also often find duplicates. Once in a while I end up tossing something that (yes, indeed!) I later discover I could have used. But it's helpful to have the discipline to fill ONLY the space I have, and not to let it overflow. No floor storage. No boxes piled where something else goes. If the shelves won't hold everything, time to re-evaluate.

If I want something, or need it, where will it be stored? If I have no place for it, what do I have that I need less? Am I willing to discard that item in order to make space for my current need? If not...I don't need it.

It was oddly helpful to have my brother and his family move in while they build their house. I had to consolidate, remove all my storage from four bedrooms, including the closets, and find other places for what I honestly need. Something like downsizing from 5 bedrooms to 1 while remaining in the same house. I was surprised to find that I still had space for most of it. Consolidating where storage had been haphazard, stacking. I filled the space under my bed to capacity, and got rid of a lot. I thought I'd already pared my wardrobe down, but found out otherwise. So now my clothes all fit on a few shelves. Everything has its place.



This is my approach too. Everything needs a place. Without a place you cannot find it when you need it, and you might as well not have it. When I want to add something else and there is no place for it, then it's cleansing time. That's when I finally decide that I am never going to put that motorcycle half helmet again, so farewell. Oh, and that cement bag has already expired, fine, more space.
But the question was how to decide what goes and what stays. Hmm.
Obviously, the expired cement must go, it's no longer useful. Then I see the half helmet, and since I know I only want to use full helmets now, I think I should have thrown it away a long time ago. But what about the stuff I still might use? Tools, old clothes, containers, ... I guess I'd prioritize by prize and by the chances of using that stuff again in the near future. A brush is cheap, but I am certain I am using it again in a couple of years.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 722
Location: Utah
178
forest garden fungi bee medical herbs writing greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Abraham Palma wrote:But the question was how to decide what goes and what stays. Hmm.
Obviously, the expired cement must go, it's no longer useful. Then I see the half helmet, and since I know I only want to use full helmets now, I think I should have thrown it away a long time ago. But what about the stuff I still might use? Tools, old clothes, containers, ... I guess I'd prioritize by prize and by the chances of using that stuff again in the near future. A brush is cheap, but I am certain I am using it again in a couple of years.

It can be quite an interesting process. When I'm going through stuff and my brain says, hey, don't throw those socks away, you need cushioning around your jars. Ha! One more item out of storage with an actual use. That bag of cement (which really doesn't expire, they just say it does to sell more) needs to go, but I was going to do that ferrocement experiment so I guess I'll do that this week...Oh, and that will get rid of those bricks as well. More room! Yay! Oh, old bag of nails. How did that get in there? No problem, my hydroponics needs iron and zinc. Put them with the hydroponics stuff, there's plenty of room in that section...
 
pollinator
Posts: 615
Location: South-central Wisconsin
233
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Weiland wrote:

For me, I'm just lazy.  I don't actively hoard, I jus passively don't discard ... ;-).....  



I fall into that category as well. With the added twist of not wanting anyone to know when I'm sorting things and throwing stuff out. If anyone in my family finds out, they start adding everything they can think of to the piles, without checking which piles have already been sorted, and burying any progress to the point where I can barely move. Any boxes I may have been using to try and organize, get incorporated into the mess instead, because so much stuff has been tossed on top of them that I can't get to them anymore. And the whole time they're doing it, they'll act like my cleaning efforts are some kind of circus show.

Most years, they take a trip somewhere while I stay behind and take care of the chickens. That was about the only time I ever made progress. But no trip this year, because covid.

Cleaning isn't the only thing they like to sabotage, but it's certainly one of the more annoying ones.

(/rant)
 
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
117
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First let me say let me say I am a border line hoarder.  I grew up poor and rural with parents who grew up during the great depression and were both poor and rural families too.  Both sides of the family believed in having basically every skill set and being able to do anything.  Being a high end nerd with that background means both wide ranging skills set and wide ranging interests.

Then let me add a quote from my father "When you have the time you almost never have the money and when you have the money you don't have the time."  His point was when you were laid off, injured and healing etc you very rarely had the money at that point.  But if you could gather the materials far cheaper over time and have them ready eventually you got an opportunity to use them.

Another point to come out of this was in taxes.  If you built it yourself out of lower value materials over time it might save you money even if it cost a little more.

So things break down into 4 rough categories.

1.  general purpose materials that have no plan but might not be able to afford when needed or might need in a hurry.  Plywood, certain plumbing parts etc.  These I try to reevaluate as needs change, space changes etc.  Some of them have been stupidly kept.  Others are amazing "finds" after being stored for decades.  They were just what was needed.  And this scatters into work too.  Also to remember here on things like bolts if I am working in the shop and my shop rate is $60 an hour and a trip to town takes a minimum of 30 minutes if I can save work time equal to 20 trips to town without spending much on storage or storage time that is $600 of stuff I can afford to have sitting there.  If the customer needs it NOW it has more value to him too.  Often the customer isn't paying for the part so much as the time to find the part and the fact that I have it available right NOW.  By the same token things like sorting bolts has fallen by the way side.  As it is no longer cost effective to do with smaller bolts.  This is one someone with the time might be able to build their own kit from.

2.  Tools.  Here if it serves a function or a back up function and I have space for it, it is kept no matter what.  The exception if if I get or build a better tool.  In which case the tool is sold, given as a gift or trashed.

3.  Stuff for specific projects.  There are probably 200+ projects in various stages from dream to nearing completion that stuff is being gathered for.  The no clutter people would say there should never be more than one project at a time and all efforts to go into it till complete.  Then next project.  My problem is I can't afford the resources to work that way.  So I dream on lots, gather for some, jump on freak chances resources that just show up for a few more.  And keep putting along.  I have accomplished a lot with very little.  

4.  Other.  Some is useful but a lot should go.  Figuring out what to save and what to keep for now VS what to sell and what to trash is my biggest struggle for now.

The criteria for most of it is does it have a home where it will store safely?  Does storing it cost anything(both $ and time)?  How likely am I to need it?  What is its value to me or to the customer if is needed?

I would love to do zero waste.  Simply can't afford the time to do so.

By the same token as a mechanic/repairman my profession is saving everything I can economically.  The question is how much am I capable of saving while still making a living.
 
pollinator
Posts: 631
136
tiny house food preservation cooking rocket stoves homestead
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Torn between two positions





Prepper                   <<<<  -------------   >>>>>            Minimalist.



The struggle is real.    I want to have things to go thru crisis that may come,     Yet the more you have the less time you have because you are spending it on  keeping your stash under control.

Every item you keep is space that you are taking away from something else.        


How much is enough for crisis?


How  much is too much time for keeping things that you may need someday?


How much is that memory worth?


The struggle is real and felt.


 
pollinator
Posts: 711
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
263
dog
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mart Hale: for me you hit the nail on the head...

This conundrum differs for everyone depending on space, location (how far to nearest store), money (historical or current "lack") and time - storing, organizing and (sigh) FINDING. But the biggest stumbling block is likely, self honesty...what is the chance you will really fix what is broken/do that project/be in dire need of that item?

In my heart I am a minimalist, highly organized person; but reality is time, space and energy defeat me. I am blessed/cursed with a large shop, WAY at the back of the property. When we tore down the old house AND my new husband moved to the property, it got filled with carefully packed and labeled totes, organized for easy access, in logical groupings...yeah, that was then, now it is a Mish mash of stuff everywhere, improperly labeled, in the way and still sitting five years later. Obviously there is neither room nor need of these items in the new house, or they would not still be sitting out there.

I am sick and tired of having hand tools, .power tools, and yard tools in 12 different locations; rescue equipment, crates, med supplies, feeding supplies, etc in another 12 locations. My goal this winter is to purpose build storage WHERE it is needed, and move like minded stuff together so it is easily accessible, where it is needed, and properly organized. Otherwise it is useless, as it is not worth spending five hours playing "I KNOW I have that" somewhere  (although you often find a bunch of other good stuff during the hunt!).

Amalgamation, order and logic MUST return, everything must have a permanent, logical and appropriately accessible home, and purge the rest.

All the prepper stuff is moving to a smaller, more secure location 5km away where even if all hell breaks loose there should be some access to power and water as it is next to the Air Ambulance, secure behind the airport security fence.

This is our planned bolt hole if all else fails. We are nowhere near remote enough if things get ugly (earthquake, flood, whatever) and I don't want to be the only property with power, food, water and heat for miles around. I figure a few days, a few weeks, tops with the bridges out, and things would rapidly resemble the bad side of the old wild west as the ill prepared seek to meet their needs. Our property/stuff is not worth fighting lawless rable rousers who are hungry and cold...we will retreat (hoping a cold, dark property does not attract attention) with the animals to safety.

Then there is my tendency to find super cool stuff for ten cents on the dollar - even if I can't use it, SOMEONE I know might, right? Now, I only do this if I know a person/organization who would value it, immediately gift it, and often get an "in kind donation" charitable tax receipt for the full value.
 
Posts: 391
Location: On the plateau in crab orchard, TN
33
hugelkultur urban books cooking writing ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, challenging.  For this property it is mail, and most paper going out to the trash.

Merry Christmas to All, and all Have a Happy New Year as well!
 
Posts: 38
Location: Kitsap County, Washington, USA
23
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Confession time: almost 20 years ago, I probably could have ended up on a reality show. I'm still not the greatest housekeeper, but I'm worlds better at keeping hoarding behavior in line than I used to be, mostly by being very particular about what I acquire, and the amount of space (and time) I allot to it.

I have to keep organization dead simple, with hard rules, because as soon as I start adding layers of complexity, or making exceptions, everything goes straight to hell again. I really am a genius, but when it comes to keeping anything in physical reality organized, I'm a total dummy, so my system is designed accordingly.

I have boxes and bins that I am allowed to fill with certain items and materials I'm prone to hoarding, but once they're full, that's it--I can't start new ones, no matter how good the new stuff is. I either have to discard some of the less desirable items I have to make way for the new ones, or dispose of the overflow. The same goes for furniture I intend to refinish, or items I plan to repair, or any "good stuff" I plan to sell or use to build something else--I can only keep three of each on hand at any given time, and the project has to be completed within a year, or out it goes. That stuff still takes up a lot of space in my garage, but at least I can walk around it and reach any needed items stored in there (another rule).

Some of the "good stuff" I bring home, I intend to donate. There is an area in my basement designated for those items, with bins marked for each organization, and when a bin is full, I immediately put it in my car so I can take the contents to be donated the next time I leave the house. I donate a lot more frequently now because intended donations no longer get lost amid masses of clutter upstairs.

I do keep hardware and small parts around to do basic repairs and maintenance, but honestly, if I've got, say, a plumbing problem I can't fix with the basics on hand, I'm just going to call a plumber and be done with it. I can fix maybe 80% of plumbing issues I'm likely to have with what little I've got, and that's good enough; plumbers have to eat, too, so I'll pay them to do the remaining 20%.

Part of dealing with my hoarding issues has been deciding that I don't have to be prepared for every single thing that might go wrong, and that I don't have to fix everything myself. Would it be nice if I could be that independent? Sure, but it just doesn't work out for me very well in reality, given my defective brainmeats. And when I'm not struggling to deal with life amid piles of clutter, and trying to find things I know I have but that got lost because I have too much "could be useful" stuff, I can actually make more money at my actual work, and thus be able to pay somebody else to fix things without it being a hardship.

 
pollinator
Posts: 2009
Location: Denmark 57N
503
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lorinne Anderson wrote:
I am sick and tired of having hand tools, .power tools, and yard tools in 12 different locations; rescue equipment, crates, med supplies, feeding supplies, etc in another 12 locations. My goal this winter is to purpose build storage WHERE it is needed, and move like minded stuff together so it is easily accessible, where it is needed, and properly organized. Otherwise it is useless, as it is not worth spending five hours playing "I KNOW I have that" somewhere  (although you often find a bunch of other good stuff during the hunt!).



Ah yes I know this one. If I want a particular sized screw.. well it might be in the "garage" (old corn silo) it might be in the tool heap on the floor of the old milking stall, it might be in the utility room on top of the boiler and most likely I will find the box balanced somewhere dumb wherever I last used it.
We have three cookers.. two in the house and one in the barn, the one in the barn only the hobs work, but I can use it to cook animal feed. we have three chest freezers.. I'm sure the empty one that shocks you when touched can be used for something right? how about an old broken go-cart? enough tiles to tile an entire house (but not enough matching for even a few feet. so many bits of old horse tack including what looks like most of a cart.. we have a stupidly huge barn and a stupidly large amount of crap in it mostly from the previous owner, everything from bits of beehives and unused honey jars, to old milking machines and a 1930's turnip sower. I even found some shotgun shells in a draw. But if you walk into the barn it looks nearly empty. It's lazyness rather than hoarding in our case.  Very little of the stuff in there is stuff we have acquired, and every now and again something comes in useful, The best find so far was a pickaxe, expensive things to buy but just the job for digging water pipes down in gravel.
 
Lorinne Anderson
pollinator
Posts: 711
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
263
dog
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Old freezers: Ideal dry storage as it is rodent proof; unplug and fill with feed or other goods you want safe from chewers.

Pick axe's: when seeking a sledge hammer I located not one, or two, but THREE pick axe's, no sledge to be found, until three days later, when I no longer needed it.

Tile: if crafty, smash it up for mosaics; tile CAN be painted, with special paint...IF you need tile somewhere.

Yeah, I'd love your junk Skandi! Sounds like you might have historical antiques (honey stuff, turnip planter, harness/cart stuff) a local (farm?) museum might be willing to acquire AND provide you with a charitable tax receipt. Betcha they would come pick it up also!
 
Posts: 109
Location: Central South Dakota looking around
23
hugelkultur fungi chicken
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hoarding, to me, is saving things that you don't have any plan for.

I have a few collections. Picture frames, probably got a good deal, I like them...not sure when I will fill or hang them. Hoarding.

Mason jars. I always have some I'm not using at the moment, but throughout the year they all cycle in and out. Saving.

Not saying saving can't turn into hoarding. All of my collections have use and get purged regularly. My husband and I both come from 'horder' families. Mine lowkey random things like magazines and plastic bags, his entire rooms/buildings filled with random purchases, some used none or once. We are both well aware and proactive to prevent problems.
 
Jordan Holland
gardener
Posts: 1170
Location: Western Kentucky
511
dog gear foraging trees hunting food preservation cooking fiber arts woodworking wood heat rocket stoves
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ode to Junk  

(by Jordan Holland)

When in doubt,
don't throw it out!
If you throw it away,
you'll need it someday...

One man's trash is another's treasure,
so follow me, then, at your pleasure
and we shall save junk, (though unheeded)
For some day we shall surely need it!
 
Posts: 2
2
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is a fun thread. I hate to send anything to the landfill. Guess I’m a hoarder but I’m also artistic. Broken tools, if I’m not able to repair them, go in a pile outside ready for a sculpture. I have 7 broken shovels in that pile and know I’ll get to the sculpture next summer. Making stuff from “trash” thrills me. During this Covid pandemic I’ve been grateful to have stuff I can make something out of. When I wanted a scarecrow last spring I found a broken rake, some bubble wrap, 2 very used holy work gloves, my rain boots that didn’t keep water out anymore, some flimsy stained fabrics, some old red paint and made a super fun scarecrow adorned 2 big eyes out of  old CD disks. I noticed the birds stayed clear of my newly planted corn seed for a change. I took the rest of my CD stash and hung them in all my fruit trees. The holographic look worked and I had more fruit this year, especially figs that the birds have devoured in the past.
When I needed a garden gate I remembered an old futon wooden frame I was saving for it’s 1x4 slating and it made 2 great gates. I’ve got bunch’s of mismatched tile of different styles and colors... I did an entire bathroom with them & it worked well. Yes it took more time to work with them but it was satisfying to complete the project. I’m not into the mindset that time is money and I could go buy or hire out whatever I need, but I want to reuse whatevers already in my house & shed. I found too that broken tile makes great planting markers.
I do keep organized & can find items fairly quickly. I wouldn’t be able to live in a disoriented cluttered space. Appalachian assets are what I keep around to use one day, even if I don’t hv a current use for them. I’ve got bags of jar tops and will be making a wind thingy for the garden to deter the bears, deer, Coons, groundhogs, etc. My plan is to drill a sm hole thru the tops, run some fishing line thru them and attach it to a long piece of bamboo.
I keep 5 big bins in my cellar marked, 2021, 2022 .... & stock them with non perishable food I find on sale. I just make sure I use each years before filling it up for a later year. I don’t consider those as hoarding or saving ... just being prepared to take care of myself in a problematic environment.
I don’t see a reason to get down on ourselves for keeping stuff IF we have space & can keep it sorted. Repurposing “junk” Is a fine hobby. I haven’t watched TV for over 25 years. Figuring out what to do with junky assets is much more exciting entertainment to me.
 
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It can be really great here in rural northern Michigan to have what you need to do what you want or need to do without going to town for supplies because going to town either direction is about 45 minutes on a good day with clear roads and that means an hour and a half without doing anything there but just turning around and coming back again.  It's easy to burn up enough time running to town that there is not enough time left to get the task done. Also there is the cost factor. If I can use what I have to get the project done it can be a considerable savings in money spent. So 2 kinds of savings.
I feel hoarding is being stingy even with yourself so much so that you have what is needed but you don't want to use it or share it with someone else. Around here folks are neighborly enough that they share and help each other out which is another reason to not run to town for it. Might be your neighbor has what you need and will lend it or sell it to you at a savings.
 
Posts: 2
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I hoard what I fear I won't have an opportunity to be.  For me this is books.
I have so many more books than I will ever read.  My Fear / Sense of Lack & Loss that makes me hoard these is the feeling
that I will never have the time to, the resources , the energy to learn and develop myself as I beleived I 'should',
as a part of me that never got the chance, or I never gave the chance to develop.

Instead of validatiing that time mulling over all the areas of interest to me was valuable, I baught books and set them on a shelf.
I dust my books, foundly.  I organize my books, to remember to discover what it is I am 'Quest-Ion-ing".   I have moved crates of books 6 or more times.
But I have read - relativley- only a few pages.   I never give myself the permision to take the selfish time to develop Me.

LIfe demands seem to steel this away.  It is a loss, a fear, a sense of great lack that makes me hoard my books.

Now that I am aware of this.  I am indeed giving myself permision to explore my interests - Even if I don't know what value this knowlege could
possibly have.  Even if it will never make $, energy, food, or any other accomplishment.  If I'm interested, I give myself permision to spend hours on exploring it.

 
author & steward
Posts: 2131
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
1176
goat cat forest garden foraging chicken food preservation medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very interesting discussion.

Dan Boone wrote:It's common, but in my view unwise, to have these conversations without acknowledging that the answers vary enormously with one's wealth, social class, and income.  Your search for a cutoff is missing a variable.  How rich (or broke) do you expect to be over those 25 years.  And how sure are you?  (aka "How much economic confidence do you have?")


In my case, there has been a deliberate weaning ourselves off our dependence on monetary income with a view to retirement. The idea is that becoming more sustainable and self-reliant in our lifestyle, the less we will need to buy and generate income to buy. Part of that has been collecting tools, equipment, and information resources that we know we will have either continuous use for, or at least more than a one-time use for.

Part of that formula is learning to live with less, and clutter bugs me. So occasionally, a huge haul of stuff either goes as donations to thrift shops, or to the recycle bins at the landfill. As others have pointed out, there is sometimes an internal debate over particular items, especially if they are useful but are rarely used. One question I ask is, of course, replacement cost, but also replacement quality. Seems like with almost everything, the price goes up but the quality goes down. If I have a well-made item that I use rarely, I will likely keep it if I know the replacement will be little better than an overpriced piece of junk.
 
Hold that thought. Tiny ad:
Permaculture Voices 1, 2 and 3 - all 117 hours of video!
https://permies.com/t/voices123
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic