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Hoarding vs saving

 
master gardener
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Hi leigh,

The junk issue is a valid one.  It has now been over a year since I have been in a big box hardware store.  I find poking around junk stores to get better results ..... just as long as I am careful not to buy junk that originated in a big box store.
 
gardener
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This is a good thread.

I am pretty bad at hoarding vs. saving.  I tend to view virtually any resource—including what many would call junk—as potentially precious, as if the apocalypse were to happen tomorrow that junk would become gold.

I do tend to hold on to things for too long.  I guess my best “strategy” to deal with this is my wife who is far more practical than I am.

Eric
 
pollinator
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Location: 10 miles NW of Helena Montana
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My wife said I was becoming a hoarder.  I was in construction and remodeling for decades and never tossed anything.

Well, we bought new property and was told to get rid of all that "stuff" before we moved.  I didn't.  It took a 24 foot U-Haul to move it all to our new homestead!

Building our new home, chicken coop, etc. I have managed to use up 2/3 of the "stuff".

How much did I save in $$?  I figured around $5000 or so.
 
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We have Goodwill, churches that collect for the needy, recycling options, places to donate building supplies. I try to keep unloved stuff out of landfill, including nails, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals.
Save a scrap from landfill, earn a breath of fresh air.
I like permaculture soil building with layers because it digests cardboard, precious paper & untreated lumber, the raised bed gardeners’ “old soil.”

I live in a city, so some of these things are easier than if I had to drive a long way.
 
pollinator
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Location: West Virginny and Kentuck
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My attempt at the conundrum this year:

1. Retire, so that all of your time is your own.

2. Acquire an empty house with no obvious deficiencies.

3. Slowly furnish it with the cream of your belongings.

4. Stop moving things in when you’ve reached perfection.

5. Take up unfinished projects as you find them, and finish them.

6. Start reading some of the great books you’ve been collecting.

7. Spend time in the old space with the remaining stuff.  Commune with it.  Scratch your head and consider what to do with the amazingly cool stuff you’ve accumulated over 66 years.  Feel glad there is little pressure for immediate action.

8. Sigh.  Admit you are a hoarder and enjoy it.  For a little while, at least.
 
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I am related by marriage to someone --back one generation-- who built a second farm house, because the first one was full o' stuff. Guess they'd lived through the Depression?

My Dad lived through the Depression and he did keep some stuff, but not everything. He kept his collections of books, LPs, etc. But used the same tool drawer for the entire time I grew up. It helped that he considered himself NOT handy, and hired carpenters, plumbers, gardeners, etc.
 
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I'm loving this thread. When I was a kid, I used to love to tinker with “junk.” I can’t even tell you how many “robots” my brother and I attempted to make from spare blender parts and pulleys and the like. As an adult, I’ve found that I have a good imagination for making something out of nothing. I credit this in part to my tinkering as a child.

All this is to say that some junk, if you have the space for it, can be good for its own sake.... just to mess around with. It can be especially good for kids and teens. Of course I grew up at a time when children played... but I think it can be a learned habit still.

My wife, on the other hand, hates clutter. A good compromise, and perhaps a good way to prevent ourselves from tipping into realm of hoarding, is to have a designated space for the items we are saving and to not go beyond it. Anything outside of the “junk” section of the barn that looks like it’s no longer useful is fair game for the dumpster.
 
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I'm pretty bad when it comes to keeping things, because I don't keep a thing unless I have a plan for it, but I always have more plans than I can implement in even the next 3 years, or even the next 5 years sometimes.  I hate to throw anything that I either paid for or that has a potential value or is readily fixable that I just haven't had the time for yet.

So my system is based upon prioritization.  Like I might have five steel shelves of "storage" in the garage and it's literally in priority from 5 to 1, high priority stuff at a 5 and low priority stuff at a 1.  The higher priority shelf has to get resorted shuffling things to the right...  so I reconsider whats high priority (to fit something new) and that means something already on there has to be what least belongs there so it goes down to a 4.  The problem is it's time consuming because every shelf is full and it's then a round robin as you move from 4 to 3, 3 to 2, 2 to 1.

But there is no 0 - it gets thrifted, thrown, or gifted if it doesn't belong on even #1 anymore.

Although the time consuming shuffle is a PITA this also makes you more aware (and burdened, which can be a good thing if it gives you the bravery to finally toss it) of just what youre keeping, and whether you should clear MORE than what absolutely has to go out to make the future juggle easier.  At some point you are paying more to keep things in storage or in shuffling maintenance than a thing is even worth, thats when it should go.  This also favors smaller denser more valuable items, or if you have light bulky stuff things that easily stack to the sky on the top shelf because I have a tall storage area.
 
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