Saving Versus Hoarding: Too Much of a Good Thing


I have been planning on writing this post for a few weeks, but I have things in my draft folder I intended on posting prior to this one.

Then I started thinking about this orange juice container.

I buy orange juice maybe 3 times a year. If that. I am really picky about my juice and I really can’t justify the price for the quality I want more than that. I’m not at the point where I think about the reusability of the packaging I buy [yet] [though I also admit that I am annoyed that Wegmans swapped out their pasta sauce bottles for plastic, at least in the bulk pack]. However, the quality of juice I buy normally comes in a bottle more often than a carton.

So I rinsed out the bottle and set it aside for the tea that Mid brings to work. We don’t know what happened to his normal Stanley thermos at this stage of the move, though I’m sure it’ll come up again at some point.

It did however get me thinking about this subject again, so I’ll touch on it tonight.

Saving Versus Hoarding

There is a certain frugality to getting as much use out of what you own as you can, instead of buying a separate product for that purpose. That’s why I use canning jars in my kitchen for storage instead of dedicated kitchen storage pieces, unless they go on deep sale. ┬áDuring my research for the money saving posts, one of the consistent tips was to never throw out anything that can be used for something else.

I’m going to tell you there comes a point where you need to let things go and throw them away.

Again, I do agree with the idea-and use it-but as with the majority of things in life, it’s a matoter of degrees. You can tip from ‘frugal, green reuse’ into ‘kind of scary stockpile of old stir fry bottles.’

My system for avoiding a hoarding situation and maintaining a useful stash:

[This system takes into account seasonal use items like Christmas decorations or winter gear, but the idea is still the same. Even if the item is only used once a year, it should be getting used during that point of the year. If you have 1000 Christmas ornaments and only really use 50, it’s time to purge.]

  1. Figure out when you use the items you already own-if you already have a stash of 50 bottles and only use 10, it’s not time to start hanging on to more bottles. It’s time to purge at least some of those overflow bottles.
  2. Determine how much storage space you actually have to put towards saving-not what you -think- you have, not what you -might- have if you were to clean things out, what you have right now.
  3. Occasionally deep clean-go through and clean out cupboards and closets and drawers. Get rid of things you haven’t used in an allotted amount of time. For example, if you haven’t used something in a year, at the very least put it into more remote storage like an attic or store room, or purge it.
  4. Forget how much you paid for it-with some exceptions. If the item was truly expensive, try to sell or trade it to recoup some of the costs. But if it was a normal sized purchase, the money is already gone regardless of whether or not you keep it.
  5. Once you have an idea of actual space, have cleared out your stashes, and know what you have-only keep things that you can name a use for. Try to avoid ‘but I might need it some day’ if you don’t have any idea what you’ll be using it for on that random future day.,
  6. Don’t keep items that need more than light repairs. A box that can be taped is one thing, an engine that needs to be completely overhauled is another.
  7. Stop saving when you stop using-every so often I have to go through and purge small bits of yarn. I do a lot of scrap knitting, but there comes a point where my small bit collection outsizes the amount of time that I spend scrap knitting. Don’t save more glass jars than you will ever feasibly use.
  8. Only keep things to ‘upcycle’ if you actually intend on upcycling them. I feel like upcycling is my generation’s answer to the Depression’s keep it because you may need it and not have resources to get it. Upcycling is awesome, but if you don’t know how to sew, now is not the time to start holding onto piles of old blown out jeans. You can certainly try to trade or barter them to someone who can upcycle them for you, and you can definitely work on learning to sew so you can eventually upcycle old denim-but there will be plenty of old denim available to play with when you get to that point. Basically, don’t start holding onto items for skills that you don’t actually have yet.

great fiber no buy: day 21-doing it wrong

i’m doing it wrong.

i’ve got to be.

i know that i’m not doing all that well with the whole no yarn thing. however, i really do think that if i don’t buy the yarn for the chili boy challenge, i’m just not going to get anywhere fast, and it’ll be this time next year and i’ll be talking about how mid’s angry with me for not having the socks knit.

a.c. moore had a special today where if you had the special coupon, you’d get 25% off your entire order. i had gotten a coupon saturday when we went in for something else. mid’s company had their christmas/holiday party at a local resturant last night and we got out early enough that i convinced myself to use that coupon. i thought that i did well. i got one ball of sock yarn for free, essentially. in fact, you could say that i was proud of myself. i’ll take a pair of men’s socks for $5.

until i came across a post on another blog that mentioned saving something insane like 80% off of a grocery bill using coupons. i do use coupons- that is, if i can find coupons that work for things that i actually buy (this is harder for me to do than it sounds, considering mid can’t eat a lot of things due to having a wonky tummy) or that don’t require buying more food than what i have storage room for, or room in the budget for. saving a dollar off of frozen chicken is probably a good thing if you have need and/or freezer space for 3 boxes of the stuff.

however, for the sake of honesty, i do cut corners in a lot of places in order to make room in my budget for things like sock yarn. i do most of my grocery shopping at aldi’s or other low cost grocery chains (though i avoid buying produce there, it’s just subpar in quality). even on heavy weeks i’m $10 to $20 under what a normal week would be at wegmans or another chain. we’re trying to eat out a lot less. i take the bus a lot, or walk. a lot of my current money issues are due more to the amazing imploding station wagon of 2010 and my graduate education than anything else.

we now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.