Being a Pack Rat : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Today my sister and 2 friends came by to help us empty the old shed (end of a truck actually) and put everything in the big bright shiny structurally sound new one. I had several odd pieces of old doors, bent screens, odd pieces of insulating foam, string, fence posts etc. One friend said she didn't understand the desire to hold onto something "in case you might use it". She was a big help and the few odd things I'd kept for over 11 years and still hadn't used are being given away this week. Anyone who wants some old wooden windows (I kept some for cold frames) or chicken wire rolled flat, scrap wood, or an almost new tire for a Ford Festiva, just let me know!

We realized by the end of a long day that the "anti-pack rat" was used to buying new stuff when she needed. Her family could always afford that growing up.

I don't know when I became such a keeper of things I don't use. Because I have room to save endless pieces of wood for future bird houses? Because I have impossible lists of things I want to learn to do? Because I often need to make things cheaply?

I did send that friend home with the meat hook left here from the prior tennants. If I ever really need it, I know where she will be storing it!

Why are/aren't you a pack rat....and what qiveaway do you never turn away?

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2001


Oh Anne, now there is a deeeeep subject!! I am so deeeeep in stuff that I don't have room for me. Sherri has been here and she has seen what a pack rat I am. What is worse is that Gary is too and he works were there are a bunch of people from the "throw-away" mentality and I end up with soooo many treasures. Being a crafter doesn't help cause not only is there the endless stuff for the outside "someday" projects, then there is all the yarn, fabric, etc. etc. etc. Now Sherri brought me the soap making stuff and what do you get rid of??

The giveaway I can't refuse........nice dishes, pots and pans, homestead type objects. Still looking for someone to pitch a sausage stuffer but haven't found one of those yet. What is not a great giveaway would be more the question.

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2001

Ah Man, You don't even want to know what a pack rat I am! I told my husband once that I think that I have a secret idea, one day my house will go up into the air, like Dorothys did on the wizard of Oz. And I will be just fine, me and my house and all my stuff. I will be able to stay comfortable, dressed, and entertained for quite a long time, with all the stuff that I have pack ratted! I will be able to find new books to read, hidden treasures, and many surprizes, all in this little cabin of ours for days on end. grinTren

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2001

I cannot believe that there are other "pack rats" out there!!! I save scraps of wood, (future birdhouses?), pieces of wire, jars for storing stuff (whatever stuff that might be!), even those little plastic containers that new film comes in! I have so many pieces of furniture that I have picked up at yard spare bedrooms are waaaaay to crowded with "stuff"!! Someday I'll get around to refinishing them. Glad I'm not the only one with this bad (?) habit!

-- Anonymous, August 18, 2001

Pack rat here and my Brian is even worse. He does handyman work and you talk about stuff for a couple with a half built house, the only problem is we have this stuff and still have a half built house. His latest is he is replacing a 16ft X 32ft deck because the boards are rotten on about 8" of one end, the lumber is cedar. Sure will make a good chicken house , someday....Sherry

-- Anonymous, August 19, 2001

Maybe the reason we all live, or want to live, in the country has to do with the fact that there's more room to store things! Sheesh! We have a whole section of our property that's got lumber, fencing, pier blocks, pipe, sheet metal, etc. stacked up. It comes in handy! We hardly ever have to buy anything. We probably have duplicates (at least) of every tool known to exist (except I mentioned seeing a fro at an antiques store and Mr. S. didn't have one!) We have boxes of old hinges, hardware, wiring, and we reuse nails that we can straighten out.

I have two year's worth of wool stored (like I'm going to spin it all!) We have four looms, two spinning wheels, and lots of peripheral hardware (like winders and skeiners.) I have stacks of fabric, buttons, books, our y2k food supply in plastic buckets, canning jars, misc. livestock stuff like automatic waterers, chick feeders, lamps, and feeders stacked up in various spots. I have been better at getting rid of old clothes! I still need to divest us of all the extra blankets, towels, and sheets! And coffee mugs!

Are we neurotic??????

-- Anonymous, August 19, 2001

Oh, I do NOT get rid of 'extra' bedding and linen!! (what is this 'extra'? That is a foreign concept!) I have remnants of towels that I used when I was a child. I have bits of my pyajamas from when I was six -- all excellent rags now of course. I yell at people who try to take them to wipe paint brushes off on and tell them to take the piece that has the elastic corner off the old fitted sheet for pete's sake! Not my excellent wiping and cleaning cloths!! Did you ever look at the scraps bags that they sell for rags in stores? What trash, you couldn't do a good job of cleaning with any of it, all polyester ick.

My mom is still in the running for the 'She who finishes with the most materials WINS' competition. She sometimes buys it by the bolt, altho she hasn't really done any sewing in quite a long while. There is a family 'joke' (altho it is more like a wrangle) about how she still has the material stockpiled for the four dresses she was going to sew for Joy when she was 10.

I've unfortunately inherited that trait. I try not to go into fabric shops at all, but it is hard -- Joy and Mom like to, and then my resolve weakens, and I come out with a bag, wondering if it'll ever get sewn up.

Worse for me are craft items. I probably have at least 200 paint brushes (not for painting houses, little ones), but at least I actually wear some of those out, take off the metal ferrule where the bristles were, and save the handle. It might make a good plant stake, or it might be just right for poking down inside something to clean it out, or maybe...

I've been known to straighten out wire to save it for use later on. I bring home bags of clean baling twine for other projects, such as tying up garden hoses and hanging them on pegs on the wall come winter instead of letting them lie, and they make good plant restraints.

Not only are left over pieces of wood good for bird houses, you can float a chunk in a water trough to keep birds and small animals from drowning in there, makes a raft they can get onto and them get out. Or you can use pieces under corners of tack trunks to get them up off the concrete. Same for storage boxes in the basement (full of stockpiled goodies of all kinds!).

Periodically, I do purge some stuff out and gone, but it's hard to get rid of things. Giving away my dad's clothes when he died was hard -- somewhat because of his death, but harder to find anyone who would take them. He had a lot of them and some of them hardly ever worn (you know, keep it for 'good' occasions, so it never gets out of the closet). We did get rid of almost all of it eventually, but man what a chore!!

I'm glad that we have a community rummage sale twice a year -- around Memorial Day and Labor day. I gave away 6 boxes of mixed 'stuff' that I really didn't want or need any more last time around, and this reminds me that another one is coming up. You can either put your own stuff out with your initials and a price and get 90% of the marked value on anything that sells (you take home the rejects at the end of two days), or you can donate the stuff entirely to the Chamber of Commerce and THEY deal with the left overs. I just give it to them, I don't want it back again once it's out of the house!!

Heck no, I might find something else good that I need to save ...

I even buy sheets and blankets at rummage sales. They're great for draping around the yard when frost threatens the garden early in the season, but you know if you get them through a few nights of nipping temperatures, that it's going to warm back upa gain for at least another three weeks, and I'm out with poles, hanging up sheets, blankets, and towels all over the plants.

Before I had real commercial horse blankets for my horses, I used to be on the look out for unwanted army blankets to pin onto them if the weather got bad. Now they're making good draft stoppers in the attic. I wonder what their next incarnation will be?

-- Anonymous, August 19, 2001

Boy, Julie, you've got the "pack rat bug" bad!! Some really good ideas there...I'm gonna write them down. Thanks :-)!!

-- Anonymous, August 19, 2001

hey sheepish......neurotic??? I was thinking along the line of addiction. Then there is generational bondage associated with the whole thing. This is even a deeeeeper problem than I once though. And look at how well Julie is getting; willing to share such deeep, dark secrets!!! Now I can share about the horrible shudder I experienced when my granny died and we cleaned out her kitchen. My mother asked me to take this WHOLE DRAWER full of the little twisties that are on bread wrappers and THROW THEM OUT. Oh my goodness!!! Now, I must have accidentally brought some home because they are BREEDING in one of my kitchen drawers and multiplying and I hardly ever buy bread. HOW CAN THAT BE????????

-- Anonymous, August 20, 2001

I plead the Fifth!

-- Anonymous, August 20, 2001

You all sound like my husband, he is only allowed to keep his building material, junk etc. in and behind his shop! I am the opposite, I am a giver-awayer. Just mention to me you need something and I will find it. The problem with my husband being a material (we have our own Handyman Services company) pack rat is that he is also not organized, and has run to town to buy something even though he knows somewhere in the shop is the exact same thing he just bought! It would just take to long to find!

I do have clear rubbermaid boxes filled with material and my crafting stuff, some more than 20 years old, most unfinished. vicki

-- Anonymous, August 20, 2001

I'm more of a possessions bulemic. I go through phases where I'm a pack rat, and then I go through phases where I give it all away. I'm in a give-away phase right now, sent 5 full boxes of fabric to goodwill and all my soaping supplies to diane. I am living with a bookaholic packrat. He will not get rid of any book he has ever purchased, even if he doesn't like it. We have more Sci-Fi books in our house than Barnes & Noble.

-- Anonymous, August 20, 2001

I am a packrat due to my research oriented nature. When plastic soda bottles came out, I saw the bouyancy potentials of them and made a small pontoon fishing boat , using them as floats. It was water worthy for three years before some of the bottles needed replacement. We christened it the "No deposit, No return".

-- Anonymous, August 22, 2001

I don't think of myself as a pack rat although I am selective about what I get rid of. I have no problem getting rid of old clothes (minus buttons and zippers, of course) unless they're cotton. I can toss out polyester without a second glance but still have cotton diapers from both children (one is 32, the other is 26) because they're such good cleaning cloths. Take a lot of books to the library sales but almost always bring home a few "new" ones. Don't have a problem with purchasing cloth at the fabric store but can't toss out old jeans. Just too much good use left in them for "projects". Don't keep many "knick-knacks" but can't pass up old kitchen tools at yard sales or junk shops.

I do like the look of simple, uncluttered spaces and give away or recycle things I have no need of (until I've given it away).

I guess it's just part of life that we hang on to stuff "just in case".

Wishing you enough (but not too much).

-- Anonymous, August 23, 2001

Well, I put some things in the local paper for giveaway including a brand new tire (for a tiny Festiva-we bought it right before a deer totalled the car). A guy called and asked about the four tires...I said I had one new one (for GIVEAWAY) and he said I thought there were four, like I was holding out on him. Well, then when I said only the one NEW tire, he said he didn't want it........he needed four. Now tell me, if he took this one, then he'd only need three, right? And it was free. I just don't understand people sometimes. Maybe I have faulty math skills. ;)

-- Anonymous, August 23, 2001

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