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The things we save...

Posted Friday, February 1, 2008, at 3:17 PM

The things we save…

A comment on our dear Snowbound Madeline's blog prompted this subject. I believe Maddie may even have touched upon it once before. A blogger whose mother once wrapped plastic bread bags around her children's tennis shoes so that they could play in the snow posted a note. This, of course, brings to mind the question of the day…why do we save the things we do?

A quick inventory of my kitchen drawers only emphasizes the fact that we women have a problem with that. Perhaps men do as well, but I really believe that this problem is primarily a female thing.

Let's see, there are twist ties from bread bags. Have I ever reused a twist tie? Not to my recollection. Did I think I might make my own bread some day and need to package it professionally….hmmmm, not likely.

Jars…all sorts of them. Jelly, mayonnaise, salsa, peanut butter, relish. Why? Don't know. I don't make jelly or jam. I suppose I do this so that I have something to throw out a year later.

Lids…Now, why is it that I save them too, but none of them fit any of the jars I saved? It's a conspiracy.

Screws…seems I always have some left over from assembling one thing or another. I'm sure this speaks volumes about my assembly skills. I'm always afraid to throw the leftovers out. They might come in handy when whatever I assembled becomes somehow disassembled, which actually occurs occasionally, but I just go out and buy new screws to fit. Hence, the collection.

Dishes…when you get down to having two of the eight original plates or cereal bowls, common sense would tell you to throw the two odds out, but even when I have a new set, I just can't seem to part with the old. So they sit on the bottom of the stack and are never used. Why do we do that?

Socks…if one gets a hole in it, wouldn't it make sense to throw out the pair? Do I? Of course not. I am perpetually trying to find a match for a sock whose twin I disposed of years ago.

Books…I don't read books twice (except for In Cold Blood), so why keep books around that I read 20 years ago? Don't know, but just in case someone ever wants to read, "Catch 22," or "Red October," or an Alfred Hitchcock novel, I'm your woman.

Christmas ornaments…now, it's just plain sinful to throw out the old ones. Not gonna happen.

And finally CLOTHES….now, there's a problem area. But how can I pitch those size 10's when I might fit back into them in 2014 or so? I'm a walking billboard for the Boy Scout rule…Be Prepared. Shoes also…I don't care if they're platforms from the late 80's…aren't they coming back? Or have they come and gone?

Those empty plastic bags from Wal-Mart….now just how many of those things can a person save? About 187, if I'm not mistaken.

And if you really wish to find out about a person, check out their refrigerator. I have no less than five unfinished jars of Salsa in there at the moment. Probably wouldn't trust any of them as being consumable, but there they are. Don't know why I don't empty them and add the jars to my collection.

Old perfume. Some that I never did like that I must have received as gifts remain in the vanity or on a shelf. Just can't seem to bring myself to throw out a full bottle of anything. So, why can't I just empty the contents and pitch? Not feasible.

There are others...paper clips, thumb tacks (some used, some not), rubber bands, safety pins, bobby pins (haven't had a need for them for 35 years at least, but just in case), green eye shadow, shoestrings, marbles, old textbooks, eyeglasses...I could likely fill a pickup bed with the "stuff" I've counted as necessary to stash away for a rainy day.

Cash…now that's the only thing I've come across that doesn't age, doesn't go out of style, and still fits. Doesn't take up much space either, possibly because I've never managed to accumulate it like I do empty jars. I don't foresee the size of my palm ever varying so much that cash won't fit in it quite nicely either. Yep, it's a good thing to collect. Think I'll start this weekend.

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Oh My! I whipped up some delightful little cakes - some for Minnie and some for my dear husband...I do hope I hadn't mixed them up...

-- Posted by letseatcake633 on Wed, Feb 27, 2008, at 6:41 PM


-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Feb 27, 2008, at 6:46 AM

GL, FYI there is no such thing as "old tools." You can go into a tool shed locked up for 30 or 40 years and dig right in and use the tools that haven't been touched for decades! So it isn't a matter of saving tools, it is unthinkable to discard them.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Wed, Feb 13, 2008, at 3:52 PM

Oh, boy...here we go again... I'm no good at this: "Invent Biscuits"? "Infuriate Baboons"? "Invest Bonds"? "Infect Bass"? "Inflict Bees"?

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 4:08 PM

Nah, I.B. isn't my real name. It is just something I have been wanting to do and might soon.

I didn't see the Oprah show, but from what I am seeing here I am not too sure that I like what they appear to be insinuating even though I am a skinny little guy. One of the most organized and intelligent people I know is slightly over weight but that has absolutely no impact on his actual intelligence or his personality for that matter.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Mon, Feb 11, 2008, at 8:56 AM

I saw the episode,I can only take away from it that if your kitchen is too cluttered,or your home is such a wreck you can't stand it,you will eat out more and be tempted to go for the high fat,easy to fix meals when you are home.

I have a relative who suffers from depression,and has for years but refuses to get help,because it's shameful to her. She would kill anyone that tried to get in her basement,it is full of her shopping therapy.When our grandmother died,she took all the junk she could because "it was so special".

Well,that was 1964 and it's still in those precious boxes,somwhere in the basement.I am trying so hard to break this pitiful cycle in my family,but dang it's rough.I am sentimental,but I should keep the memories,not plastic flowers.

I love these Oprah shows,they really bring into focus it's not too special if it's in a broken down box with other junk on top of it,and I haven't looked at it in 25 years or so.If I die unexpectedly,I know it's all going to the dump or worse "The Burn Pile"-egads.

I'm trying to give my special treasures away to my distant relatives that might wish for some family junk.

Yes,we are not Rockefellers,so it's safe to assume it's junk to the Roadshow,but maybe priceless to someone who never knew their Grandma.I've repurposed,no matter how painful.

The garage has a dent in it now,my husband is slightly pleased,until we get to his "treasures" in the shed-heh heh heh!

At least my junk isn't rusty!

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Mon, Feb 11, 2008, at 8:22 AM

Good point, I.B....(if this is your real name...)

One has to wonder if the focus on a skinny family (the result of Skinny Cows, no doubt), would have produced the same theories. And, GT, the family in question showed no sign of weight loss as they appeared on the Oprah stage after the fact, yet I recall no mention of that on the program, which brings about a resounding...Hmmmmmmmmmm. I have a little problem relating lack of organizational skills to obesity. If that were the proven case, I'd weigh about 820 lbs.!!!

-- Posted by bringwine on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 11:42 PM

I wonder why they didn't use a skinny family for their show? Are all skinny people neat and organized?

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 10:07 PM

I saw most of that Oprah episode, but I admit to muting much of it when the wife/mother was raging and crying over some silliness...I think she was bemoaning the fact that she was gonna have to throw away a juicer or some such device that belonged to her grandmother.

Good grief! Either throw it away or keep it! Don't put the audience through all that trauma!

I agree with you, too, AJ, it's good to hear that so many other people have problems throwing away their junk.

That theory about obesity and clutter was an eye-opener, all right! There may be something to it, but the family didn't look any skinnier to me, either!

Don't you think it all boils down to a matter of self-discipline? If I could just discipline myself to tackle this house, my problems would be solved! Except, of course, for those metamorphesizing paper clips...

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Feb 10, 2008, at 5:55 PM

Wine, I seen the ads for that one, but didn't get to sit down and watch it. But I would believe that, if it was just so easy to get rid of unwanted things, you would in turn shed unwanted pounds, America wouldn't be so overweight. Most all of us spring clean, and most all of us are also still trying to lose unwanted pounds well into swimsuit season...it just doesn't work that way...but I bet there are at least a thousand people out there that believed in that hype...only to be headed for a let-down.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 10:22 AM

I watched an episode of Oprah Thursday in which she had a family whose home was just chocked full of "stuff." Junk, really, and it was all over the place...on top of and underneath furniture. The kitchen was a disaster with utensils and bowls, etc. stuffed in every inch of cabinet space. Each member of the household was truly obese, including the two children. (The father was not too bad). The theory was that the family was as "junked" as the household and once the home was cleaned up and organized and ridded of the "extra weight," so would the family be! They seemed to go with the theory, painful as it was, but I can't go with the theory that everyone overweight can attribute the obesity to the lack of organization in their lives. After a thorough cleanup, the family seemed to think it worked, but the whole bunch appeared on stage and they didn't look to me any better for the wear! At least they got a clean house out of the deal! It was truly sinful how much junk they kept, but I didn't fall for the obesity relation concept.

-- Posted by bringwine on Sat, Feb 9, 2008, at 12:08 AM

I have a theory (not original, but I'm claiming it) that paperclips are really the embryonic forms of coat hangers. I can never find a paper clip when I need it - I buy them and put them in my desk drawer - but they disappear. On the other hand, I never buy coat hangers, but I have WAY more than I need. At night, while I slumber blissfully in my bed, the paper clips crawl into the closets and up to the rack where they transform into hangers.

Hey, it works for catepillars/butterflies.

Minnie, dearest, you really hit a nerve this time. I have some stuff still in unopened boxes from when I moved to Missouri almost 30 years ago. Can I throw the boxes away unopened under the rational that if I haven't needed the items in 30 years they're probably unecessary? Nope.

-- Posted by Ducky on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 3:03 PM

I blame my mother for my inability to part with junk,(or hoarding)and I thank Oprah for being able to change my thinking.If this junk is so "special",how can I treat it with such disrespect by leaving it in boxes in the garage? I have to just take a deep breath and pitch things I know my Mom would take home and try to use.It's not safe,but I wonder why,with as much crap as I do save,why Mom's house is and always has been cleaner than mine?

I think she just never bought as much junk as I do in the first place!

In order to avoid the big indoor flea market at the Coliseum in Poplar Bluff this weekend, I volunteered to work-baby steps I know.

I need to clean the garage before it's shut down by the State Fire Marshal-weakly lol.

I love the comments, I know my secret shame(?) is shared by others!

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Fri, Feb 8, 2008, at 9:40 AM

It's "with which we can live," but the longer I live, the less and less impressed I am with with good grammar...and I never thought I'd say that.

"Repurposed" gifts...that's creative! And economical!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Feb 7, 2008, at 8:29 PM


I just love the definition you cited..."repurposed." Now, there's a concept we can live with ( or is it "with which we can live?") It assumes that in transforming, the material at hand is granted a new purpose of its own...a most "just" concept. Thanks.

-- Posted by bringwine on Wed, Feb 6, 2008, at 11:24 PM

I think its a great idea to recyclce those Walmart bags, they have a big container as soon as you go in to put your used ones in. I am also a packrat of Cards and paperwork....I dont know if there is any helping that.

-- Posted by collegegirl on Tue, Feb 5, 2008, at 11:59 AM

Garden girl, I LOVE that idea!! I can hardly wait to get started. Mmmm...I wonder if I can use cards with coffee stains...

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 6:10 PM

I must pass on a suggestion for you fellow card savers. At Christmas, I helped the grandchildren make place mats for their families by covering poster board with the fronts of old cards, then sealing with clear Contact

paper. They were proud of their handiwork, and I was happy to recycle.

You could do the same thing with birthday cards and have a special placemat for the birthday person.

-- Posted by gardengirl on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 3:09 PM

I can say I spent part of this weekend throwing out expired medicines,and any makeup over a year old.I want to say what a waste,but instead I think,"Wow,a big bag of poison,waiting to kill any fool who uses it!"

I'm off today,so it's time to go through the fridge,and remove any nuclear waste posing as expired ranch dressing!

I do make the effort to take it to the recycling trailer,so I feel it's not "wasted",just re purposed. My hubby wants to keep all aluminum cans,so we can pretend he will actually take them in for money-haha.Yeah, I'm not that good an actress.

-- Posted by AngelinaJolie on Mon, Feb 4, 2008, at 9:31 AM

I should add, however, that I do save sentimental items like cards, but I have a special box for those so they don't end up being used as coasters, collecting coffee-stain rings.

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Sun, Feb 3, 2008, at 6:38 PM

Throw it ALL away!! Muhahahaha!

Seriously though, I save and reuse shopping bags (not to reuse them seems to me a criminal act of pollution given the numbers, and besides they're great for bagging up nasty pet messes so they don't stink in your trash, and for a million other uses), rubber bands (these can be use over and over and over again and as SOON as you throw one away you'll need one for something), ziplock bags, and water bottles. Otherwise, if I've never had a second-hand use for a particular item, it cannot stay!

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Sun, Feb 3, 2008, at 6:36 PM


You've saved all that stuff for the same reason that I've saved half sticks of red crayons, bladeless Exacto knives, birthday candles that were only slightly used when the grandchildren spit the flame out and Master Locks in the lock position with no hope of ever finding the combination.

-- Posted by bringwine on Sun, Feb 3, 2008, at 1:25 AM

My son and I started on the basement this afternoon, and here's the partial list of items waiting for the dumpster:

1) large kiln with rusty hinges (I haven't done ceramics since the early 70's.)

2) An old Apple computer, circa early '90's.

3) An oversize printer (ditto)

4) Plastic toy gladiator armor (save for Halloween)

5) 2 enormous lamps which don't work

6) A large closet full of old games (Operation, Monopoloy, Clue)

7) A weight bench (very heavy)

Needless to say, I can't handle most of this heavy stuff, so my son will come back after the dumpster is emptied Wednesday. Why have I saved all this stuff???????

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Feb 2, 2008, at 3:06 PM

Hahaha! So true!

My mom loved those cute little glass pimento jars. She washed them up and stacked them neatly in the cabinets with the dishes. Then, when I'd come over, she would persuade me (I loved them too) to take them back with me and put them in MY cabinet!!

Well, one day in 02, my son came to help me get my house ready for two sets of guests for two weddings. We bought the replacements for my deck lights, but they didn't work - so he searched around for something else that he could use for light bulbs.

You guessed it! He used Mom's little pimento jars!! It made her so happy!!

None of it works anymore (my dogs tore it up), but the jars are still out there!

Mom passed away in 06, but I think of her everytime I see a pimento jar.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, Feb 2, 2008, at 7:21 AM

When we need more and more and still more room for our stuff, I feel there is a word for that or maybe a place we should sign up to get help for our special needs. Why in the world do we think that we need things that no longer fit, no longer are in style and no longer serve a purpose such as:

cards - Every card I ever received, I can't part with. Christmas cards, birthday cards, cards from anyone and anywhere, cards just because, cards that my kids made me when they were 3.

papers - I thought I would stay more organized with paperwork if I just had a file cabinet hahaha. I think I started to feel I could organize all of the junk mail and refer to it in case there ever really was a need for such a thing. And doesn't every mother have all of their kids papers from day one of the good ole school days stacked neatly in boxes waiting to be put into a scrape book.

collections - salt and pepper shakers, hats, dolls (maybe I will want to revert back to childhood real soon...probably sooner than I think), scarfs, magazines

Like others, I too hold on to that just right size dress that once looked so good on me. Who am I kidding, I no longer have the same body so it doesn't matter if I happen to fit a size 6/8 again. It will NEVER look the same.

Maybe I fool myself into thinking that I will get the X-Treme make-over and be all of that and a bag of chips. Look out little black dress, I am not going to need you any more. I'm ready for RED.

-- Posted by Grati Tude on Fri, Feb 1, 2008, at 10:50 PM

Oh, my gosh! Are all women our age prone to saving stuff like that??

Twist ties, old toothbrushes, old make up from 20-30 years ago, out of style clothes (I'm wearing an old pair of leggings right now).

Some men are old-fashioned, too, but I haven't heard what they save -- unless it's old tools.

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Feb 1, 2008, at 8:47 PM

I can agree with you on the Wal-Mart bags...I have a Wal-Mart bag packed full of them, haha.

Then I also have a problem with keeping butter bowls. I have storage containers, so I have no idea why I keep the butter bowls. I don't even remember the last time I used one for anything.

Bottles of lotions...most that don't even really do anything for dry skin. Like the one's I've received in bath collections...I just don't throw them away. I can't, as you said...they are full.

Now with the holy sock issue...I always keep the one I didn't throw away. But with the way my boys and husband go through socks, I'm bound to have another one soon. It just aggravates the fire out of me when that darn dryer fairy takes the other ones that are perfectly good! That could be another blog topic...where do all those socks actually go???

That's about it for my collection of things I will never use. I'm sure I'll start a new collection of something else as time goes on. I have to have something that drives my husband crazy.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Fri, Feb 1, 2008, at 6:44 PM

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