It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it.

As I’m purging my kitchen of unneeded gizmos, receptacles, and gadgets (and also watching my husband gradually purge the garage), I realize how many times I picked up something because it was a “steal”.

The problem with buying into that notion is that these things steal needed space which makes clutter and extra work when it’s time to clean house.

Anything that hasn’t been used in 12 months is probably not needed. Additionally, anything that does something you rarely need, or only does it once a year (exceptions for Christmas and Thanksgiving, of course, may not be a steal, although it is a stealer of space and peace.

So far I’ve rid myself of:

  • 5 sheets sets
  • 10 board games
  • 5 water bottles
  • 2 kitchen gadgets
  • an old tea kettle
  • countless “Tupperware” containers

I’m not looking forward to the toy box and closet of my youngest children. Maybe I can get their sisters to take them somewhere to spare us all the wailing, gnashing of teeth and beating of the chest over toys they haven’t touched and clothes they haven’t worn in a year or more.

I’m digressing. what was the lesson here? Oh, yes:

It’s not a deal if you don’t really need it.

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28 thoughts on “It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it.

  1. If you haven’t gotten rid of-rid of the sheets, put them in your sewing supplies. You can cut them up to make trial garments. I get everyone I know to give me their old sheets…. πŸ˜€

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  2. Well said. My favorite way of making the case for a bit of a purge is to remind people that space in one’s home goes for about $100/square foot, so extra “stuff” amounts to a serious chunk of change, even if you didn’t actually buy it. And people can and do make a living by helping factories and such clean up their messes–it’s called “5S”. Let the kids play along and learn job skills!

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  3. I kept a couple but I don’t sew nearly as much as you do so I couldn’t bring myself to keep them all. They wouldn’t get much use. I have the pieces of a skirt muslin cut on my table right now that I haven’t gotten around to working on because I’ve been on the go so much.

    We’re hitting a down time the last two weeks of May, so maybe…

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  4. I can easily go through a set of sheets fitting a dress, so it’s nice to have them on hand. Keep what you’ll use, for sure, not more.
    -just had a moment with my bedroom decor, and yes, the old (10 years?) got chucked-

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  5. Preach. I was telling Hear H just yesterday that God gave me the green light to clear the clutter ( even the non-physical stuff). I’ve been hanging on to toys, clothes, gadgets, BOOKS, for irrational emotional baseless reasons. The other night a sense of peace and acceptance with parting with my stuff came over me, and I’m starting in on it.

    It’s going to take a while, and some things are definitely staying, like the lovely pottery my husband bought me on our honeymoon that only occasionally serves a purpose beyond decoration, because it’s pretty, and I love the memories attached to it.

    But gadgets? Appliances I don’t use (hello ice cream maker!), clothes I will never be small enough to wear again? Kids umpteen piles of nonused or never worn items? Gone. Some is really high quality and I can sell it, but I’ll donate the rest. I don’t need White Box Minimalism here but my sanity is suffering under these piles of miscellany.

    Please send your prayers up that Mr. GTTF can part with some of his tshirt collection, and the old jeans he keeps saving for work around the house but are never worn for any purpose…πŸ™ƒ

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  6. I have a friend who’s mother passed away a couple years ago. We went to clean the stuff out of her house and to say she was a hoarder is an understatement. She had five coffee makers and three crock pots, and none of them worked. She just couldn’t bear to throw anything away, even after it broke. It was at least a year for him and his brother to clean everything out. They’ll probably just doze the house and sell the lot. Sad thing is, my friend is the exact same way. He still has a TV that quit working 15 years (!) ago sitting in the garage.

    A corollary to the “bargain” idea is buying things with coupons. I had an old gf whom I could not convince that she wasn’t saving money just because she had a coupon. “But we saved $20.” Yes, but you would have never bought it to begin with if it weren’t for the coupon. That’s how they get you. Some people just aren’t good at money.

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  7. Welcome Eduardo!

    I can relate to your comment. My late grandmother kept a lot of stuff too. And my husband constantly struggles with my FIL about this as well.

    The thing about keeping a lot of useless stuff is that not only does the stuff take up space, it damages the space that it’s taking up.

    You’re right about the coupons, too.

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  8. I don’t need White Box Minimalism here but my sanity is suffering under these piles of miscellany.

    It is mentally taxing, I agree.

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  9. Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful – William Morris

    So much easier said than done, but I agree.

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  10. Let the kids play along and learn job skills!

    Now Bike, how many times have you read me say I’m not the most patient mother, LOL?

    I suppose I could view it as an opportunity to grow…

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  11. You’re not the only parent who struggles with patience….I looked at one such person while shaving this morning! :^)

    One additional note; the bane of corporate 5S programs is when the consultant comes in and throws out everything that isn’t being used at that time without asking the guys why it’s there. The week after he leaves, all the workers go into the red tag room and retrieve their treasures unless prevented from doing so by management.

    Application for home; you’ve got to make sure you understand why things are in a place, and then get “buy-in” from those who will be affected. If you want to get rid of the Cuisinart, make sure the knives are in good shape. Want to get rid of those old Teflon pans? Are the pans you’ll have better? That kind of thing.

    Then your key is to remind people constantly how nice things are now that we don’t have piles of junk all over–that’s the final S for “sustain”.

    My family’s biggest struggle is that when it comes time to move family treasures to the next generation, I’m the only one within 500 miles with a stable family life. Hence we get a lot of things that we can’t easily get rid of–so a lot of it will become wedding presents to our kids, I think.

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  12. Hearthie: :^). Our trouble is that my ancestors and relatives had/have good taste, so it’s beautiful, useful, memorable, and valuable. They just got a lot of it and didn’t have a lot of kids with stable family lives. Hence it’s piling up a bit at my house.

    But on that note, one of the best ways to make simplification stick is,again, when the cheap junk you were using is replaced by something worth using. So I think that while we’re using a little space for these things, it’s got a long term benefit far greater than its monetary value.

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  13. The hoarding habit is a product of the depression. During the depression, people wouldn’t throw away anything that might someday be useful because they may not have the money to buy what they needed later on. My grandmother was a hoarder just as described above.

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  14. I think that is a big part of it; being raised during the Depression. Although my father was a child during that time and he hated storing up a lot of stuff. He thought it made far more sense to save money.

    His wife of 35 years who is, 20+ years his junior and a boomer, however, is quite the “collector”, LOL.

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  15. Regarding stuff and the Depression, it strikes me that while people would save things because they might need them later, they were living in very small houses–a typical tenement flat was about 300-400 square feet, and my grandparents’ brick bungalow in suburban Chicago started out as about 800 square feet with an attic and a basement, the latter of which was mostly used for storing coal for the furnace. So keeping the tons of stuff my pickup carries when it’s asked to help people move was simply not an option for them. Even farmhouses of the day were often about 1200 square feet or so.

    So my guess is that the serious hoarding of stuff started in the 1950s when average home sizes roughly doubled to 1500 sf. or so and people got two car garages and the like, and higher incomes made it possible to buy more stuff. They simply couldn’t afford it prior to that.

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  16. Some (serious) hoarding is a mental illness, apparently there is a problem in the area of the brain where you make decisions. (I have an aunt who is a scary-level hoarder, so I looked up a lot of info on the issue). We have a lot more decisions to make now, and a lot less in the way of “this is how you do things”.

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  17. Thinking about your Mother’s Day post on your Rose Garden blog, Hearth. Is it my imagination, or does your daughter look more like your husband? I don’t really see her in the pics you posted of your grandmothers. Not the way I see you in the one.

    Speaking of husbands, we’re already working on Father’s Day around here and since I know that even when the man does take a cursory click here he can’t be bothered to read comments, I will say that we have something planned that he will like.

    Yesterday, at my mom’s house, there was a discussion of who looked like who. One of my twins was looking stunning in this, and my mom said she looked exactly like me as a young woman.

    She followed up by saying that Bright Eyes looks exactly like my husband, to which the twin joked at her, ‘Oh, I’m sorry for you.”

    Bright Eyes, who has never been particularly confident about her looks responded with, “What? I know better. If I look like Daddy then I must look pretty good.” They all know there is broad consensus, even from strangers, about how handsome their father is.

    That’s when I showed her your pics. It is kind of neat to see the extension of the generations physically represented in our kids.

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  18. Have I mentioned that the slimmer of your twins should look into Ulyana S? Very modest (except for the sheer) and trendy. Bright Eyes is lovely … and yes, she looks a bit more like your husband than you.

    Yes, my daughter looks very much like her father and DH’s side of the family generally, including the figure. There are any number of his cousins/cousin’s kids with figures like 12yo’s, including our niece.

    Our son looks like an odd blend of my father and my cousin T (aka much more like me), but he has long arms and legs from DH.

    I’ll assault you with more pix, lol. I have to spend most of my day sitting ANYWAY and I’m bored out of my mind.

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  19. I will tell her about that line. I was apprehensive about the coloring in that particular dress but she looks amazing in it. I am pretty sure the lipstick choice helps tie it. Will show you later. Not posting her face here.

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  20. I just realized that all the mother’s day comments I replied to you with were posted in the wrong thread, and WordPress doesn’t have a way for me to move them to the right thread without upgrading to Business, LOL. Oh, well.

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  21. I sad but emphatic second to what Hearthie says about hoarding being related to mental illness. Now I’m not enough of an expert on DSM to tell you whether it’s the illness or a symptom of something else, but (and I write this as the relative of some who hoard pretty badly) apparently sometimes, all of that stuff is something of a security blanket,and if it’s removed without the person making peace with it being gone, it can lead to all kinds of self-harm, up to and including suicide.

    I’ve been wanting to help one such hoarder for years, but this has kept my mouth shut. I’d much rather end up dealing with the mess when that relative passes on than cause my relative to pass on sooner by removing it.

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  22. If you have a scary-hoarder, may I suggest you get them to keep the real valuables somewhere together, sensible, and accessible? However you get them to do that, it will be helpful later, especially if it’s shovel time.

    Experience speaking.

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  23. I have a close relative who had a hoarding issue. Still does, but a divorce after 45 years of marriage and subsequently living out retirement years in an efficiency apartment (her ex took everything), she had to part with her security blanket (that’s an excellent way to describe it).

    A storage shed got too expensive so she had to trash it. Some of it was legit junk, but I get sad when I think of those precious things, not to any anyone else but her, but still, just thrown out. It took her a long time to reckon with it. All of it.

    Like I said upthread, I needed a sign from God Himself that I should part with this stuff. It ain’t easy!

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