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Thursday, January 9, 2014

In Praise of Hoarding

Like many others, I am engaged in my perpetual New Year's resolution task: decluttering. I may have a worse than average clutter problem, perhaps because I am the child of a crazed thrower-outer, who got rid of many things I wanted, including a Steinway grand piano (this was not thrown out, of course). And another perhaps: maybe my mother's over-active discarding explains my love of thrift stores, from which I can rescue the unloved and unappreciated. After seeing a thick vintage cashmere cardigan languishing at Goodwill for a month because it has a small hole at the wrist, I feel called upon to provide a home. In fact, I am wearing this sweater right now; it has been a good friend in our unusual bitter cold the last few days.

Of course, I can't keep every slightly damaged item that comes my way. Still, I was glad of my hoarding instincts a few times this past year. And I should honor a few wonderful things.

To wit: the Lands' End down jacket that I lent Mr C as he went off to visit Miss Em in Serbia. I also gave him some wool underwear and some heavy gloves. And a suitcase. He is a med student living on loans, so any bit of savings is, I am sure, much appreciated.

Frugal Son is living in a New Orleans raised house with high--14 foot--ceilings. That makes for expensive heating! Thanks to the thrift store, I was able to supplement his blanket with a lovely second down comforter (and don't tell me about bed bugs! you can machine wash and dry down). Not only that, but his roommate requested a down comforter and I found a king-sized one the very next day!

If you go to thrift stores during a cold snap, you will find bare cupboards: there are a few ratty coats, ugly sweaters, and so on. I know. I saw.

But if--like a squirrel in a cold climate--you look for things you MIGHT need and that would be VERY EXPENSIVE to buy for short uses, well, hoarding may be the way to go.

Back to decluttering! Wish me luck this time


Frakers said...

Dear Frugal,

I found your blog last year and read all the way back to the beginning. With a faculty-father who shared his love of Goodwill and (thankfully!) a mother who shared her love of de-cluttering, I thoroughly enjoy the balance that your bring to your blog and look forward to each installment.

I'm sure there are many of us out here reading happily and never commenting but I wanted to express my appreciation today.

Thank you. Please keep blogging!


Duchesse said...

I doubt that you are truly "hoarding" and wonder if you aren't being a little hard on yourself. Hoarding is to me, accumulating duplicates and vast amounts (supply your own quantity), more than you will ever use.

You are buying speculatively: you sense a need sometime for that wool underwear. This is a kind of 'hoarding lite' pre-hoarding?) True hoarders are accumulate out of fear or compensation, often due to deprivation in formative years.

We also hoard when we become convinced that something will be no longer available... hardly the case with cashmere cardigans or down jackets.

It's a slippery slope though, as hoarders often justify their buying with a 'someday someone might need this' justification that never comes.

Duchesse said...

Sorry lots of typos there but hope you can make sense of it!

The Frugal Shrink said...

Hear, hear!! Unfortunately I seem to hoard the wrong things and declutter the things I end up needing later. ;)

Shelley said...

I'm not sure how well I would unclutter if I wrote in praise of hoarding! My attic is just as full as ever, so I'm not one to talk. I do wonder here in Britain if there may be a shortage of decent clothes at thrifts soon, given the garbage that is sold in the high street these days. I can't be doing with adding more to my stash, though. Knowing I have what I need for the foreseeable future (and I don't tend to buy for others like you do, Bill's children all have far more cash than we do), I'm not excited about getting out in the cold and wet. I 'justify' my hanging on to old clothes just now by using them to make a trial garment before cutting into 'fashion' fabric in my sewing journey.

tess said...

Bedding is wonderful to collect in thrift stores. I found a duvet cover for a couple of dollars while it was still on offer for about 80 in a catalogue. And yes, I've machine washed and machine dried many used down comforters and feather beds. Some of the thicker ones may need additional drying time on a wooden rack in the hot sun. Among other things I squirrel away snowpants and jackets for 2 elementary aged children.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Frakers--Thanks so much! I am beaming!
@Duchesse--Ummmm, I must admit that I have WAY too much stuff. I am more dark side in this area than not...definitely slippery slope.
@Frugal Shrink--I have that problem too.
@Shelley--The population has grown here and with that growth came all sorts of shops. There is an unbelievable amount of nice stuff in the thrifts here. I succumb to temptation way too much.
@tess--I have a few featherbeds--I can't figure out how to fit them in my machine. The quilts fit, but not the beds...

tess said...

We have a frontloading HE machine, it can fit up to a queen sized comforter, it holds about double the amount of a top loading one with an agitator,
so useful!

some things we do take to the Laundromat, like my son's very bulky sleeping bag