Friday, February 17, 2017

Hoarding

Before I talk about hoarding, I am sorry that I didn't post the last two days. The taxes turned into a day and half adventure. And then yesterday afternoon, I spent 3 and 1/2 hours at the dentist having my crowns and bridge permanently put in. What an ordeal that was and today I feel like someone beat me up. I also woke up with a slight fever this morning which I am sure is a result of all of that dental work yesterday. After the dentist I had one errand to run. By the time I was on the road coming home it was 6pm. I was in no mood to come home and start dinner at that late time so I stopped and picked up submarines with my Subway gift card. After we ate, I went to bed. I was beat!

Now let us get on to the subject of hoarding. I am sure you have all seen the show on TV about hoarding. That show makes me cringe. Because every time I see it or think about it, I think of my stockpile. Having almost a years worth of food makes me wonder if I shopped for the sake of getting a great sale or to actually stockpile what we need in case of an emergency. Then I ask myself how long would that emergency last.

A snowstorm with a power outage could be 2 weeks or more here in the Northeast. A severe earthquake, flood, or other weather catastrophe could last even longer. And then of course, there is always the chance of a foreign country taking down our power grid, a war, the economy collapsing or some other horrible thing that could happen that would take our country a year or more to recover from if ever. These things a lot of preppers prepare for because they want to be prepared for the worst. All of these reasons are valid so people prepare. But I wonder when it turns into an obsession or crosses the line into hoarding.

As I organize my home, I am looking at each and every item with renewed interest. I ask myself does it serve a purpose, have I used it in the past 6 months, is it a duplicate, is it a thing of beauty in my home and do I love it. If any of these questions I answer with a no, the item is either thrown out or donated.

I have found so many pictures from back when the kids were growing up. They are fading so I have asked Hubby to scan them all into the computer and make sure to back them up. We would not want to lose them. I also want to save what is left of them so that they don't deteriorate any further. But we don't need to keep the paper copy.

As I was doing our Federal and State taxes, I had to look for last year's taxes for certain information. While down in the basement looking for the file box they are in, I noticed that we have all of our tax returns and back up information since the year 2000. Now as an accountant I know that it is not necessary to keep them that long. Seven years will suffice. So that is a new project for me to do when I get to organizing the basement.

I am sure that you all have things that you hang onto for sentimental reasons. Something someone gave you that you hated but you don't want to get rid of it because of the person who gave it to you. My Mom is no longer with us but over the last few years of her life she was into making ceramics. She made many of them for us and she was so proud to give them to us. The very last one she made for us was a cactus because we were moving to Arizona. I loved that cactus both because it was beautiful and because she made it for us. Since we have moved back to the Northeast, my decor has changed and I had no place for it. I hung onto it and hung onto it. Then I realized that I was hanging onto the memory so I didn't need the item. I took a picture to store in our computer and then donated it. I have done this with many an item over the years. It's the occasion or memory that I need to keep not the physical object.

How many of us have gift closets and we just keep adding to them. We buy things when they are on clearance or a great sale and then never seem to find the right occasion or person to gift them to. Clean them out and donate what you haven't used for years because you probably won't ever use them. Then vow to never buy something again just in case. Always purchase something that you know the giftee wants and will love. In other words, attach a name to that purchase whether it be for a birthday, Christmas, or another occasion. 

Now back to my food stockpile. Do I really need a year's worth of food or not. It is all starting to look like a lot of clutter to me. Sure I will keep rice, dry beans, flour, oatmeal and water in quantity in case we need to eat. But do I need cans and cans of things especially since we are now mostly eating from scratch. The answer is a resounding no. The only cans that I really need to keep are vegetables, fruits, and some protein like tuna, chicken or turkey to get us through the winter and/or in case of a catastrophe. So we have been and will continue to eat it up which will also save us money on our grocery bills over the next few months. We are also eating down our freezers to not only make room for a 1/4 cow next fall but so that we can freeze some fruits and veggies when they are in season.

As organized as I am, there are areas that I can do better. And I am working on that. I don't want to end up being a hoarder. I don't want my children to have to rent a dumpster to shuck all of the crap out the door when we have passed on. That is my worst nightmare.

Sometimes I think that I am the only person who has this dilemma. Let me know if you struggle with any of this too.

We have always kept our finances pretty organized so that is not an issue. But bringing clutter into the house is. 

I have not asked you to respond to any questions yet and that is because I can't type a question mark on my computer keyboard. Hubby has looked at the problem and he says that it isn't my keyboard because the slash mark works and the cap lock works for other letters and punctuation. If anyone knows what could be causing this let me know. It is getting very annoying. I am tempted to go buy a new keyboard and just see if it corrects the problem. I can always return it if it doesn't.

So please let me know in comments if you struggle with any of this or am I the only one. I hope all of you have a great weekend. 

15 comments:

  1. I am the opposite of you; I only have some frozen chicken, meat, etc. All of my food fits into my kitchen pantry. No stockpiles in the basement or elsewhere. I will buy 2 or 3 of a sale item once in awhile, but honestly, I don't think about preparing for anything. I have lived in Western NY for 28 years, and even with all of our horrible weather, I have never not been able to get to a store for food. I always have enough for a few days. I hate hate hate extra stuff. Now, my basement is cluttered with "stuff" but it belongs to my husband and kids, who no longer live in the area. Our house is the storage unit! Sherri

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    1. Hi Sherri,

      We lived in eastern NY for years. I remember two storms that kept us out of power for days and days. The grocery shelves were bare for a while. I was glad to have extras but I never got a lot. I want to to go back to that.

      I would ask the husband and kids if they want the stuff. If not donate it. When we moved, we told our kids who were on their own or in college that they had a couple weeks to sift through their stuff in the basement or we were getting rid of it. They did and took what they wanted and we got rid of the rest.

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  2. Dear American Dreamer,
    I have the problem opposite to yours. I never stockpile, and sometimes it does disturb me.
    However, I have a lot of clutter at home (mosly presents or some free stuff I am sometimes given) I should get rid of.

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    1. Hi Veronika,

      I need to strike a happy medium on the stockpile. I find getting rid of stuff frees me and makes my life so much less stressful.

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  3. I used to stockpile more than I do now, just have a year supply of rice and flour and that is only so I can buy in bulk to get the lowest price. If things are so bad I can't survive for 30 days without going to the store...likely things are a lot worse than just food. I live in a smaller house than I used to so am very careful only to have a couple extra of each thing and only what won't go bad. Managing a stockpile is serious business to ensure nothing is wasted. I think eating down the stockpile is a good idea in your case.

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    1. Hi Cheapchick,

      I love your stockpile. Thanks, we will be eating it.

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  4. Re. the question mark, it used to be that sometimes my keyboard decided it wanted to be French Canadian and ? would show up as É, but only in some applications (e.g. it always showed as ? in Notepad.) I never figured out what caused it. I probably fat-fingered a shortcut or something. I would check my language settings and set it back to US English and it would be fine again.

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  5. Hi Anonymous,

    I am glad that that worked for you. Nothing seems to be working for me so I am going to get that new keyboard and try that.

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  6. Great tips! I do struggle with keeping sentimental things. I love how you said that it is the occasion or memory that you need to keep, not the physical object. I am trying to get better at this.
    I'm wanting to stockpile more foods..the world is so uncertain these days that I think it would give me some peace of mind.

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  7. I helped my mother move from one house to another several years ago. She lived in a fairly small house. I thought, how bad can it be? Answer, pretty bad. The more we took out, the more there was to take out. It just kept coming and coming and coming. It was exhausting! I decided then I did not want to put our children through that so I've been slowly trying to clear some things out but it's not easy. I like the questions you ask yourself about items. I think that is a good rule of thumb to use.

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    1. Hi olderandwiser,

      Thanks. I think it is always better to declutter now than to let your kids have to do it. We did Hubby's Mom's home and moved her to an apartment and stored a lot of the things that she didn't want to get rid of for years. Then when she died, we brought almost everything to our home. There was so much stuff that she had accumulated in those short years. I remember thinking what a pack rat she was. I don't want my kids to think that about us.

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  8. Have you ever read my post--
    "Hoarding Killed My Best Friend"?
    Go to my blog and search for hoarding.

    I don't see a problem with your grocery stash. You say you now mostly cook from scratch. But, you might be glad to have all that food when you cannot cook. Good post.

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    1. No I haven't but I will go over there now to do it. I agree to an extent but I need to be able to use things before they expire and there are only two of us.

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    2. I am so sorry about your friend. You are right. The hoarding killed him. I watched the Hoarders Show on TV once in a while and I could never understand what caused people to do that. Except for my stockpile in the basement, my house is pretty immaculate. I just can't imagine living like your friend or many other people that you hear about.

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