Poll

To store for later possible use or to throw it away?

Is it good to keep stuff in storage in case it can be repurposed later saving money from having to buy something again or something new?
9 (22.5%)
Or is it good to just get rid of stuff and just buy it again if needed?
31 (77.5%)

Total Members Voted: 36

Author Topic: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It  (Read 7513 times)

FarmFam

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Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« on: December 12, 2014, 04:58:50 PM »
I am having a dilemma on deciding if this is mustachian or not. 

I have "stuff" that I don't need to use at this moment. It is taking up space to store.  Having this stuff around taking space and not using it makes me feel stressed.  I would like to just get rid of it. However, at the same time, it also stresses me to think that at another time I may need it and if I throw it away I will spend more money to buy it again. This happened recently, I had a ton of buttons and was thinking of throwing them away but decided to keep them and last month used them to make Christmas ornaments.  I also sometimes go into my storage and find things to repurpose for storage of "useful" stuff in the house.

So, since I am split equally both ways, maybe you all can help me decide. 

Is it good to keep stuff in storage in case it can be repurposed later saving money from having to buy something again or something new?  Or is it good to just get rid of stuff and just buy it again if needed?

Thanks.

Btw, Pinterest has been great in giving me repurpose ideas.

sheepstache

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2014, 05:10:04 PM »
There are a lot of minimalists here who will tell you to get rid of stuff. I am not one of them. But you say that it stresses you out to have the stuff. If it's all stuff like buttons, that's a minor savings that doesn't seem worth the stress, to me. And don't forget you're spending money on storing it because you could potentially live in a smaller space if you didn't have it.

gt7152b

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 05:33:41 PM »
I face this dilemma all the time. I love keeping things around that I think I'll use one day and I do end up making use of my hoard on occasion. On the other hand we've been trying to get our stuff down to manageable levels to prepare for a future move and house downsize. I find it's best to prioritize my stuff so that I get rid of the most reasonable stuff first. If it's bulky, valuable, and less likely for me to use it for a long time it goes high on the list. We had a good round of de- cluttering this fall but have run out of steam now. We should really get a new list going and keep purging because if I had to move next week I wouldn't want to take everything I have now. It helps me to sell a few things so I'm not "wasting" it and donate some things because it's quick and easy. 

ketchup

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 05:38:36 PM »
I remember reading a decent rule of thumb for decluttering:  If you can replace it in less than 20 minutes for less than 20 dollars, pitch it.  So anything unique or expensive can get to stay, but cheap replaceable stuff goes away.  Every time I do a declutter of any kind, I get worried I'll "miss" something I get rid of.  99% of the time, I forget I ever had it, and life goes on.

Cookie78

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 05:42:37 PM »
This is a hard call for me too. So far I've just started with things I have multiples of (like two dozen baseball caps!) and things I haven't used in 5 years. Hopefully I'll be able to get rid of more stuff once I'm done the easy step! It stresses me out having all the stuff around too, especially when I think about wanting to move in the future.

Eric

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2014, 05:47:45 PM »
I certainly hope that by "keeping stuff in storage" you don't mean that you're paying actual money for a storage unit.

pagoconcheques

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2014, 06:12:41 PM »
I'm all for de-cluttering.  I personally make exceptions for hand tools and raw materials.  I know I have more pliers than I need, but they all fit in one drawer of my tool chest and there are those situations  where only one suits the problem.  I also keep things like lengths of 2x4 and 2x6 lumber, etc.  Around here they are consumables that have a relatively long consumption cycle (one might sit for years), but they take up little of the space I have and I don't have to go out and get one when I just need a few feet of 2x4. 

Retired To Win

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2014, 06:21:12 PM »
This is a big, BIG fault of ours.  We have a basement full of shelves full of stuff, plus a large outbuilding in the same state.  Over 200 boxes of stuff.  Plus loose, bigger stuff.  And it just lingers.

A few months back, this bothered me so much that I wrote a post titled "Packrating Costs Me Plenty."  But I still haven't done anything about it.

(BAD Retired To Win!)

DarinC

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2014, 06:24:58 PM »
Like everyone else said, it depends on the costs of storage.

Catbert

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2014, 06:42:50 PM »
I keep a lot of things - as long as I have room to neatly store them in my house and use them often enough that I'll remember that I have them.  I know where my jar of buttons are and will continue to keep them.

However, if you're paying for storage space or renting a larger place so you have plenty of storage space then, get rid of that junk!

BZB

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2014, 07:05:12 PM »
I trend towards a minimalist mindset so I voted to get rid of stuff. I value space and clear surfaces over lots of stuff. There have not been many things I regret getting rid of. One was a basic black dress I thought I would never fit in again after having a baby, but a year later I wished I had that dress. Now I have a replacement, given to me as a birthday gift.

10dollarsatatime

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2014, 07:09:43 PM »
I'm trying to get rid of "stuff".  It's a slow process for me.  I'm a packrat and getting rid of stuff that might come in handy one day causes me stress.  But I'm getting better.  Eventually I'll have that back room reclaimed...

TerriM

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2014, 09:08:57 PM »
I remember reading a decent rule of thumb for decluttering:  If you can replace it in less than 20 minutes for less than 20 dollars, pitch it.  So anything unique or expensive can get to stay, but cheap replaceable stuff goes away.  Every time I do a declutter of any kind, I get worried I'll "miss" something I get rid of.  99% of the time, I forget I ever had it, and life goes on.

Good rule.

I am a packrat for two reasons:
1.  I have gotten rid of things and regretted it, and I am not generally selling them on craiglist, so it was money out my pocket.
2.  I don't like paying full price for things I need right away, but had before or found in the trash or found for $1 at a garage sale.

I go with my gut feeling.  It is frequently right even when I don't understand the reasons.  However, I think storing things in an attic or garage is very different from storing things in pay-by-the-month storage.  While i think there's a basic cost tradeoff there (if you can rent a house without a garage plus a storage unit for cheaper than with garage, it might make sense to do), I think it feels worse to pay explicitly for storing the items.

The thing I regret most was passing up a couple hundred dollars of Lego Technix gears, axles and stuff being discarded (i.e. FREE) by a robotics lab.  Because now I've paid that couple hundred of dollars for less than that and the whole thing would've been a small box in my garage.  Should've followed my instinct which said "Yes, i have a one year old boy, but in 10 years he might want them."

Knapptyme

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2014, 09:39:58 PM »
I'm all for de-cluttering.  I personally make exceptions for hand tools and raw materials.

Wonderfully put. While someone else can make other rules for exceptions of their own, this is spot on for me. I'll even go so far as to pick up free raw materials on Craigslist that I don't need at the moment because I value them as resources for future projects I have yet to think up. Plus, extra hand tools are great when tools are shared and/or broken at the cost of minimal storage space.

As for everything else, get rid of it. The hardest stuff to get rid of (usually tokens of a memory) need to go. Take a picture and move on with your space. My wife repurposes our old clothes into shirts and pants for our toddler. Scraps become dog toys and are eventually tossed. It's a healthy cycle of use.

woodnut

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2014, 10:09:36 PM »
William Morris, a key contributor of the British Arts and Crafts movement of the late 1800's, had a quote that I try to call upon when I'm deciding whether to keep something.  "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".  The key for for me is the "know" to be useful, not "might" be useful.  My default behavior is to be a pack rat.  Using this approach I tend to be less pack rat like.

The wife is one of the few things that meets both criteria. I think I'll keep her. :)

Rural

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2014, 03:34:35 AM »
I'm on the keep it side, in part because of the literal thousands of dollars we shaved off our house build by reusing materials my husband and father had kept, and, no doubt, in part because we have a barn to store tools and supplies (a barn, I should mention, that's roofed in 30-year old tin my father kept in his barn until a need arose).


It depends on your lifestyle and your space. Don't pay for storage, but buttons, for example, are small and easy to store. Plus they run about $4-5 for six of the things, new, plus then you've put all that into landfills and then still contributed to pollution and waste when you buy new ones.


That landfill-pollution-waste cycle applies to everything. Consider your circumstances, but I voted for saving what you can, especially since you seem to use, not hoard, based on your button ornaments.

Dee18

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2014, 06:36:08 AM »
A few years ago I had an antique nut grinder.  I used it rarely so I donated it to a charity thrift store.  A bit later, a friend mentioned how much she wanted a nut grinder like her mother had owned.  I found one for her ebay for $10 in less than 10 minutes.  She was thrilled with the gift I gave her her...and I decided to think of ebay as my long term storage.  You really can replace almost anything from ebay. 

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2014, 08:54:20 AM »
The only time I've paid for storage was in between moving from one house to another...and it FROSTED me to write that check!

That said, I have way, way, way too much stuff. I think like someone said above, if it's a cheap, easy to replace item I'd let it go in a heartbeat.

It's the "given to me by my Uncle Bob when I was 11" stuff that will probably end up in a box here for a while longer, damn it.

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2014, 09:06:50 AM »
The only thing I have ever regretted purging was a crock pot.

Why the fuck did I get rid of my crock pot?

It can be quickly and easily replaced, but I haven't bothered yet. All of my crock poteals can be made in a dutch over on the stove or in the oven. Its messier to clean than a crock pot and cooks faster, but I'm a stay at home mom and its not like I am ever gone from the house long enough to NEED a crock pot. But still, I wish I still had it.

The hundreds of books I've carted around for a decade? Don't miss them.

The T-shirt quilts I started but never finished? Nope, glad to be rid of the burden.

The ugly antique glassware from my FIL? No way. Glad they are gone.


m8547

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2014, 09:25:27 AM »
The only time I've paid for storage was in between moving from one house to another...and it FROSTED me to write that check!

That said, I have way, way, way too much stuff. I think like someone said above, if it's a cheap, easy to replace item I'd let it go in a heartbeat.

It's the "given to me by my Uncle Bob when I was 11" stuff that will probably end up in a box here for a while longer, damn it.

Storage cost is harder to quantify than that. Could you have moved to a smaller house if you had less stuff? The cost of a bigger place could be huge. Maybe it would have saved cost or effort of actually moving the stuff. Or maybe you could repurpose the space for something more useful.

When I lived in an apartment, they offered individual garages for something like $100 a month. That seems insane for a place to park a car, but if you were to use it as storage space and move into a smaller apartment, that would save a lot more than $100 a month. Storage units are generally cheaper than that, but less convenient since you don't have easy access to the stuff.

The biggest reasons that I don't get rid of a lot of stuff are:
1. I hate throwing anything away, but it's often hard to find someone who can make good use of stuff. I sell what I can, but that takes some effort, and it's a hassle to try to give stuff away on Craigslist (I generally can't just leave stuff by the curb).
2. I have a lot of stuff that has relatively little value, but it would be difficult or expensive to replace if I needed it. For example, I keep a small collection of electronic cables purchased online for about a dollar each. Things like network, VGA, audio, etc. If I needed any of them in a store I would have to pay $10-20 each. I also have things like old computer parts that I've scavenged, weird raw materials like small sheets of plastic and foam that are not sold locally, spare bike parts obtained at a discount that I will use eventually, etc.

dcheesi

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2014, 09:37:45 AM »
I'd say it depends in part on what it is and how well it's organized. If *know* you have it, and/or can find it easily when need arises, then it might be worth keeping. But in my own de-cluttering endeavors, I've often found things that could have been useful, but when I needed them I either couldn't find them or had forgotten that I even had them. In fact I'd say I've had more of those experiences than the opposite (needing something I already got rid of).

soccerluvof4

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2014, 10:23:46 AM »
I marked get rid of it because i hate clutter BUT i think the question is to black and white. Depends on alot of things and if you rarely use it or could you rent it.  I think people can convince themselves that they will use everything again some time and then end up with piles of junk.  Being honest with yourself is the key though sometimes can be a tough thing to do.

Breaker

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2014, 10:55:04 AM »
I'm with you Farm Girl.  I don't pay for storage but still have way to much stuff.  I don't get rid of it because in my mind I might need it someday.  OTOH, I'm like another poster and often can't find things that I need and end up buying a new one anyway.  Then again, I always keep spare Sprinkler heads and pvc connectors, I don't want to have to run to the store when there is a leak.  I do make use of those. 

What I have done is try to throw away some stuff when I run across it.  I keep a donation bag in the bottom of my closet and will immediately toss clothes into it if I see something that I know I won't wear again.  For me that is easier than setting aside time to really go thru the closet.

In the long run, I will be happier when I have less stuff around.  For one thing I will be able to find the stuff that I need without having to search as long.  For another my house will look tidier.

So far I have only donated stuff to my local charity shop but I am listing a couple of things on Freecycle today to see how that goes.  I may also put some Cross Country skis on Craig's list. 

I would suggest that you pick the easiest stuff to toss first and that will help you clear a bit of space.  The second time you go through the same stuff you will be able to get rid of even more.

This thread has inspired me to go through another corner of a closet or perhaps clear off the desk in my home office and one way or another get rid of more stuff. 

FarmFam

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2014, 12:41:38 PM »
Thanks for all the responses. 

It seems like the best answer may be that it depends on the item.

But to answer a question about my situation and to be more specific, I don't pay for storage and never would.  I don't think that is a good use of money.  We have a permanent tent for wood where we store wood.  We have a detached garage with an attic that we use for storage.  The problem is that our last house was all organized.  Everything had a home.  But in this new house, we are still getting things organized and our garage is full of stuff and I can't put my car in.  My biggest desire is to be able to put my car in the garage.  The paint on it is getting faded and the interior can get damaged by the sun and heat.

If everything had a place and I can put my car in the garage, it would make me happy and I wouldn't even care that I have stuff as long as it is put away in its rightful place and doesn't take up space that is "needed".

So, after all the feedback and thinking more about it, my next step should be to create some rules that I can follow to make a decision on "keep it" or "purge it".  And I think my previous paragraph laid out the rules pretty well. 

Rule:

If it can have a home and not take up needed space, it can stay; otherwise, it is time to put it to use, sell it, recycle it, or give it away.  However, if it is something that cannot be repurposed or ever used again it must go as well.

Does this sound like a good rule? Or can it be improved upon?

TerriM

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2014, 01:37:13 PM »
things organized and our garage is full of stuff and I can't put my car in.  My biggest desire is to be able to put my car in the garage.  The paint on it is getting faded and the interior can get damaged by the sun and heat.

If everything had a place and I can put my car in the garage, it would make me happy and I wouldn't even care that I have stuff as long as it is put away in its rightful place and doesn't take up space that is "needed".

Sounds like you're asking car vs. stuff in the garage.  If your car is getting damaged, there might be an argument for getting rid of stuff.  What about putting up a tent for the car  over the driveway though?


Our two car garage is completely filled with stuff.  It is not organized because of a move and because we don't have enough shelves/storage.  If it were organized, it would be much better, and I'd be able to pare down things we have duplicates of (such as extension cords).  I consider us "cheap" when it comes to buying furniture--furniture is required for organization, but we have never prioritized buying it.    We were in shock just buying bunk beds for our kids, yet it was clearly a worthwhile purchase.

Once we moved all the boxes out of the garage to try to organize it a little and pulled the car in.  Took pictures, had a great laugh, pulled the car out and tried to reorg the boxes. :)

MacBury

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Re: Keeping Stuff Or Get Rid of It
« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2014, 06:16:01 PM »
Don't get rid of it keep. This is evolution. We hoard for lean times. Minimalists died out. Hoarding is a buffer, optionality against an uncertain future. Survival.

Don't fight it. Contain it.