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Packrating is Costing Me Plenty

April 30th, 2014 at 04:52 pm

The office chair I replaced last year. The sofa we have no place for. The box of pants too big for me. The bin of extra cast iron skillets we are never going to use. And lots more. At last count, over 200 boxes and 31 pieces of furniture occupy our two-car garage and our 400-square-foot outbuilding. Here is what they are costing me -- and what I should do about it.

I cannot set up my workshop. That is what one half of the garage is supposed to be. But there is just no room. My table saws and workbenches are jammed into a corner and inaccessible. There isn't one clear working surface in the whole place. All those pieces of unwanted and unneeded furniture have taken over.

We cannot put our outbuilding to good use. It is a spacious 20 x 20 foot metal building with an overhead door. It could become part pottery studio, part astronomy station, part hiking hangout, part something else. But not until and unless we stop using it as storage for those 200-plus boxes.

We cannot make ourselves throw the stuff away. That office chair might sell for 20 bucks. Some of those pants still have their tags. Cast iron skillets go for $10 and up each at second-hand stores. Almost all of it could be worth some money. And even though we do not need the money -- and could even say we might never use the money* -- we cannot make ourselves throw or give the stuff away. It would be unfrugal, I say. It would be a big waste, she says. And so the stuff remains -- and we do not get to use our spaces as we would prefer.

Sell, donate, discard. The solution is obvious. But neither of us is putting in the time or effort to make it happen. Yet it has to be done if we are ever to reclaim our spaces. So I am going to apply my time planning (obsessive) habit** to the problem and chip away at "the pile" one box at a time, one furniture item at a time.

I am going public to make myself accountable. I am going to set up a page on my blog sidebar where I will keep a countdown list of the stuff and document my decluttering progress -- or lack of it -- on a weekly basis. And I will do a weekly forum post where I will make sure I keep this out in the open for other people to cheer me on or slap me upside the head if need be.

One way or another, I am going to lick this. I have to.

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* Making Sure I Spend That Money!:
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** Making Time For Fun:
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6 Responses to “Packrating is Costing Me Plenty”

  1. Buendia Says:

    I understand... I have been consciously decluttering over the past few years. There is still stuff left. I love the idea of keeping a countdown on the sidebar!

  2. snafu Says:

    Summer is a wonderful time to take photos and write up ads for CraigsList/Kijjiji/ Buy 'n Sell online in your community. The fact is the money was spent, it's not coming back no matter how long you keep stuff you don't use.

    Clothes, even those with tags don't sell well here but likely area specific. I suggest taking a box of pants to a consignment store. You won't get much but better the taking up space and preventing enjoyment of otherwise useable space. You could hold a yard sale along with neighbours to bring more traffic. Be ready for people to offer disparaging remarks and offer a dollar or two for pricey items. You need a super sense of humor, lots of smiles and reparte. I just dished out compliments to get them to open their wallets.

    Hope you carry out your plan and tack back useable space

  3. My English Castle Says:

    We used to have a decluttering forum going; it might be worth it to start it up again. This from the woman who just recycled two bags of paper and has bags at the front door for Easter Seals. I need it gone.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Oh just think how great it will be to get those tools out again! The cast iron skillets will likely fly out your door once posted on a selling forum like Craigslist. And just think that it would be better to get those pants in to the hands of someone who needs that size. They will be thrilled that some are new with tags. If you wait too long some mouse might set up camp on those pants and then who cares if there is a tag still on them!!

    You can do this and one box at a time sounds like a plan. If it takes all summer so bet it, but you won't regret one item you let go of it if it gets back your space for a useful purpose.

  5. Rachael777 Says:

    I like reading your blog.. keep it up. Smile

  6. Retired To Win Says:

    creditcardfree Says:

    "... You can do this and one box at a time sounds like a plan. If it takes all summer so bet it, but you won't regret one item you let go of it if it gets back your space for a useful purpose."

    The good news is that I emptied out 6 boxes yesterday. The bad news is that I have not finished the accumulation phase because I still have a boatload of stuff to move over from our now-vacant previous house. And that is also why I have not put up the "decluttering countdown page" on my sidebar: I do not have a final box number from which to start the countdown.

    Oh, well...

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