mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Trying to slay the pack rat...

I'm a pack rat. I collect junk. It's a habit that I'm trying to break, but I'm not having a whole lot of luck.

I wonder if it's an inherited trait. My mom is much like me, the kind of person who saves everything. I've heard different theories on why some people keep stuff - it makes them feel secure, it takes the place of friends, it's a hedge against poverty.

Part of my problem is that I'm in the crap-resale business. There is truth in the old adage that one man's trash is another man's treasure, and much of what I do on eBay and at hamfests is try to find one man's trash and resell it to someone who treasures it.

And part of it is that this takes up space to store merchandise - plus, if I buy stuff at auction it often means buying lots like "contents of 3 shelves", which often means buying some complete crap to get a good item that's in the lot. That takes space, and getting rid of that stuff is often difficult.

Plus, since I eBay, I save packing materials. I have entire closet full of bubbles, packing peanuts, and brown paper, plus piles of boxes.

Plus, since I like to keep certain computers and the like that I find interesting, and I also try to keep a supply of spare parts, because I can often get them cheap and hate to end up having to pay full price when something fails or I need to test a broken system and I sold all of my spares.

There are a lot reasons I wish I didn't have so much junk. It gets hard to find stuff. I'm constantly having to move stuff to make room for more stuff, to find stuff, to get somewhere. People who visit my house notice the clutter, and it embarrasses me - I find myself closing doors so people don't see my crap (something that my mom was notorious for, as well). If I ever need to move, the more stuff I have the bigger pain it will be. If I ever meet a girl, it's likely to be a stumbling block. And if my house ever catches on fire, I'm likely to be found dead, my charred corpse buried under a collapsed stack of pc cables and size xxl t-shirts.

I'm trying to change. I dragged a ton of stuff to today's hamfest, and am hoping to hit a bunch more and get my stash down by the end of the season. I'm also working to clean up the place where much of my crap is - the basement. I recently hauled the last of my auction-purchased ski boots to the Salvation Army, and plan on making a few more trips to get rid of XXL clothes that no longer fit me and other stuff. I was saving much of this stuff, hoping to eventually yard sale or eBay it, but I'm figuring since it's sat here this long and I haven't, I never will - the longer I keep something, the less likely it is that I will sell it. I'm getting to the point where I'd rather have the space than the money.

I'm trying to hold myself to 1-year rule - if I have something for a year and I haven't used it, it gets sold, donated, or tossed. I know I'll violate this, but hopefully it will get me to get rid of some stuff before I'm completely overrun with crap.

Of course, I could be worse - I have a coworker who is going through the same thing I am, except he is renting 2 storage units to store all his crap. And at today's hamfest, I talked to a guy who mentioned that he has a 10,000 square foot warehouse full of old computers and other stuff he collects, including 400 Electrolux vacuum cleaners. If I ever get to the point where I need to pay to store my crap, I know I'm in trouble.


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