Crafts are my passion, Cats are my obsession

My crafting adventures, my cats, my dogs, my opinons - I never did keep a diary as a child, but I'm doing it now!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The difference

So, yesterday, I was thinking about writing this post, as it kind of relates to my post from the other day about my kitchen, and I was going to whine about the hour change in today's post, since it was a more "timely" issue (sorry, I had to do it!)  But, things turned out the way they should - I got notification of two comments to my kitchen counter posts.  (and might just get one for this post, but we'll see)   They arrived in my inbox one minute apart.  Both were from "Anonymous".  Both had the exact same wording.  And both contained a link to a commercial website.  Now, I don't mind doing some free advertising for a place I have been to, and would recommend to anyone anyway.  But I don't like to be a vehicle for free advertising through the blog comments for someone else.

I did have this sort of happen before, when I talked about mild dyslexia, but that wasn't really going to benefit the person financially, as near as I could figure... (I hope it didn't, though the person did take the time to post, not to use a robot, like the current comments must have been).  But this one wasn't even directed at the topic of the post, not really.  The comments stated that "that is why" granite counter tops are so durable.  And then provided the link to the site to buy them from.  Now, seriously - granite counter tops are durable because I have no real counter space?   Heck, by that reasoning, **ANY** counter top would be durable, since I have no counters, I don't use them much!!! 

So, those comments will not be approved.  I don't mind the "anonymous" part - I have a couple friends whose comments come under the anonymous identity, but I can tell who they are.  Even if I can't tell, I don't mind much if the comment is well presented.  But if you take a shot at me, under cover of anonymity, you won't be approved.  You can disagree with me, but don't attack me.  (I have one hanging out in moderation that did that - the person disagreed with me, and I was planning to paraphrase what was said, and deal with it in a post, but just never got around to doing so.  The person posted the disagreements in a very rude and insulting manner - which will *not* get posted)

Anyway, on to today's topic.  The difference. 

I have a lot of stuff.  I know that. I have more stuff than I have room to keep it.  Therefore, I try to weed out what I don't use, or what I won't use.  But, I am not very good at organizing things. It took me years to come up with a workable cheese storage system.  I'd try something, but it either didn't keep the cheese properly, or it wasn't conducive to continued use.  (have you ever put something in one spot, thinking that was the best spot, but for some reason, it would be put anywhere else *but* that spot?  In other words, it couldn't have been the best spot, since it is not intuitive to use that spot)

I am a pack rat.  I keep things, thinking I might need them, or might find a use for them, or they are too good to throw away, or it was a gift, or.... the list of reasons/excuses to hang on to things can go on forever, and some reasons/excuses are flimsy, while others are more solid.  I do hate to dispose of something that someone could use.  Charity thrift stores, like the Salvation Army Thrift Stores, have been a blessing to me.  Anything that I've been hanging onto that has some life left in it, but I really don't need or even want, honestly, has been boxed up and sent off to Sally Ann.  I particularly like to send to them, because they resell at a reasonable price, helping those who can't afford much.  They also give to people who have lost all in fires, floods, or other need.  And they do amazing things with the money raised by reselling goods.

I also donate some items for the garage sale and thrift store operated by the shelter that my beloved Delko came from. 

And I've started donating the less than perfect condition things but still useful for repurposing to either a freecycle group, or to a place that takes craft and art supplies as well as unusual items/objects and provides them to schools and local artists free. 

So, I do admit I'm a pack rat, that I have too much of some things that I have difficulty parting with, and I am useless at organization. 

However, I'm not a hoarder.  That is something that I am afraid I might become.  When I watch those TV shows about hoarding, I worry about some of the stuff I am keeping/hanging on to/packratting away.  But then I remember that I do give things away, I do throw things away, and I only keep useful stuff.  And I use my stuff. 

That last bit is the one thing that separates me from what I consider a hoarder to be.  I am quite sure my mother was a hoarder.  And I know I learned to be a pack rat from her.  I wonder if there is also genetics involved.... But either way, I don't consider myself to be as bad as my mother.  (No judgements, really, she had events in her life that resulted in some of the behaviour, and I've had some events that cause me to worry I could become a hoarder ala TV if I'm not careful). 

My definition of a hoarder involves not just the keeping of things, but the not using of things, and not letting others use or touch your stuff.  I do get a bit possessive at times - I've had losses in my life that cause me sometimes to hold onto things a little too tightly.  But I can often, given a bit of time to settle down from the knee-jerk emotional reaction, catch myself and correct the incident.  However, I do use the stuff I save - that is why I saved it, after all, and I use the stuff I want to keep.  My mother often wouldn't use her things, because if she used them, she might not be able to replace them.  This came about from living through war-time rationing - you only got a little bit of some things, and you made them last, because you didn't know when or if  you would get them again.  But I think something snapped at some point in her life, and she started carrying it to the extreme.  For a period of time, one of the grocery stores was offering a deal - if you spent so much in groceries, you could buy a pound of butter at a lower cost.  Now, this wasn't a limited time offer or anything, this was ongoing for quite some time.  Butter was not cheap, and was definitely something rationed during wartime.  So, my mother would buy the butter... (I am not young, but I'm not that old - we're talking over 20 years after the war).  The next week's grocery shopping, and she could get another cheap butter... We had one shelf in the fridge that had butter stacked two high, two rows deep, for the width of the fridge.  I do not know why we didn't use the butter - or maybe we did, but it seems to have been replaced a lot faster than it was used.

After my father died, my mother had to find a job.  She did, as a barmaid/waitress.  Back then, she had to wear a uniform for work.  She managed to find, at some point, some kleenex/facial tissue that was in a colour that matched her uniform colours.  Health and age finally put an end to that job.  Many years later, she moved out of her house into a senior apartment.  My husband, son and I moved into the house.  Because she had downsized, she had left a lot of excess furniture, dishes, etc.(btw - I am the youngest of five, and while I'm not talking enough furniture for the whole family, there were some leftovers) and some of her hoarded and packratted stuff.  I was to sort through a lot of it and either take her what she wanted/needed, use what I could, or store the rest until she could figure out what to do with it.  One day, not long after moving in, my son had a cold/flu.  We needed to use tissues... and one of the things I did to entertain him while he was feeling miserable was to show him how to make flowers from tissue - accordion folding them.  Now, I was using my own tissues for him to blow his nose, etc.  They were white.  Coloured facial tissue seem to be a thing of the past.  I came across this box of gold coloured tissues, and decided to make the flowers.... I mentioned it in a phone call to my mother, and she freaked out.  It was so hard for her to find that colour to match her uniform yada yada yada.... Next trip of things to go to her new place MUST include any and all boxes of the gold tissue.........

I am not a hoarder.  I use my stuff.  If I don't, even if I've packratted it away *in case* I need it, I evaluate the excess and pass it on to some one who *can* use it or *needs* it.    Yes, that evaluation process is the ongoing internal personal fight to make sure I never do become the hoarder that may be in my genes, or may have been taught to me in my upbringing.

I have a lot of spices on that counter, but I use them.  I buy extra bottles of the spices that on brand came out with called "limited edition" if they are ones I like.  But I know, that things like spices go bad if you buy them but don't use them.  (another of my mother's hoarding side effects - you keep something long enough and refuse to use it, it will eventually go bad and need to be thrown out, so where's the saving in that?  I really can't stand that sort of wastefulness).  Does that make me a hoarder?  I don't think so - I mean, I don't go into panic mode if the spice is discontinued - I get disappointed when it is gone, sure, but I find a substitute.  For example, right now, the brand of spice I like still make one combination that, according to their website still exists, but the stores near me (I've checked several) are no longer carrying it in favour of the newer ones - including a past "limited edition" that is being offered as a regular now :).  Am I going to hoard away and not use the about one or two tablespoons I have left?  No, that would be silly.  I like the spice (Sweet Chili and Peppers, if anyone is interested) so why would I stop using it?  Sure, I might miss it when it is gone, but hey -- I've got a few new ones to try, and the past limited edition that I can now get again regularly. 

So, that to me is the difference.  Whether or not the stuff I have is useful, used, wanted, needed,  or just held onto for the sake of keeping it. 

And I don't count holding onto recyclables for an extra week if the blue box happens to be too full one week for all of it.... I make a neat pile beside the blue box, and as soon as it gets emptied, I put the pile into the box for the next week's collection day. 


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