Being a person who does not like to throw things away would make me a packrat. It can be as simple as random scraps of wood, items that most people have thrown away that can be large or small, and I do rescue things from the trash. Just ask my wife.
Like many packrats I have things I can find, things I can’t find, things I have forgotten I have, and things that are of value only to me.
I like to consider my groups of things as collections, but in reality they are accumulations. If they were organized, they could qualify as a collection, but don’t ask my wife. She would say, “It’s still trash.”
I keep my accumulations scattered around the house, but the best place is in the garage. It has room with lots of space to keep things hanging on the wall which makes locating them much easier.
Things stored in dresser drawers are never seen again until looking for something else.
For some reason my high school class ring has been on my mind and I think I know where to look. If it isn’t there, it is officially lost. It will turn up someday; I just don’t know when.
A couple reasons to never throw anything away are, “I am not done with that yet.” Or “I might need that someday.”
The problem is when the packrat realizes the “someday” is not coming soon and may not arrive in the packrat’s lifetime. Now what does a packrat do?
As I am six months away from age 70, that is where I am at.
I do enjoy my accumulations from books I have been meaning to read, to cameras and lenses that let me pursue my photographic passion to cool transistor radios I lusted after in my younger days.
After that are a couple cars that I seldom, okay, never, drive and my artifacts that go with them. Fortunately, my family knows of their importance so they are safe. The rest of my things I am not sure of their safety, such as my Seiko watches.
So, now I am asking myself when looking at something I am admiring is if this is something that I can do without, despite the temptation to take it home. And, most of the time, I walk away comforting myself with the thought I still have that money in my pocket.
I am applying the brakes on my collecting habit.
And what about the things I already have? A few things have monetary value, but most of my things are of sentimental value only to me.
Do these things summarize my life? And when I am gone, will they be gone as well?
I have a few of my parents’ possessions, but only a few. Of course, neither of them could be called packrats. They mainly bought what they needed. One of something was enough. Nostalgia and sentimentality were at a minimum.
It did simplify deciding what to keep and what to sell, donate, or toss when they were gone.
So, a few of my things will pass to my family members as they decide what they want.
Then there will be a great rummage sale followed by a big fire next to the dumpster.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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