Are you an excessively frugal person, also known as a pack rat? You may not think you are, but humor this writer for a moment.

For the sake of our discussion, take a few minutes and check your closets, drawers, storage spots, and any other place you squirrel away items you think you will use sometime in the nebulous future.

Were you shocked by all the weird stuff you saved? Or, are you an anomaly and found nothing odd? Was everything you found used or often used? Please be honest, with yourself. The question was not meant to be a test. Well, not the usual kind of quiz.

In either case, be secure in knowing that no pack rat police will show up at your door, at least not until you are beyond caring about such things. However, we cannot predict the reaction of your relatives when they find your must-save-because-I-might-need-it-in-the-future stuff.

I knew Hubby was a saver of potentially useable stuff, but the reality made us groan and often burst out laughing.

The source of our dismay and amusement was his storage building cum workshop.

Our daughter and one of the Grands decided to sweep out the building. When you take into consideration the size of the building, that project was already a significant undertaking. And then, things morphed from sweeping to countless “Oh my God!” moments.

When Hubby bought or received drills or other electric tools, he saved the empty boxes. At first, we gave him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he intended to recycle the boxes, but he never got around to doing it. Consequently, the frequency of our daughter’s exclamations of disbelief increased in both volume and number.

“Seriously!” and “Are you kidding me!” were just a few of the mentionable comments flying past her lips.

Hubby had quite a stash of useless bits of wood from finished projects he could not toss. Somehow at some point in time, he knew they would come in handy.

Rags beyond redemption; orphaned screws and nails; crunchy and cracked pieces of watering hose; old ceiling fans and sinks; all found their way to the purgatory known as his workshop. In other words, if something was replaced or broken, it ended up in the storage building.

There were many items, such as piles of flat cardboard, that Hubby planned to use in the garden to minimize the weeds. At one time, the cardboards were crisp and new, but by the time we found them, they were on the curly and grubby side.

After we finished what we called the “first sweep,” there were several piles. Two were paper and metal recycles, and, of course, the gigantic pile was trash. We voiced a flash of pity for the poor trash pick up man. When he sees the fruits of our labors, they will suddenly become his labors.

Our cleanout project reminded me of the time before my mother passed. Father asked my female sibling and me to clean up the house while he took mother for treatments in Arizona.

Mother was a saver of a different color. She was more or less a neat hoarder. There were boxes of needlework kits, yarns, and batting used for quilting. Since quilting was one hobby our mother did not do, we wondered why she bought so much. One theory was that when the items above were on sale for a price she could not pass up, mother bought not just one or two but several of each bargain item.

The cases of toilet tissue made us wonder if she anticipated anything dire in the future. Did mother think we would have to potty in the woods like the Charmin bears? Did she expect a shortage of toilet paper? Whatever her reasoning, there was enough of the stuff to last several months for our father and youngest brother.

It was impossible not to laugh when we cleared out the piles of items like the yellowed greeting cards she forgot to send or the forgotten table decorations and place cards for our wedding. The same was true of Hubby’s workshop. You had to laugh, and we needed the release.






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