Ladies and gentlemen, I am a pack rat.
If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, this will not be breaking news. But it’s still true.
I save nearly everything: Magazines, concert and other event tickets, posters, mementos, books, DVDs, CDs, promotional tchotchkes, hangers, etc.
I save clothes until they’ve either shrunk to the point of not fitting, faded to the point of being unrecognizable, or ripped so badly that they’re useless — and that applies to shoes, towels, and backpacks/messenger bags too.
I have 20 Newbury Comics pint glasses, and I still use them, even though I have plenty of actual, nicer glasses (and I live alone).
I drove my last car for nearly 11 years before getting a new one.
I still have my old computer, which I replaced in 2006, my old VCR, my old TV, and my old DVD player.
It’s March 12 and I still have holiday cards displayed on my refrigerator.
“Something to Save” was one of my favorite tracks on the George Michael album Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1.
Maybe you get the point. I’m not exactly a candidate for Hoarders, but there’s a reason I have two — yes, two — basement storage units.
Part of the reason I haven’t gotten rid of some of this stuff is because I’ve just been too lazy to recycle, donate, or sell it (the TV and a piece of furniture or two fit into that category).
More often than not, though, I save things because I just never know when I’m going to need (or want) them. And of course, I almost never do need them. It’s a catch-22 (I think).
To be clear: It’s not that I want to save all this stuff. I just do.
Over the years, I’ve tried to break this habit. In fact, there have been multiple times when I’ve gone through and purged some stuff. When my parents sold their house and made me throw out all the copies of Entertainment Weekly I’d been saving, for example. Or when I moved into my condo and downsized a bit so I’d have less to move.
But every time I get rid of stuff, I just accumulate other stuff. And the fact that most of my excess stuff is in my basement, and therefore out of sight, doesn’t give me much incentive to throw any of it away.
In fact, I recently had exactly the opposite thing happen.
Two weeks ago, I was asked to show some clips from back in my Continental days to a potential employer. Well, if you’ve been paying any attention in the past few years, you know Continental Airlines is no more. Which means neither is the inflight magazine. Which means, yes, the magazine’s website has been taken down … and with it, all the articles I’d written during the 7.5 years I worked for the magazine.
Of course, I knew all that. Which is why it was a good thing I’d saved all those copies of the magazine when I left my job in 2008.
Except I didn’t. D’Oh!
Sure, I saved a few key issues — my first and last one, for example — but when I packed up my desk, I recycled the bulk of them. After all, I thought at the time, the airline wasn’t going anywhere, and all the articles I’d written were online. What did I need all the print issues for if they were just going to take up space? (See? I was trying to be good.)
(For the record, I found a couple of the articles I wanted using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, but those versions were short-lived. It was alright, though.)
The point is, saving stuff is kind of like an insurance policy: It’s always the stuff I save that I never need, and vice versa.
Suffice it to say, after this happened with the Continental issues, my tendency to not get rid of things was reinforced.
I’m just hoping I won’t ever need a third storage unit.
Are you a pack rat? How do you deal with it? Share your thoughts — or your advice for me — in the comments section below.