Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Packratting Pays

Last night I was surfing the internet and was just about to post a comment at this hysterical post about swearing kiddies, or what airforcewife calls my "son's Tourette's episode" - when my keyboard just up and died on me...which wouldn't be such a big problem, were it not for the fact that I own a laptop. A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out my apartment...well, more appropriate would be the German word "ausmisten," which means "mucking out," the term used when a farmer cleans out the manure from his barn.

I was throwing out junk that dated back from my first classes at the university here. Things I wouldn't need any longer, or were in such disorder that if I ever needed that information again, it would be easier to go find it at the library again, than sort thru my notes.

I also threw away random things, that I just wasn't using and never an old keyboard I had. I was thinking...I will never need this keyboard again, I have a latop. Why am I letting it collect dust and take up space on my desk here? Plus, after watching a British cleaning show, about a man who was such a packrat, they had to have a psychologist help him with his separation anxiety from his belongings, I decided...I had to do something before someone set a shrink on me. I was strong. I threw away post cards and birthday cards, notes, occasionally pictures I had in double, old computer disks, binders I didn't need anymore. I kept on thinking I could find everything a new home, but realized it was mostly junk, that had to be disposed of. And that keyboad hurt. I kept on thinking, maybe someone needs this...but finding someone who needed a keyboard, and didn't have one yet...well, that would be a long I threw it onto the garbage pile at the dump.

And last night I was thinking: packratting tendencies have been vindicated! I was right to keep that keyboard on my desk for 5 years without using it...two weeks later I need it.

However, the solution to my problem was a lot easier than that: I have had a new laptop since June, the old one crashing a lot, and having random weird problems (the keyboard just up and dying being an example). I bought it before writing my thesis, because I didn't trust the old one, in case it would crash mid-thesis. It's a way better laptop, faster, more memory, just waaaaay better than my old Dell. However, since the old one didn't completely up and die, I wasn't ready to start using the new one other than for the thesis...

So, when the keyboard on my old laptop died, the solution was easy. Retire the old laptop and finally hook up the new one to the 'net. Yes...the logic of a packrat: let a perfectly good, new laptop age and not use it, until the old one is really utterly that time, if you are lucky the new laptop won't be completely outdated.

I think I might not be so far from a shrink's visit.


Blogger StoicMom said...

I totally sympathize. I recently bought a shredder to help with my packrat problem. While shredding, I came across a check register from the year my youngest son was born. He's 21. I think I got you beat. Did I shred it?


I couldn't. It had listed every check we wrote before, during and after his birth. It would have been like shredding his first tooth. Nope...just couldn't do it. Let me know if you find a good shrink.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Kent said...

Thank you for validating what I've been calling 'the Kent Pack-Rat Principle.'

Never, EVER, throw stuff away because your need for _____ item is completely inevitable.

8:32 PM  
Blogger waltoncad said...

Lots of stuff... Did the trash police bother you about recycling? I just remember how strict they were in Baden-Wurttemberg and everyone had clear trash bags so the trash/recycling collectors could refuse to take it all if there was some offending item...

9:05 PM  
Blogger CaliValleyGirl said...


Well, when they weren't looking, I threw some paper (recyclables) into the main trash container...I felt like a rebel I tell you. But otherwise I was real good about it.

9:11 PM  
Blogger erika said...

I'm a total packrat too. I ventured into the attic not too long ago, but I still can't bare to part with most of the stuff I haven't looked at in years. LOL. After hearing about a guy having to see a psychologist over separation anxiety, maybe it's time I got the ball rolling. Thanks for motivating me! :)

10:04 PM  
Blogger Household6 said...

Thanks to the weight limits in the Army we can't be a packrats. My mom does it and honestly it drives me crazy. One day I cleaned out her medication cabinet that had meds that were over 5 years old. So it CAN be bad and it CAN be good.

Keep the keyboard but toss the meds okay?


7:47 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I am SOOOO NOT showing your post to my husband the packrat! He already saves everything "just in case" and I try throwing everything away. Moving has been such fun... LOL. He wants to keep stuff and I want to toss it.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Homefront Six said...

Yeah - thank GOD for military weight restrictions! Otherwise, we'd need an even bigger house! Dh keeps EVERYTHING. Every piece of wire, every piece of paper, every magazine, every empty container (glass, at least. He'll recycle the plastic ones because they PAY him for them!). Drives me up a WALL!!!

1:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home