Short version: Yesterday I made the weighty decision to break it off with a long time friend. I was pulling all the weight in the relationship, the only one who was growing. Reece was inert and passive, the most active thing he did was collect dust. Truth be told, I wanted to reclaim the space in my life to make a place for a new friend. Conveniently enough, via MR this morning, I find the confessions of a life-long slob who decides to get organized to legitimize my decision after the fact -the best kind. The take away:
Saving allows the hoarder to avoid making what they view as risky decisions.
That hurt. I’m nothing if not risk averse. I sometimes prefer to make no decision than a potentially bad decision. Truth be told, sometimes the risky decision is to keep it.
Long version: I took my little Reece S2 buttonholer to the dump on Sunday. It was an old fishtail button holer, so old it had a counter from the days when you couldn’t buy the machine, you had to lease it from Reece (now AMF) and pay a royalty for every button hole sewn.
Letting Reece go made me feel a little sad but not guilty. I was going to take a picture of it, forlornly strewn on the concrete floor where I’d heaved it (no small feat) in the metals recycling section at the city dump. I think I was sad I’d been so stupid; that machine cost me a lot of money over the years.
I bought the machine circa 1997 for $250. It went into storage with some other machines @$50 a month for a year. Then it was loaded into a Uhaul, driven 200 miles and put into another storage unit (free). In 2000, it was loaded into another Uhaul and moved to El Paso TX where it collected dust for five years. Then it was loaded into another truck when I moved to Las Cruces and where it didn’t improve with age for another 4.5 years. And finally, loaded into another Uhaul and brought back to Albuquerque where I bought it 13 years ago. Each move and each mile cost. And how many button holes did I get out of it? None, not one. I don’t like fish tail button holes. I bought it when button holers were still rather pricey; I should have resold it and cut my losses way back when.
Putting things away in the shop, I’m annoyed by boxes. Sorted by categories, I look at each pile of boxes and ask myself this morning, what’s risky about this? What can I lose if I get rid of it? What is the replacement cost? Randy Frost, author of Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding says some people are disorganized due to
…problems with information processing, like attention deficit problems and difficulties in categorizing things. In addition, there are overly powerful attachments that form to possessions.
which hits home. He also says
…people who hoard have a remarkable appreciation of the physical world. They are, I think, more creative than the rest of us. They pay attention to the unusual details of objects. They are also much more sensitive about waste and not disposing of things that still have value.
which describes nearly everyone I know who sews. He also says hoarding intensifies with age but I’m collecting appreciably less so I don’t think I’m a hoarder. Or maybe I hit a tipping point several years ago; the comfort of keeping stuff is outweighed by the cost of having to store it, find it when I need it or even to remember I have it.
My next project is a laundry cart I’ve been moving for years. It’s filled with old machine parts but better described as residents on death row. If they’re not transferred to another facility soon, their execution date is rapidly approaching…