Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wife's Guide to Hand-me-down's

Headlines read -

"Economy - Worst it's ever been!",
"Your stock's interest rate is now below Zero!" and

"Watch out - Your Bank may take all your Money".

Times are bleek and the big D word is right around the corner.

So in a world where the words - inadequate, inferior and insignificant can adequately describe our personal finances - can we really be adverse to a hand out?

Can you refuse to use the crib someone gave you for your baby?

Can you pass on the bag of gently used items from your coworkers closet?

Can you snubb the dresser you inherited from your grandmother?

Repeat after Obama - "YES, YOU CAN!". So go heat up some Ramin noodles (dude - it's all I can afford too) and get a pad and paper because I am about to delve into the world of penny-pinching and possibilities.

Times a-wasting and we are squandering precious time that you could be using toward a second job - so let's begin.

List of reasons why we hoard stuff that isn't attractive to us:

  • I am a hoarder

  • It was a gift

  • It holds special memories

  • It was passed on or inherited

  • I can't afford anything better

  • I don't know what I like so I will settle

  • I don't have the space for what I really want

  • It would hurt my parents (or grandparents) feelings if I got rid of this

  • It was a great price

  • I will only use this a short time

  • It might come back in style

  • I want to be like a squirrel

You are not alone - I am a culprit of all of the above. No lie. I think I have over 25 'memory' boxes. And deep down I know that I need to clean house. The day will come - sooner than later - where the cord must be cut and the hundreds of sentimental goodies must visit the likes of our soon-to-be-donated basement box or just taken straight way to goodwill. Either way it is gonna be gone forever.

So here is how you deal with the REASONS WE HOARD:

  • Just say no! Repeat after me "I WILL ONLY BUY AND KEEP WHAT I LOVE" - that includes the kids, husband, and home decor items that you find attractive, usable and functionable. Everything else needs to be sorted - and deported.

  • Time to cut the cord. Which brings me to my next point - the mantra of HGTV's Clean House - "just because you don't have the item, doesn't mean you don't have the MEMORY of the item". Need help in the memory department? Take a picture, make a list, do a video. Either way - condense your stuff electronically.

  • Keep it out. Don't let the "new to you" stuff in the front door. It is perfectly acceptable to thank your co-worker for their generousity and ask if they want their fugly clothes returned to them. If they want them back - let them know you are an awful mustard stainer and it would be stressful to keep track of the items. If they say keep em - put them in your car and drive straight to goodwill - SCORE you just got a tax rebate.

  • Family stuff belongs to the family. That china cabinet not your style? It was your Nana's! Oh no - what to do?!?! Ask your family how long its been in the fam - over two generations? It's a family keeper - but you don't run a storage facility. See if a cousin needs it or if mom & pop want to house it. No takers? Mention you want to sell it at the next family gathering and see if anyone flinches. If nobody loves it - Craig will. He has this list online to sell stuff like that :)

  • Inherited = your choice. If it was given to you, or less than two generations old - it is your choice, then you get to decide if it stays or if it goes. So go ahead with that yard sale and then invest the cash in a new cohesive room design. It'll make your grandma proud!
  • Short on cash doesn't mean short on style. If you are handy then reuse or recycle. Sometimes all a piece needs is a quick coat of paint. Or take an old skirt to recover a chair. Arm yourself with your imagination.
  • Don't be like a squirrel - it's an oversized rodent. And we are overpopulated with them. And it is not exactly a smart animal. So whenever you feel squirrely - just remember that most times, squirrels end up road kill. And nobody - not even the people unloading their junk on you - wants that.

Have some good ideas on how to deal with a hand out? Know a clever line to keep the giver happy but keep the junk outta your trunk? Do share - your good tip could keep our hopes from copying the economy & taking a dive :)


G+D said...

Excellent post Katie--bravo! I'm the total opposite of hoarder. I'm the "get it the hell out my house" kinda gal. But it's nice to see some tips for people who aren't quite as hard-assed as me, lol.

Nornie Gal said...

Katie...you're truly a trip. Oh, and I'm waiting to do that post-it-on thing till I actually know enough people on this thing to send it to.

Emily said...

I'm like D. "If you bring that Easter decoration into my house you will not get brunch", is a line I may or may not (cough...may...cough) have used this last Easter. But we do take handouts in the form of furniture if we need something - but the rule is that the giver can't be offended if I paint it white.