Apr 08 2010

Is it ever worth it to be a ‘hoarder’?

Awhile back, Mrs Money had a really interesting post on whether it was more frugal to be a minimalist or a hoarder. It seems like the general consensus in the comments was that it was more frugal to be a minimalist.

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, and for the most part I agree.

Still, I wanted to present a case for when it might be more appropriate to be a hoarder.

  • If you know you will absolutely, without a doubt, use this item in a year’s time, keep it.
  • If you have adequate space to store it. Rooms overflowing with stuff so bad you can’t see the floor? Yeah. That’s bad. Don’t do that, unless it’s a designated “storage” area in your house with a door that closes. And as long as the rest of your house doesn’t look like that storage room. :)
  • If it is better for you financially and logistically to hold onto an item instead of selling it or otherwise getting rid of it and replacing it later, then hold onto it.

So for personal examples, I am hoarding good moving boxes. We live in an apartment. It’s ok for now, but it’s not where I want to live forever, ya know? So I have most of our moving boxes. They are stored behind my headboard out of sight, and a few of them are in our apartment’s storage locker.

Yeah, the moving boxes could probably be sold on craigslist and then I could get new boxes for cheap or free next time, but since I do have the space for them, I am holding onto them.

Another example: Baby gear. I recently went through all of Johnny’s things and outgrown clothing. I weeded out things that were never used or worn and sold a lot at a kids’ consignment sale. We still have plenty of things for the future, but since our storage space is so limited it gives us some breathing room. Cuz why hang onto things you didn’t even use?

I used to hoard toiletries. You know, things that I could get for free while playing the Drugstore Game. That worked for awhile. I limited my deals to what I could reasonably store in our linen closet. And, I wanted to be sure it wasn’t more than a year’s worth. Anything beyond that is kinda ridiculous, I think.

I’ve gotten away from the Drugstore Game because I’m trying to buy more natural products, and I don’t know that I can find deals on those (but please let me know if I’m wrong! I’m way out of practice these days).

When to just let the stuff go:

  • If you truly don’t have storage space for something, even after organizing your closets and under-the-bed space and basements/garages/whatever, then it’s time for it to go.
  • If you are paying to rent a storage facility, but have no set date for when you will clean out that storage locker, then sell the stuff or find another home for it. Storage lockers with no expiration date are such a money pit.
  • If you aren’t totally sure you’ll ever use the item again (or within a year), send it on its way.


2 Responses to “Is it ever worth it to be a ‘hoarder’?”

  1. i think it’s definetly more frugal to be a minimalist. my husband and i are minimalists and we have 3 children. we also live in a 1000 sq foot house. when we only had one child i had the room to buy ahead on clothes for him. now we absolutly can’t keep things that aren’t essential.

    that being said i do neatly stockpile things we use alot of. TP, papertowels, detergent, diapers, formula (our baby is adopted, or i would be bfeeding again).

    i can’t stand any clutter and try to keep every surface clear.

  2. I think it is more frugal to be minimalist. Hubby and I bought our 654 sqare foot home a year ago. We paid cash. When we bought the home I knew the attic was plenty tall enough to use for living space. We finished the attic put two bedrooms in the attic also done in cash. So now we have around 900 sqare feet. It prevents me from buying alot of stuff. I don’t have room so I don’t buy. Also its much cheaper to heat and cool our tiny house. Our property taxes are cheaper on our tiny home. So what do I do abut bulk items. Our house didn’t have any lower cabinents rather than install them we put in a chest freezer. We buy meat from a local farm. A side of beef at $2.00 a pound. When we added the staircase for the upstairs. I insisted that under the staircase be my pantry. We are also minimalist on water and electric use. WE are on a shallow well only 18 feet deep. When we moved in we had 9 feet of water in the well. We put in a low flow toilet, and a front load washer. I am currently building water barrels to collect rainwater for our gardens. Rural electric is quite expensive in our area. So we installed a wood stove to reduce our use of electric heat and an outdoor clothesline.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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