Thursday, March 02, 2006

On Junk (or one man's junk is another man's treasure).

I'm not a junkster, but I know and have known plenty of people who were. You wouldn't want to suggest that they get rid of their junk. The following article is from Tightwad Tidbits Daily (TM): Leave Mama's Junk Alone by Barbara Morris A young friend (about age 30) and I (age 75) were talking about all the "junk" we collect over time. The conversation turned to how much "junk" her mother had, and I said I understood because by the time you reach my age, even if you are not a chronic pack rat, "junk" accumulates. My lame excuse for saving things is that I work full time and deciding what to get rid of is not a priority. Another justification is that I grew up during the Great Depression, always wanting "things" of my own -- and now I've got them. Get rid of them? You're kidding! The conversation with my young friend shifted to her brother still living at home. He needed more space in the garage for his car, and Mama's "junk" was taking up more space than he deemed necessary, so he threw some of it out when Mama was not at home. "She'll never miss it," he rationalized. It appears that more than a few adult children feel the same way. On several occasions my Boomer-age daughter, who doesn't live with or near me, and should not be bothered by my junk, has suggested, "Why don't you get rid of all this stuff." What should it matter to adult children, living in their own home with junk of their own, how much stuff you collect? After you are gone, they can back up a garbage truck to the garage, and get rid of it. On the other hand, if they are smart, they will hold on to the treasures, or have a garage sale. Some of the stuff my generation has been saving from "day one" now has antique status and may have value, perhaps not to unappreciative children, but to savvy collectors. Let me explain something to adult children about old people, i.e., their parents: If retired, there probably are no more long or even short term goals, no more exciting dreams or aspirations -- nothing to strive for. Life is lived as a pastime -- golf, gardening, travel, shopping. "Remember when" is an integral part of a typical retiree's conversation. And that's okay. Those scraps of material Mama has been saving that you think she doesn't need and won't miss are tangible evidence of a happy time that can be revisited by touching or seeing those pieces of cloth. It gives her a warm and fuzzy feeling when emotional warmth may be in short supply. Until there is a good reason to do otherwise, leave Mama alone with all her junk. It's not yours to dispose of until she dies or asks you to get rid of it. You would not be happy if she came into your home while you were away and threw out what she considered "junk." After all, you are at an age when you've already collected a few useless trinkets that have great meaning to you but would be rated "junk" by others. What goes around comes around. Respect rights of others, especially your parents. Your young children will learn from your good example and if you are lucky, they will not throw out your precious "junk" behind your back when you are old. Barbara Morris, R.Ph. is a practicing pharmacist and expert on anti-aging strategies. She is the author of Put Old on Hold. Visit her website Put on Hold


No. 2 said...

I'm totally one of those adult children that nags their parent about their junk.

But if the parent also realizes it's a problem, I feel obligated to help.

Oldnovice said...

Fortunately, we're both minimalists here, so we don't save junk. HOWEVER...I'm a stockpiler and Em has recently been home enough to notice the savings gained by buying in bulk on sale.

Yesterday there was an 8-hour sale at Albertson's on a few items. Tuna was .29/can, Miracle Whip was .99 for the large jar, and salmon fillets were on sale for some obscenely low price...but ya had to do it between 3 and 11pm yesterday. I think we went about 6pm and they were already out of tuna [got the rainchecks!].

If you're interested in saving money, [and I can't imagine anyone who isn't these days], check out Couponmom. I'm "into" couponing as much as I'm "into" cooking. The Couponmom and I share a similar philosophy insofar as we both want to support charity. Every little bit counts isn't a misnomer, IMO. When I can buy three toothbrushes for $1.00 or get goods with coupons for FREE that I really don't NEED, the items go into my charity bag...delivered to the mission once/month.

I don't pay for the service offered by the couponmom site. I enter via the free Walgreens link and then go on to click on my state. Might work for you as well; most of you know that I don't DO Walmart for political reasons.

Speaking of political reasons, #2 should know that I wore the t-shirt you sent me to my teeth-cleaning appointment today. You might recall that Bill's a big Limbaugh fan. I ALSO wore it to the store last night when we bought the salmon. NO public response! Maybe Texans aren't as stupid as some claim! Heh.

No. 2 said...

Awesome. Glad you liked the t-shirt. I cracked up when I saw it and only thought of you.

I doubt you guys have Aldi's out there, but it's another penny pincher. They sell really generic stuff at low prices. My roommate and her daughter both work there, and they bring home the good deals. Just a thought.

Oldnovice said...

We have the equivalent but I want the name-brand stuff at the generic price. I'm also not one of those one-stop-shopping people. I like to shop in my community and distribute my consumer dollars fairly evenly yet based on quality and price. For instance, my dollars go further at Kroger on coupon items because they triple coupons up to $.40 and double coupons up to $.50. Their prices are also cheaper overall than Albertson's. Albertson's, however, tends to have better sales on loss leaders, better quality meats/fishes, and fresher produce if I'm in a produce pinch. For the freshest produce, we shop Fiesta. They're a Texas chain that caters to the Hispanic communities. I can get produce straight from the fields there.

Never one to turn down a few tips, however, I'm going to look into How to Be a Cheapskate (for the complete idiot). I'll check the library before I buy a copy, but my curiosity is aroused.

Diane said...

I'm a cheapskate, I'm an idiot, and I love junk. Do I get a prize?