Saturday, August 1, 2009


Several of the blogs I’ve read lately have talked about cleaning out closets, getting rid of “stuff’, and just plain organizing.
The following newspaper column written by my father 20+ years ago gives a humorous look at “stuff”….(My mother is notorious for saving EVERYTHING…..and, believe you me, she knows what she has and where it is….just ask her!:)

Pack Rats is What We Are

Pack rats is what we are. Stuff and things that we have ‘saved’ over the years are just about to overwhelm us.
Why, we have the grammar school report cards of my wife’s father. They are stuck in his 1931 yearbook from Georgia Tech. For 55 or 60 years those report cards have been ‘saved’ by somebody. They are just regular report cards. His mama must have saved them to start with…then his wife…and now his daughter. By golly, I sure hope nobody has any of MY old report cards stuck away anywhere.
We live in a big, old house that we raised our five children in. Now that all but one of the children is gone, and she’s got one foot out the door, we have lots and lots of room to save stuff.

Upstairs, we have more empty boxes than Kirven’s department store does. For years, every time we have gotten something, my wife has saved the box it came in. She might need to pack things in them. We have boxes inside boxes inside boxes.
We keep our old paint cans under the house. Each can has about ¼ of the paint left in it. No matter what the paint job, you know, there is always some paint left over. How can you throw away perfectly good paint? I almost always put the leftover paint under the house, but there are a few cans out in the shed, too. I haven’t counted them, but there must be 20 cans of paint of every color with two inches of hardened paint in the bottom of each bucket.
All of those can be thrown out, except maybe 4 or 5 cans that the paint is still good. Might need those.
We have broken furniture, leftovers in the refrigerator, my Navy watch cap from 35 years ago that is full of moth holes, two wide tires off of one my boy’s ’69 Pontiac which he sold 10 years ago, and old, paint-spattered window screens that we replaced about 20 years ago. We saved them all.
That 1931 Georgia Tech annual that belonged to my father-in-law is in good company with perhaps every other book that any of us ever owned. Many of them are musty and mildewed and smell to high heaven. Most have not been reopened since they were put on the shelf. We finally managed to get rid of our 300 pound collection of National Geographics. But we are saving all these others….for some reason.
One of those books is an economics textbook that one of our children had in college. The price tag is still in it…$35.90. I’m positive that no one will EVER look at that book again, but how can you throw out a $35 book?
We have a full set of drums upstairs waiting for the rightful owner to claim them. The rightful owner, son Francis, was a wild and wooly drummer-man just a few years ago. Now he is studying for the ministry, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that he won’t be claiming his drums anytime soon. I’ve heard of guitar playing and piano playing preachers, but I don’t think these drums are going to fit into his future plans.
We will ‘save’ the drums along with the broken garden tools (nothing broken but the handle), the out-of-date clothes, and all the other junk.
You never can tell when you might need some of that stuff.

(written 1983-84 for the The Southland Star newspaper)

Have a Lovely Day!



  1. He had a way w/ words! What is it about stuff anyway that makes us feel so safe/satisfied/secure? I once wrote a post about: Am I Clinging to Stuff or is Stuff Clinging to Me?! -- along these same lines.

  2. He DID have a way with words...simple, humorous, and to the point, yet do YOU, my friend...I'll have to check your blog archives for that post you mentioned...

  3. Here you go Mug.

    enjoy :) & stay cool!