Exploring what life could be like if we weren’t buried in clutter, burdened with too many possessions, and surrounded by chaos.

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Grandma: not so crazy after all

May 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Excess of Possessions, Hoarding, Re-using, The Packrat Mind

In the Depression years, our grandparents saw need all around them, and probably found constant satisfaction in having saved just the right thing. In the last few years of my grandmother’s life, we sent for the items she pined for in the storage unit in New Mexico so that she could at last be reunited with them. Rather than list here what exactly was in that storage unit, I will summarize by saying that very little of it would’ve been useful in any kind of disaster, economic or otherwise.

At least not to me, or most other people. But she would’ve found a use for things like squashed sandals from the thirties and petrified vinyl purses. In an emergency, she could’ve woven them all together with the balls of twine to make a raft that would’ve gotten the whole family across the ocean in the nick of time.

But there was another reason my grandmother saved stuff — for the same reason I do — she had an aversion to waste. Just like I do, she had a problem with the notion of tossing a plastic fork into the trash after using it for ninety seconds. Or knowing it was going to get thrown away if you left it on the airplane food tray, even unused and still in its cellophane wrapper.

When we were little, we loved the stuff she’d bring us. Then as as we got older and snarkier, we kind of made fun of her. Now, though, I understand.

I’m sorry, Grandma. We were idiots. You had the right idea.

Raphael Dunne Laflin
1900 — 1992

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