Walking The Line Between Frugality and Pack Rattery

A lot of frugal people have stashes and stockpiles of items that they are keeping for use “someday.” These may be retail items acquired for free (think free samples and toiletries acquired through couponing or rewards programs). Other items frugal people keep are things like spare parts, extra hardware, magazines with useful articles or tips, fabric scraps, bread bags, plastic storage bins saved from deli meats and butter, jars, rubber bands or other things that may be useful. Some people even keep big things like lawnmowers or appliances they find on the curb that still function.

It’s true that a big part of frugality is saving useful items and not wasting materials that


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10 Responses to Walking The Line Between Frugality and Pack Rattery

  1. This is a good look at an important aspect of frugality that rarely is examined. Your guidelines for keeping on the frugal side of frugality (as opposed to pack-rattery :) are very helpful and quite sound! Thank you so much for this post.

  2. ~Dawn says:

    The questions I ask:
    Will I be using this right away?
    Can this replace one that is being worn out?

  3. JC says:

    Perhaps one thing you can do with the junk you’ve been saving that you don’t need is to start a garage sale and sell some of them. For example, if you upgraded your RAM or video cards, somebody else might find an use for your old RAM sticks or cards.

  4. Diane says:

    I agree that some people get carried away in stockpiling readily available items in the name of ‘frugality’.

    My feeling is that my living space has VALUE, and it is not necessary to hoard things in case of future need. We keep a few butter dishes & sherbet containers and recycle the rest. When we get low, we keep a few more. I keep a 4″ stack of old newspaper on hand and get rid of the rest.

    I know there’s always more coming, whether it’s magazines, newspaper or plastic containers.

  5. Hilary says:

    I was so happy that my apartment has a built-in shelf in my closet that is literally 8 inches from the ceiling (and sticks out about a foot from the wall). It’s perfect for stashing away toothpaste, contact solution, etc. so I can buy it up when it’s on sale. My kitchen is less fortunate… I have an entire shelf of chick peas. There’s definitely a trade-off.

  6. Lisa W. says:

    Two things I try to keep in mind:
    1.) Is it useful, beautiful, or do you love it? If not, out it goes.
    2.) On “Clean House”, the host refers to clutter as “mayhem and foolishness.” Who wants that in their home?

  7. Anne says:

    One way to avoid becoming a pack rat and keep only what you truly need/use is to live in a small house!

    My apartment is only 390 square feet in size and I live in it with two other people…lol. There is no room for what we don’t absolutely need.

  8. MaryAnn says:

    Excellent post. A few ideas for what to do with the stuff that you cull from your stash:
    * If you have toiletries above and beyond what you will use in the next 3-6 months, homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters welcome these items.
    * If you have butter tubs, cardboard tubes, fabric scraps, baby food jars, etc, ask local preschools, elementary schools, or religious education programs if the teachers can use these items. In my county, there is actually a clearing house for these kinds of items, and local businesses and nursing homes donate everything from wallpaper sample books to florist foam to pickle jars. My husband and I are both teachers, and we love to visit the Wishing Well and discover treasure!

  9. Mary Murphy says:

    To get rid of all or any items you don’t want or need, join your local freecycle.com group online. You’d be amazed at the things that other folks will take off your hands, and give to you if you ask. There is no money involved in the exchanges. It isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth checking out.

  10. Pingback: Want New Stuff? Look to the Curb. « Take the Dollar Back

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