Houses full of junk


Old 11-27-08, 08:38 PM
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Houses full of junk

I grew up in a 1000 sq ft house with 6 brothers, 2 sisters, chain smoking parents and a grandma, 2 dogs, a cat, one bathroom, 3 bedrooms, no garage, no shed. Us 6 boys slept barrack style it the rumpus room.

Now I have a 1450 bungalow, 10x12 shed, 28x24 garage, wife, 2 daughters, occasional son, 3 bathrooms and I rent a storage shed. We moved 6 months ago from a bigger house and for 5 years prior to the move, I chucked everything I could get away with. If you saw our house, we are lean compared to most.

I sell and install closet and garage organizers so I see some junk. Some people will spend 5k on a closet but just cram their junk back in (most get organized but not all)

Driving through Palm Springs and around the area is just one big store! Miles of shopping MILES!!!

No wonder the economy is in trouble. Theres only so much junk people can buy. Women are starting to shop less because as they get a bit older, they realize there is just so much their house will hold

I was in a show-home and people were commenting on how small the 1200 sq foot house was. When did 1200 sq feet become small!
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Old 11-27-08, 09:06 PM
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Don't tell me-------those 4' snow drifts finally sent you to Palm Springs ????--
Old 11-27-08, 09:27 PM
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People buy stuff to justify their existence. They've been caught up in consumerism. Perhaps current economics will give people a wake up call to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

"You work in a job you hate, to buy stuff that you don't need, to impress people that you don't like."
- Unknown
Old 11-28-08, 06:43 AM
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The current situation we find ourselves in I have taken to call The Great Correction.

Consumerism and commercialism are just some of the isms associated with it.

Unrealistic and unsustainable debt built an over capacity of production and consumption and it is now falling like the house of cards it always was.

In the years ahead I think lessons learned now may pull us back to sensible living.I hope so cause I think we need it.

No pain no gain.
Old 11-28-08, 07:48 AM
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MJD2K - I think I grew up in the same house. Fewer kids and no cats though. We had a boys bedroom, a girls bedroom and my parents bedroom. One bathroom. No one I knew had more than one car unless you count farm trucks.

Where I live now anything under 2000 s/f is considered small.
Nobody builds small affordable homes. It's easy to blame that on greed, but that's not the entire story. Some of the problem is snobbism, some is NIMBY. In my town, all the available residential land is zoned for minimum 2 acre lots. It's tough to make a profit on a $200K, 1200 s/f house when the land for each costs $50K or more. So the builder puts up a 2500 S/F home on 2 acres and the realtor/lender bend the rules a bit to sell it.
A local developer recently tried to get a variance to build smaller affordable homes on smaller (1/2 acre) lots. Everyone living around the proposed developement was up in arms. Cheaper homes would mean a lower class of people - ugh, we can't have that. The variance was denied and 120 small affordable homes won't be built.

One little mentioned factor in the current housing crisis
was actually a well intentioned move by the government. Wanting to make home ownership available to more people
the Clinton administration pressured Fannie and Freddie to provide more loans to low income people, around the same time HUD dropped predatory lending rules and a lot of people that had risky credit histories were now qualified for motgages. Unfortunately, these were high rate loans on the only housing being built - the 2400 s/f McMansions - not the 1200 s/f homes we remember as kids. Homes that the buyers simply could not afford.

I have no problem whatsoever with commercialism and consumerism. We live in a prosperous nation and most of the stuff we accumulate simply makes life more comfortable.
Old 11-28-08, 08:19 AM
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I'm a big fan of Garage /Estate sales and Flea markets and it is amazing how much is pure JUNK that I wouldn't carry to the car if you gave it to me yet Someone spent good money for it
Old 11-28-08, 08:33 AM
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My wife tells me that in Japan (where she lived for 3 yrs), when people got a new item to replace an old, or were given a gift of something they already had, the old item went into what was called a Gomie (sp?) pile at the curb, certain days every week. No yard sale or donation to charity. It was placed at the curb for anyone to take if they desired. And it wasn't junk, just things that weren't needed or they had no room for.

She said she saw things like almost new electonic keyboards, tv's, almost new furniture, china, etc, etc. I guess the culture is different. She was told that even if a gift wasn't quite as nice as what was already in the home, the gift stayed and the old one went.

The homes where she was, were tiny compared to the US standards, but she said she was never in one that was cluttered or crowded.
Old 11-28-08, 09:13 AM
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Tiny is right; a 2000 sq foot home in Japan is a mansion.

I also heard them referred to as "gomen" ("sorry") piles, but I think that is a distortion of gomie.

I'm wondering what mjd is doing in Palm Springs, too.

Awful lot of those 1200-1500 sqft homes around here that are unoccupied, brand new, and never-been-lived-in. The economic swing caught a lot of builders with their pants down.
Old 11-28-08, 11:34 AM
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Consumption is great as long as it's within a person's means to support it.that is the correction we face after decades of living beyond our means.Some did so as individuals some as businesses.It's easy to be blanket supportive of something if you're not suffering because of it.

The decisions made may have been well intentioned but the execution turns out to have basically sucked.Just ask Alan Greenspan who recently said so though in much more eloquent terms.Now we face what is a turning point in our lives and there really isn't a choice but to do what our parents did and act and live within our means and as responsible and sensible people.

The housing crisis wasn't just high priced homes it was how many different priced homes were marketed and financed.It was about an industry that had been allowed to run itself and about related business practices that went unchecked and unregulated.Greed took over and there's plenty of blame to go around for it.

We could all take a big lesson from those who came out of the great depression.

The lesson I'm taking is I saved money and will now take advantage of lowered home prices to buy and will buy with no debt.
Old 11-29-08, 11:26 AM
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George Carlin said it best.

YouTube - George Carlin Talks About "Stuff"
Old 11-29-08, 04:11 PM
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Does "stuff" include tools. fishin' poles, huntin' guns? Most of the stuff that we have has been accumulated over 40 years of marriage. I have guns that haven't been shot in years, inherited tools that will probably never get used again and all sorts of odds and ends that were part of my life at some time. Some of the stuff we just hang on because of the memories attached. Our closets are full, my shop runneth over and I'm surprised my attic isn't sagging. But I don't have a friggen' thing in my house that was purchased to impress anyone.

Assuming that you can pay for it, there is nothing wrong with a TV in every room if that's what you want or 6 cars in the garage or whatever toy happens to catch your fancy.

I guess consumerism means different things for different people, but I figure that whenever I consume conspicuously some other guy is making a buck.
Old 11-29-08, 10:21 PM
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reminds me of this video which sadly is true

YouTube - Big Box Mart
Old 11-30-08, 11:47 AM
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flirty I think that it is disgustingly honest.
Old 12-01-08, 05:59 PM
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Howard, I'm off to vegas next month. Heard they have snowthrowers on sale! Last year I went to Tampa and places north of there (.... treasure island was one). Was going to fake a breakdown hoping to meet the famous Tow Guy but I was too busy. He'd probably would have noticed I was a Canuck and charged me double.
Old 12-02-08, 07:29 AM
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Interesting discussion

there is a lot to be said about living within one's own means.

I believe because of my culture, the way I grew up and a few circumstances in life in which we lost most of what we had, and had to start from scratch, I long ago adopted a "packing light" lifestyle.

Here's how my system works:
- If it was not used, worn or displayed in the past 12 months, it goes to Good Will.
- If there is not a place to store it in the house, it has to go.

I only have the pots, pans, gadgets and utensils I use frequently, at least once a year. I only keep clothing that fits, is in good condition and in style (or at least not too out of style).

That from someone who was raised by a true pack rat (my mom still has pieces and jewelry from her 70's wardrobe) and was once proud to have a vast book collection.

Now I understand that the best books I read are in my mind, and if not, I can always go to the library and re-read. The best memories I have are from people I love, not things, and the people I love I can only keep in my heart anyway, and there is no lack of storage space in there.

The only thing I keep, treasure and cherish: pictures, cards and letters from loved ones as those can't be replaced.
Old 12-02-08, 08:53 AM
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Cyfree, I like your thinking.

My parents house burnt down year ago. Within a month they had everything they wanted or needed. They missed the pictures and 8mm movies. My dad was amazed at how it meant nothing to him that stuff he was holding onto for years was gone.

We saved stuff for our kids for when they move out but having them move out and back a couple times we realized they want their own stuff. You can outfit a kitchen for $100 at Walmart.

Thats the problem with accumulating junk. Its too good to throw out but you can't give it away or it takes hours to pack it up, and find someone to take it. Just throw it out, a week later you forget you even have it. Then think before you buy something else.

Our agency in town that accepts articles of any type has become a junk yard. People just bring all their junk there dump it. They know they just gave their problem to someone else.

Nowadays, even very poor people's houses are crammed to the rafters. They are giving stuff away but everyone has so much. 20 years ago garage sales were popular here but not anymore
Old 12-02-08, 09:29 AM
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Don't know whether it's everywhere, but check out "" in your area, before throwing away any functional but used items. I've gotten rid of cat boxes, kid's toys, old computer stuff, etc, etc. I even gave away 3 rose bushes that my wife didn't like. They came and pruned them down, threw away the trash and dug them up.
Old 12-02-08, 11:07 AM
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For me an object can invoke the same memories as a photo. I have a lot of old tools that I inherited from my father. Some of them he inherited from his father. They're seldom used, but every now and then I'll use them and they never fail to bring back memories of him. No way will I ever sell or toss them.

This morning I was in the attic bringing down Christmas decorations. I found a small box that I didn't recognize. I opened it up and among other things it contained a dog collar that belonged to the last dog I owned. I spent a half hour reminiscing about what a good friend she was and how many birds we shot and how sad I was when I put her down. I took it out of the box and hung it in my shop.

I guess my point is that having lots of stuff doesn't necessarily mean that your house is cluttered with junk.
Old 12-02-08, 07:12 PM
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CW, no argument from me. You don't have too much stuff becasue you are happy with what you have. In my business, I hear "We have way to much stuff" every day but I dont' get called by people that are happy with their stuff.

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