Over the weekend I ran across a discussion thread on Salon's Table Talk prompted by this question, "What ridiculous things do you squirrel away compulsively, thinking that you'll never get a chance at another one? Why do you do it?"
I try very hard not to squirrel things away, as evidenced by the fact that I rent an enormous dumpster every year to clean out my house. Still, reading other people's stories showed me that I still have some squirreling tendencies, despite my best efforts to resist. They include:
- Canned goods. Tomato sauce, tomato paste, Ro-Tel tomatoes, red beans and tuna are all valuable staples. Therefore, it seems reasonable to buy them every time I go to the grocery store, just in case I want to make a dish that contains one or more of them. As you can imagine, I have quite the stockpile of most of these items (except when I don't - you see how reasonable this is?).
- Plastic grocery sacks. They're perfect for wrapping up meat scraps to freeze until trash day or for disposing of kitty litter. Unfortunately, I tend to amass them at a rate beyond their usefulness as trash sacks. Still, I could take them back to the store for recycling, if I could ever remember to grab them when I'm on my way out the door.
- Castoff clothing. I do a closet-and-drawer purge a couple times a year, but ever since I discovered It's Deductible, I don't just bag up the discards, take them to the charity shop and hazard a guess at the value. No, I must save all the garments until I have time to enter them into the program one by one to get a more accurate value and itemized list for the accountant. Unfortunately, I never seem to have the updated version of the software or the time to launch into the whole project. My latest bag of clothes has been sitting so long that I actually retrieved a skirt that should have been long gone and wore it again.
- Cookie cutters. Okay, this is a weird one, I know. It all started because I wanted a set of the lumpy and indistinct Christmas cookie cutters I recalled from childhood (remember Hunchback Santa? Anyone?). I won at least two big Ebay lots after I'd already bought a bunch of newer cookie cutters that proved unsatisfying. Let's just say I have a whole kitchen drawer full of cookie cutters in every imaginable holiday shape.
Those are my worst squirreled items. I have recovered from squirreling away gift boxes and Cool Whip bowls (mostly). I could still stand to deal with the excess bedding I keep despite the fact that we no longer own a double bed and we won't go into the reams of paper I keep in my file drawer "just in case."
So what do you tend to squirrel away?