Geek Girls Rule! #109 – Are all Geeks packrats?

Holy crap are we packrats. 

Yesterday evening, The Husband What Rules and I went through three boxes of gaming stuff.  Not gaming books, gaming STUFF.  These boxes held folder upon folder of old campaign notes, old character sheets, maps, etc…  Allow  me stress that:  THREE BOXES of this crap.  Two legal archive boxes and one bigger one. 

Let me say this again:  THREE BOXES.

Most of it is getting recycled.  I held onto a couple of old character sheets, Lance from the Wall game and Nightingale from the first Marvel game we played with Deke.  But most of it got recycled. 

In the course of this move we’ve junked a lot of stuff.  A lot of my old Happy Meal toy collection, since I played with them and didn’t worry about keeping them nice, a lot of souvenir pens people get for me everywhere they go.  I’m giving away notebooks and journals like a crazy woman.   I will never, ever need to buy pens,  pencils, colored pencils, pastels or crayons again.  I have given away most of my Legos, the Playmobile stay.  

We’ve culled two large boxes of CDs and one of gaming books (mostly first edition WoD).  We took TEN bags of clothes to Goodwill.  Kitchen garbage bags, not grocery bags.  I still have a bag of shoes to go through. 

I’ve tossed several pieces of artwork, including the complete set of signed and numbered Overstreet Limited edition prints from the first Vampire book, some of them had gotten banged up, one had been peed on by a cat.  I’ve hung everything framed, and am working on slowly framing or giving away everything else.  (The Goat-headed Boy currently occupies a place of prominence, and my signed Elric print is hanging over the mantel.)

The truth of the matter is, we keep way too much crap.  If nothing else, this move has brought that home to us in a big way.  However, thinking on it I realize that an awful lot of our friends are also packrats.  We tend to hold on to things that, really, are we ever going to play that Paladin we got up to 18th level again?  I mean, that was two or three editions ago.   

And the obsolete console systems… We still have a Turbografix, a SEGA Genesis and a Dreamcast, in addition to the Wii and Xbox. 

Seriously, is packrat just the nature of the geek beast? 

We’re desperately trying to dig out and break the programming that makes us hold on to stupid amounts of stuff. 

What say you, geeks?  Is packrat just the nature of Geek?  If so, how do you break the programming?

Right now the culling is pretty easy because we hate everything we own, but what I’m most interested is how do we not let it creep up on us again?  NOW I say I’m not buying anymore journals or pens or pencils (fountain pen refills are of course exempt), but how do I stick with it?  How do I resist that perfect sweater or pair of shoes or game book or dice or, or, or…?  We’re trying to institute a one for one law:  If we have one and we want to buy a new one, the old one has to go first.  The first casualty of the new one for one law is my favorite old grey v-necked sweater.   Let’s see if I stick to it.

8 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #109 – Are all Geeks packrats?

  1. Oh hell yes, at least for my part I’m right there with you. We moved into our new house a month ago and I’m still going through boxes of old gaming dandruff to figure out which few pieces aren’t going to get recycled.

  2. And don’t get me started on the games we won’t play, ever, that we keep because “It’s funny” or “It’s so bad no one will believe me if I don’t have proof.”


  3. Oooo, I have not told you about the books. Just regular books. We had to get rid of five bookshelves to move in here, and we’re still trying to figure out how the hell to get them all on shelves and still be able to access everything. It’s bad. And this is after getting rid of several large boxes. There will be more culling.

  4. There’s no complete cure as far as I can tell – you just have to cull things every so often.

    For me, moving in to smaller spaces with little, less, or no storage has forced the issue a couple times. Having to mostly move the stuff myself is also a motivator. In some cases I’ve kept things too long because I mistakenly thought I needed to or it was just out of sight/out of mind. Some because I didn’t have a way to dispose of it safely until I got a shredder. One for one getting rid of things is good after you’ve pared down enough to make sure you have room for what you have.

    It all comes down to space and how you want to live. I am finding I want less clutter. I look at things and ask myself do I use this? Have I missed this? When’s the last time I looked at this or wore that. I’m not having to cull as much this time around but that’s because I moved to a smaller place just 2 years ago and had to do a lot of culling then. There was a time I couldn’t much afford books so I held onto everything – good and bad and not likely to read again. Now I’m going to have to keep it pared down to 2 bookshelves – and we still haven’t found a place for the 2nd one. It’s just the way it needs to be because there’s a limit of space. There is more book shelf culling in my future.

    I had another revelation when there was that fire in the unit next to mine. When faced with fire I recognized that the stuff I owned was just stuff and I didn’t value any of it over my life. It gave me a different perspective. Now I to evaluate if I really love something or just think it’s neat. If I just think it’s neat I will talk myself out of getting it because it means potentially getting rid of something else to have it. I’m going to go through my files when the unpacking is done and get rid of more shit – stuff I’ve been hanging onto for years that it no longer makes sense.

    Some of it is just telling myself I don’t need to buy every damn thing I find cute or nifty – or maybe I consider buying it for someone who would love it more than me. I had this moment where the thought of getting rid of my vacuum made me twitch a little – because what if I end up moving some day. I had to realize that was a little ridiculous. I would get another vacuum in that case and maybe borrow one until I was able to.

    Finally, I have to think more about my financial goals. I’m deeper in debt than I have been for years and I’m not happy about it. It’s not horrible but I need to rethink my priorities a bit…

  5. Man, Mickey, that story is like LOOKING IN A MIRROR. Seriously. A couple of weeks ago I finally went through some boxes that probably hadn’t been looked at in 7-9 YEARS. And yep, it was a bunch of character sheets, high school artwork, notebooks, pens, and shit. And like you, I’m finding a lot of it easy to throw out NOW, but how to avoid the cycle entirely?

    One thing I notice about my packrat impulse is the nagging feeling that I might need or want a thing SOMEtime, SOMEwhere, even if I have no inkling when or where that might be. But if I throw it away then it’s LOST FOREVER. Oh noes!

    Another angle is the “archiving your life” mindset. Like, I still own Palladium roleplaying products that I hate and will never willingly play again, but they represent a huge phase of my life so I’m loathe to chuck the ratty old things. And sure, the Christian Rock magazines I collected a decade ago fail to impress me now…but there was a past me who cared about them, so I’m tempted to hang on.

    Huh! I just noticed where those two forces intersect in py brain: when I have things boxed away for “someday, who knows when,” it becomes hard to recognize that my tastes and interests have moved on. My memory of them is frozen in that moment when I thought “gotta save this” and stowed it, so I have it in the back of my head that I still want it, until I actually look at the thing and realize that it’s shit. Then my mental association with that thing “catches up” with the rest of my consciousness, and “Heaven’s Metal Magazine featuring 7 Day Jesus” can hurl freely into the recycle bin.

    I don’t know if that helps figure out any solution or cure, but it helped me understand my brain a little better, so there’s that.


    PS. Oh, I find it helps to be married, somewhat–but only for things where our interests do not intersect. Like, Annie has zero interest in cool Transformers toys, or roleplaying paraphernalia, so I have her to answer to if I fill our house with crap like that, and that stays my hand a bit. But books? We both LOVE books! And while she’s more reserved in collecting them than I, there’s no real limiter on my “ooh siny!” reflex in that department.

    Oh, and being poor helps, too. 😛

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