Thursday, February 06, 2014

De-cluttering - What about the old philosophies? - #5

Old Philosophy #5: "You should keep old things, like holey socks, because you might need them in an emergency or in an economic downturn."

Yesterday, we experienced an emergency. I didn't need any holey socks. I was glad, though, to have an old somewhat-worn blanket on hand, which I'd been debating whether or not to keep. We didn't end up needing it, as the electricity came on before we went to bed. But I was glad I had it for the peace of mind, as it brought the number of additional blankets up to what I hoped would be just enough. There are many, right now, in my area and other areas, who are without power, trying to find ways, no doubt, to be warm, or at least to keep from freezing.

Although I was happy I had that old yellow blanket, looking back, I realize there are three reasons why I hadn't gotten rid of it. I love the color; it had belonged to my son who passed away two years ago; and also, I have a long-standing personal philosophy that "you can never have too many blankets". I came up with this personal mantra decades ago, when I was considering baby gifts for friends; but as I had more children, its value became more apparent. Even with our children grown now, you never know who might be staying for a visit or a transition.

But when it comes to socks, I have to admit, when I replace them because they have holes in them, I throw away the old ones. Personally, I don't really see much value in holey socks unless it's all I've got. In an economic downturn, I would undoubtedly have holey socks soon enough (been there, done that), without having saved a drawer full of them. But to save them, on purpose, ahead of time?  Someone once said about this depression philosophy of saving worn out clothing, "In a depression, we would be depressed to have all these worn out things."

Rather than indiscriminately saving old things, in case we might need them in an emergency, what if we were to be pro-active about planning for an emergency?  I'm not referring to the long-term apocalyptic preparations that some people make. Although I don't criticize those, it's not my way. I'm referring to the emergencies that occur somewhere in the world every day and could occur in our world. How about having a small portable snack in our purse or backpack, and non-perishable foods, that don't require heating, in our homes?

How about having a way to get help - or just to stay in touch with people - during an emergency? We still have a landline phone, so one of the things I've saved is an old corded phone that I can plug in during a power outage...and yes, it works without electricity,  provided the phone lines are good. But this is only true if it's truly a landline, which I realized when I was going to loan this phone to my neighbor. She has Comcast phone service, and Comcast was down.

And what about alternative ways to charge the cell phone, besides plugging it into the wall? I was glad, yesterday, to have finally gotten a phone for which I could get (and had gotten) a car charger.

Now let's go back, for just a moment, to the idea of preparing for an "economic downturn". If you live where you own your home outright, and maybe you grow your own food, and maybe you have skills you would be able to barter; then perhaps you would have no need to move, and maybe saving old things might work for you in such an emergency, if you have room for them. But for some people, if hard times were to come, it would mean order to take a new job, or to live for a bit with a relative or friend, or just to downsize to a lower rent or mortgage payment. In some cases, "saving stuff" for an economic downturn might just be counter-productive.

But blankets? We can always use them to pack our stuff in, right? Actually, as I said in my last post, I believe you can collect too many of  pretty much anything. So you might not want to take my "you can't have too many blankets" mantra too seriously and accumulate way more than you need. And we an always offer old blankets to shelters or, if very worn, to an animal shelter.

But now, I need to go research how to mend a certain yellow blanket.

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