The Things I Hoard

Filed Under Frugal 

I’m not the type of hoarder you see on those TV shows. That would be way too unfrugal for me! But there are a few things I hoard, and many times those things have proved useful. So here are the things I hoard:

Nails, Screws, and Bolts
Really, it’s all manner of fastening things. If I buy a box of nails, obviously I save the rest. However, I also save all those allen wrenches and extra screws that come with furniture from Ikea and Cost Plus. Often there will be one or two extra pieces in the box and I toss them in my toolbox with the rest of my screw hoard. Then, when I need just one screw or nail, I can go into the toolbox and find exactly what I need. I rarely need to go to the hardware store if I just need something simple and don’t need a lot of it.

The key is to check the box at the start of a project to make sure I don’t already have what I might need. If I don’t, then I head to Ace for a few screws. Those allen wrenches come in handy when the legs on a piece of furniture need tightening, because anything you build yourself will eventually need tightening.

I don’t, however, save six of the same sized allen wrenches. Just one will do. And I don’t save screws that are broken or in poor condition, because they’re not useful anymore.

Buttons
As any woman can tell you, our clothes often come with extra stuff. Little bags or envelopes that contain an extra button, sequins, beads, or thread should we lose one. I save both the buttons and the tiny safety pins that attach them to the clothing. The safety pins are great for holding a wrap dress or sweater closed at a safe-for-work level, and the blend in well.

I buy most of my clothes from the same store, which means I’ve now amassed quite a collection of identical buttons one at a time. I now have an assortment of black or silver buttons when I need to sew something. Interestingly, I’ve never actually had one of their buttons fall off, so I guess the extras aren’t necessary, but I keep them for other sewing projects.

Pads and Pens
If there’s a place giving away free pads or pens, I take them home with me. Hotel rooms are great for this, as are conventions. I store them in the closet and then I always have a phone pad handy when the old one runs out. Why buy pads when so many places will give them to you, free?

Of course, free pens aren’t always good pens, so I’m quick to throw out a free pen if it doesn’t work. I’ve got plenty more where that one came from.

Plastic Grocery Bags
I actually usually use canvas or tulle bags when shopping at the store or farmer’s market, but things like lettuce store better in plastic bags. I then those bags for kitty litter disposal. I hoard them in a special bag I made just for that purpose. When I run out, which I finally did recently, I switch to plastic for a few weeks at the grocery store.

Shipping Boxes
I don’t actually hoard shipping boxes year round, but I do when it gets close to Christmas. Then I use them to ship gifts to family members rather than buying boxes. I don’t ship many things the rest of the year, so I only save boxes that will probably find a use. After Christmas, I purge my stash until the following year.

That’s it, all the things I hoard. As you can see, there’s a fine line between hoarding and prudently saving useful things. I’m pretty sure my husband will tell me if I go overboard, but I doubt that day is coming.

Is there anything you hoard?

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