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Old 03-14-2007, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Missouri
5,741 posts, read 13,910,733 times
Reputation: 4222
Question Why do people collect/keep valuable but meaningless things?

I hate clutter; my husband is a pack rat. Recently he saw his father, who is also a pack rat, and he told my husband that once he and I settle down someplace, he'd like to give my husband some "valuable" things he's collected over the years. His father insists these things not be sold, they are for keeping and passing down to our children. One of the things that he wants to give us, for example, is a set of old guns. My father in law has never used them, he acquired them years ago and they are collecting dust in a closet. I don't like guns. Now you people who do like guns, don't get into a huff - I have no problem with other people having guns, and my father is an avid hunter. I was practically raised on venison and wild turkey. But I don't want guns in the house. My husband has never used one in his entire life; I have and don't care for it, and I have terrible aim. Us having guns in the house seems at best, a waste of space, and at worst, a potential safety hazard. My mother started this recently also; she gave me a very ugly tea cup and saucer that she feels is "valuable," and a piece of Lenox (not my taste) she's had for decades that she wants me to keep. I didn't want these things, but of course refusing them would result in hurt feelings. I'd feel guilty throwing them out, selling, or donating them. What to do?

Why do people collect these things? Neither my mother nor my father in law are particularly old, they are not dying anytime soon...if they like these things so much, they should keep them. I don't even own a house yet, and already I am depressed at the amount of space being wasted on other people's junk.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
14,719 posts, read 23,815,850 times
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More than likely some of them are antique guns. My Dad has a handfull he inherited from his Dad. I can only hope I get them someday. Some have octagon barrels. They are pricleless.
I have a Walrus Oosik I've had for years. I big one I had to cut/chop out myself. It will get passed on to my kids some day. Currently neither one of my son's wants anything to do with it. But one of these days they will both be fighting over it.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,487 posts, read 9,472,559 times
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Because it's what they like and figure that it should be kept "in the family". Not everyone has the same tastes and you just have to tell them that you really don't want it (except the antique guns, my father will buy 'em from you).

My parents have given me different things that mean something to them but really are meaningless to me. My mother wanted to give me a set of old tea cups and saucers that have been in our family for a long time but I really don't want them. She insisted that I have them but I kept saying "No, they don't mean as much to me as they do to you" and finally she relented and kept them.

I bet you have things that may mean something to you but have absolutely no meaning to your kids. But it's your taste.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,813 posts, read 8,991,580 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christina0001 View Post
I hate clutter; my husband is a pack rat. Recently he saw his father, who is also a pack rat, and he told my husband that once he and I settle down someplace, he'd like to give my husband some "valuable" things he's collected over the years. His father insists these things not be sold, they are for keeping and passing down to our children. One of the things that he wants to give us, for example, is a set of old guns. My father in law has never used them, he acquired them years ago and they are collecting dust in a closet. I don't like guns. Now you people who do like guns, don't get into a huff - I have no problem with other people having guns, and my father is an avid hunter. I was practically raised on venison and wild turkey. But I don't want guns in the house. My husband has never used one in his entire life; I have and don't care for it, and I have terrible aim. Us having guns in the house seems at best, a waste of space, and at worst, a potential safety hazard. My mother started this recently also; she gave me a very ugly tea cup and saucer that she feels is "valuable," and a piece of Lenox (not my taste) she's had for decades that she wants me to keep. I didn't want these things, but of course refusing them would result in hurt feelings. I'd feel guilty throwing them out, selling, or donating them. What to do?

Why do people collect these things? Neither my mother nor my father in law are particularly old, they are not dying anytime soon...if they like these things so much, they should keep them. I don't even own a house yet, and already I am depressed at the amount of space being wasted on other people's junk.
People collect what attracts them. My grandmother had every windowsill covered in little china figurines. My mother has maybe 1000 pewter animals. I collect gems, cut ones, so when I hasta la pasta I doubt anyone is going to say..." I don't want that junk!", but...not everyone has the same taste.
Hold a garage sale or sell the stuff at auction where people who'd also be interested in it will bid on it and take it off your hands and you make money!
You can also be honest with those trying to give you something "special"....
My dad took me around his house one day and asked me to point out everything I want when he dies. I looked at him and I honestly and frankly said: "Dad, I don't want anything in your house. It's not my taste, but thanks." That was the end of that.
(I sure wish he'd asked me about anything I wanted in his mother's house when she died! I would have loved to have my grandpa's maple Art Deco four poster bedroom suite, the mahogany tv cabinet from the 1950's, and my grandma's china. But nooooooo..... it wasn't HIS taste, so he threw it all out... )
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Lots of sun and palm trees with occasional hurricane :)
8,298 posts, read 10,511,771 times
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My mother doesn't always ask me and I just end up "finding" things at home or when I open a cabinet or something. She'll also come in and "re-arrange" not realizing that my cats can do major digging and running around which can cause some serious damage and loss of the things I like, which are completely opposite to my mother's taste.

It's a problem.

IF, on the off chance, she does ask, I flat out tell her NO. The other day she left me a set of silverware that I gave to her for Mother's Day from when I was like 12 years old. She swears it is a "good" expensive set and I need to take good care of it. Come on! I was 12 and nobody helped me pay for it.

Now that I think of it, she does have a couple of nice Lladro pieces. Those I'll take but those she ain't giving away - yet. :-))
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,813 posts, read 8,991,580 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vpcats View Post
My mother doesn't always ask me and I just end up "finding" things at home or when I open a cabinet or something. She'll also come in and "re-arrange" not realizing that my cats can do major digging and running around which can cause some serious damage and loss of the things I like, which are completely opposite to my mother's taste.

It's a problem.

IF, on the off chance, she does ask, I flat out tell her NO. The other day she left me a set of silverware that I gave to her for Mother's Day from when I was like 12 years old. She swears it is a "good" expensive set and I need to take good care of it. Come on! I was 12 and nobody helped me pay for it.

Now that I think of it, she does have a couple of nice Lladro pieces. Those I'll take but those she ain't giving away - yet. :-))
For this past Christmas, my grandmother (my mom's mom) gave me four crystal goblets. They're beautiful and exquisite taste.... I should know...I bought them for HER and gave them to HER for Christmas about 1993. She probably forgot where they came from and recycled them....
Luckily...I do like them!
My mom picks up stuff from antique stores, the Household section of Ross or wherever and she finds the niftiest stuff and gives them to me. I like what she finds!
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:01 PM
 
Location: a primitive state
6,742 posts, read 11,207,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christina0001 View Post
Ialready I am depressed at the amount of space being wasted on other people's junk.
I admit to having a certain amount of junk, but you know what cured me? I used to help a friend prepare estate sales. We went into so many homes where the owners had died and their children just wanted to get rid of the stuff and make as much money as possible. It was horrifying! Just amazing, useless belongings piled high to the ceiling and out into the garages and porches. Sometimes, try as we might, we could glean little or nothing out of an entire household that was worth the trouble of cleaning out the house. And we were good. Nothing valuable (even if it were good kitsch) would get by us, but it cured me, for sure.

On the flip side of that; owning a few valuable collectibles is as good as having money in the bank, if you are truly willing to part with them when you need to. In the meantime, you can enjoy having them.
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:36 PM
 
Location: "The Gorge"
888 posts, read 2,035,721 times
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Great thread. I am about to make a big move and downsize, a lot. I have been stressing over my "stuff". I guess I am a bit of a pack-rat. I have lots of things that belong to departed family members I have held onto for sentimental reasons. They have traveled with me from attic to attic. The only time they are handled is when I move. I have managed to purge a few times via yard sales and eBay. One persons junk is anothers treasure you know! By the end of April my move will be complete and hopefully I will be rid of lots of "stuff"!
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:39 AM
 
913 posts, read 2,406,447 times
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Like those t-shirts would say..."My Daddy died and all I got were a "Patek Phillippe Collection" and "Original" Barretta & Bennelli guns with Dogs and Birds handcarved.
And to top it all off a ton of stock from Bell South before the break-up...
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Old 03-28-2007, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Nth Degree
23 posts, read 56,348 times
Reputation: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellie View Post
I admit to having a certain amount of junk, but you know what cured me? I used to help a friend prepare estate sales. We went into so many homes where the owners had died and their children just wanted to get rid of the stuff and make as much money as possible. It was horrifying! Just amazing, useless belongings piled high to the ceiling and out into the garages and porches. Sometimes, try as we might, we could glean little or nothing out of an entire household that was worth the trouble of cleaning out the house. And we were good. Nothing valuable (even if it were good kitsch) would get by us, but it cured me, for sure.

On the flip side of that; owning a few valuable collectibles is as good as having money in the bank, if you are truly willing to part with them when you need to. In the meantime, you can enjoy having them.
Wow,
You sound very Cold, morbid and heartless
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