Not that my accountant is a hoarder, you understand. He is a very nice man.
I'm not sure why I like "Hoarders" so much. Maybe it is because I am a terrible housekeeper and I feel better looking at the state of the hoarder's houses. (I can tell myself "at least I'm not that bad!"). Or maybe I view the show as a kind of warning to myself (and Himself) that there are definitely hoardy tendencies at work in this household, and if it isn't nipped in the bud, we may end up on that show ourselves in 20 years' time.
Or maybe I'm a sucker for a good makeover.
The other part of the equation came from the accountant. Himself often works from home, so the accountant was calculating what percentage of our house was taken up by this and what value that percentage has.
...and that got me thinking a rather obvious thought.
How much does it cost me to keep all the junk I keep?
Of course it's not all junk, but having been raised by parents who were born during the Depression and grew up in Europe during wartime rationing, I do have a tendency to hang on to more Stuff than I should for three primary reasons
- In case I might need it someday. How may times have I gotten rid of something, only to find myself needing it three days later?
- It's too good to just throw out/ It might be worth something.
- It has sentimental value.
...which may be all well and good, but the accountant planted the seed that I am paying ...something for every square inch of my house. I wondered if I calculated the actual value of that space against some of the objects that occupy it, would this inspire me to throw more stuff out?
So I set me up a wee spreadsheet with some rough-but well-in-the-ballpark figures. I factored mortgage, property taxes, utilities (except phone cable and Internet, because the Stuff doesn't use it, but it goes get heated, cooled and maybe watered) and maintenance. I calculated the square footage of the house. Then I tweaked the square footage a bit. I decided closets, dressers and other such areas were to be reckoned at half value, because they are there expressly for storage and we don't live in them. I had originally decided they were free, but they are not. Junk kept in a closet will prevent non-junk from being stored there and tops of dressers are major clutter magnets for me. So half-price seemed a fair compromise.
When I had tweaked and jiggled, I came up with a number: $1.12 per square foot, $0.09 per square inch. Per month. So that bottle of expired eyedrops in the medicine cabinet is costing me roughly 4.5¢ per month to house, heat and cool; with absolutely no return value. Because it is EXPIRED. And my taxes pay for some big burly men to come and haul shit away a few times per week. I really ought to be using that service more and I might have more house to actually live in.
Those eye drops opened my eyes in a way the manufacturer never anticipated.
Unfortunately, this revelation coincided with a bit of a symptom escalation, so I haven't been able to do much about it. Yet. I have set a bunch of books and videos aside for donation. however, I have been looking at objects in the house in a whole new light; eyeing them more suspiciously, wondering if they are worth the cost of their keep and the tiny percentage of my living space they occupy?
I figured the Elmo videos have definitely outlasted their value. But my yarn: well, that's going nowhere.