Monday, January 13, 2014

Storage Wars

Gardeners have as many personality differences as the rest of the population, it only shows in a much grander scale for all the world to see.

According to an article in "Dave's Garden", there are 58,000 storage units worldwide and 46,000 are located in the United States.  We've taken COLLECTING to a whole new level.  Approximately 2.35 billion square feet of storage and that doesn't include what we push around at home.

The reasons for collecting garden items are as varied as the things we collect.  A few obvious are:

  • Gifts of sentimental value.
  • Focus on one particular item (angels, gazing balls, birdhouses and etc.)
  • The monetary value.
  • A design element.
  • Owning ample acreage.
  • Phycological reasons beyond this article's spectrum.  

We all know the person whose yard looks like they are about ten years past opening their own thrift shop.  They have so many things in the yard of varied compatibility it's difficult to understand the desired design.  Are you one of those people who is seriously edging towards the "crazy gazing ball lady" or "Bubba's house of junk metal" title?

Here's some ideas on how to get a grip on garden collecting and what to do with "the extras".

First off, I understand sentimental collecting.  It starts with dad's garden shovel and ends with every shovel ever possessed by any relative, friend or auction house.  "Oh!  there's one from lower Spain made of tree roots."  "The patina must mean the handle is copper coated!"  "Look!  It's a child's shovel!"

If it's a collection in earnest, we begin to find new places to display the objects:  The side of the garage (guilty!), inside the barn, in the flower beds, hanging from trees.  Occasionally, collectors erect new buildings just to house or display their items or develop new flower beds to accommodate a collection.

Starting now when you're not so busy helps the process.  Assess your garden collections.  Are they things that still hold value for you?  Ask yourself:

  • Does the person who gave you the (fill in the blank) even remember or care?  
  • Do you remember the person or where you got an item?  
  • Has it been mostly destroyed by the elements?
  • Have you changed your focus?
  • Do you have too many/much to display and must store a portion?
  • Are the things in your yard distracting from it's natural beauty?
  • Do you throw the broken (fill in the blank) in a drawer thinking you'll repair but never do?

If you answered "yes" to any of these, you might want to consider purging some items.

Make a box (or several) marked "GIVE AWAY".  Start small, perhaps opening one drawer in the garage this winter.  How many broken hand clippers does any gardener need?  Have you really ever (I mean EVER) sharpened or repaired a hand clipper?  If not, put in the "Give Away" box.  Using a "Give Away" box helps the hopelessly thrifty collector to feel better about throwing away.  It isn't destroying - it's giving someone else a chance to collect your stuff.

I use thrift shops to dispose of my no longer needed but still in decent condition stuff.  (Do not give them things no sane person would want - it makes more work for them and they have to pay to dispose of your junk.  Not exactly philanthropic.)  Using a thrift shop helps me feel my efforts are for the good of mankind.  I know - a little grandiose but it helps this collector through the process.

Once a box is full, immediately take it to the thrift shop so you won't walk by and retrieve something.  You know you will!  Here are some local disposal options:

Galva Iron and Metal (they pay by the pound for junk metal)
625 S.E. Industrial Ave., Galva IL  309 932-3450

Salvation Army, 206 W. 2nd St., Kewanee IL  309-853-4192

Abilities Plus Resale Shop,  310 N. Main St., Kewanee IL  309-852-4626  

Most every area has their own thrift stores benefiting philanthropic programs.  If donating to a thrift store isn't your thing, many antique stores sell items on consignment or have a backyard sale.    For me, the thought of doing MORE work with my junk isn't in the cards.

And if I see you on "Hoarders" - remember you've been warned!        

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