Is Procrastination a Collector Item?

Assorted office glotch
Our daughter calls it “assorted glotch”. In crossword puzzles it’s “olio”. My favourite word for it is “stuff” or for the very special things, “really good stuff”.

Most of us have secret collections hidden from view somewhere. Perhaps you have a drawer in the kitchen or a box in the garage. Maybe it’s your night stand or a foot stool, in a closet or under a bed. 

You might be one of those people really good at throwing things out. I'm not! I'm also lousy at admitting to anyone that I might have a "small" problem.

Let me explain my mania

My nightstand drawer
My stuff is cleverly stashed in my night stand, a drawer in my home office and a drawer in the kitchen. But there are also boxes and cupboards and hooks holding really good stuff in the garage and in the furnace room.

Hooks are a junk collector's best friend. It's amazing how much really good stuff can be suspended from rafters and studs. Once bagged and hung, you can forget about whatever it is for years. Yes, I have more than one collection of maybe I’ll need it one day items.

For example

I have at least five watches. Own, yes. Wear, no.  None of them work because they long ago needed batteries and I never did get to a battery store. For a while, as one stopped ticking, I’d switch to the next. Then one day all the ticking stopped. Besides, my smartphone tells me everything I need to know whenever my wife lets me check it.

How many dried up fifty cent pens does a person really need? And, why hold on to them along with pencils that haven’t been sharpened and bits of crayon? Oh, and can you imagine another use for those white plastic thingy’s that close up bags of bread.

I have three stacks of business cards for people at companies I've never called. Business cards are a good way to use some of those elastics saved from daily newspaper delivery.

I must have half a dozen out of date cell phones because what will you do if you lose or break the one you’re using now? This is a misguided interpretation of having a back-up plan. Or, the procrastinators way of saying I’ll take them to recycling one day.

Really good garage stuff
Nuts, bolts, buttons, screws, various nails (some of them bent), worn out or broken tools, a few dead batteries, some rat poison (because you just don’t know when the rats will invade), several hundred wine corks for that do it yourself project you never did do (collecting those was fun), cans of this and jars of that, nearly empty cans and bottles of spray something or other because you don’t want to waste anything, a handful of old Playboy magazines (saved for the really good articles you plan to read again someday), every badge, medal or certificate your kids ever received in school or sports (they don’t even want them), a hubcap from a car you wish you still owned, dozens of rags and old tea towels carefully preserved in Safeway bags hanging on a bent nail.

Retired hockey equipment
And then there's the long since retired sports equipment in case you decide to make a comeback, miscellaneous parts for miscellaneous appliances, plumbing, electrical and sprinkler systems (mostly from homes you sold years ago), bits and pieces of lumber (for those other do-it-yourself projects) and my favourite, all the things you still believe might be worth something someday (collector items to be sold on one of those internet sites if you had the time to figure out how).

I am a shining example of a guy with excuses

Electronic glotch
Every year we have spring clean-up and every year I find a reason to hang on to my stuff when logic and proportion are screaming “stop that right now”.  But I have laughed at the proliferation of uncontrolled glotch until now. I no longer want to do-it-myself. If something needs to be painted or repaired there’s a specialist for that. We've reached an age when downsizing is no longer a story in a magazine. It’s a lifestyle change we’re actually planning to make. Or, we can sit on the deck with a glass of wine and think about this some more. Procrastination just might be a collector item.

PS. I write a column for a magazine called North of 50, published monthly in the Okanagan Valley. A version of Is Procrastination a Collector Item appeared in the May issue.