Software for the finest computer – The Mind

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Posted by Tim Bryce on June 28, 2013


– Not the important stuff, the inconsequential items.

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It’s interesting the types of objects we collect and never seem to throw away. I’m not talking about sentimental things like photographs, just the general brik a brak we are more inclined to keep instead of discarding. With me, its cigar boxes and coffee cans. I’ve used them to store everything from nails and other hardware, to tickets, baseball cards, and other trinkets. I think of them as handy storage units and, as such, hate to throw them away, even if I have an ample supply of them. Most of the time I’ll ask friends and colleagues if they want them, but most decline. Inevitably, it is with deep regret that I finally decide to throw them in the garbage. What a waste.

There are other miscellaneous items we do not like to dispose of:

Shipping boxes are typically collected with the thought they can be used to mail something to a family member or friend. They are particularly handy for birthdays and the Christmas holidays, but we tend to collect too many of them. I’ve also seen boxes that have been reused many times over the years. I think some were made back in the 60’s.

Towels and cloths have a long life expectancy. Even after we have stopped using them in the bathroom they end up in a rag bag for outdoor use, such as washing cars. Have you noticed the rag bag only gets bigger, never smaller?

Just about every household has some sort of container to collect spare change. We used an old wine jug for years to collect spare change. When we finally “cashed out,” I was amazed how much we had collected. It was easily over $100. I have seen several households though where they are never emptied and sent to the bank. I don’t think a lot of people want to waste their time with pennies, nickels, and dimes.

A lot of homes seem to collect an inordinate amount of refrigerator magnets, some with such an extensive array of pictures it is difficult to see the refrigerator behind them. Every now and then you should clean those out.

Records, CD’s, DVD’s, and VHS tapes abound in a lot of homes. I still have quite an impressive collection of 33 LP’s from my youth, as well as 45’s. Fortunately, I still have a decent turntable and will occasionally play an “oldie.” However, I know a lot of people who have maintained their record collections but have nothing to play them on. I also do not use CD’s much anymore. My kids collected a mountain of them which were quickly abandoned when the iPod was introduced. I am reluctant to dispose of them as I realize it was a substantial investment.

There are people who have collected magazines over the years, even though this is something that has essentially evaporated over time. I have some copies of “LIFE” from the 60’s featuring the space race and other newsworthy events from that decade. I also have some “TV Guides” from back then as well. People also like to keep their old “Playboys,” which I’m told are now worth a lot of money. The one magazine though that most people are hesitant to dispose of is “National Geographic.” I know of dozens of homes with extensive “NATGEO” collections, some weighing so much they bend the shelves they sit upon. My parents kept their copies for years until I finally helped clean them out. Your first inclination is to give them to the local library. If you want to see horror in the eyes of someone, bring your copies of “NATGEO” to your librarian. They will only throw them away.

People also like to keep the cheap plastic pots that plants come in. I’m not sure why. They are cleaned out, dutifully stacked, and tucked away in a garage or shed where they do nothing more than take up space and collect dust. I guess this is one of those “You never know…” type of items.

Parents like to keep old board games their offspring played with during their youth. I think it’s a law that every household must have a copy of “Monopoly” tucked away in a closet somewhere. My mom also has an old “Parcheesi” set, as well as checkers and chess which nobody has used in several decades, and an old Erector Set. By the way, does anybody remember Chinese Checkers?

There are lots of other items people collect, such as old cameras, spices in the kitchen, even paper sales receipts for insignificant items.

I’m sure there are many more items I’m overlooking but these are the things that come to mind. Some we collect due to sentimental value or we perceive them as investments, others we believe will have some practical use sometime in the future. The reality though is that most of it just belongs in the garbage.

With that said, does anyone need a coffee can or cigar box?

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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LAST TIME:  SNAPPED – That’s it; enough is enough; leave me alone!

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  1. Tim Bryce said

    An M.M. of Cincinnati, Ohio wrote…

    “Good article. Regarding “a lot of people who have maintained their record collections but have nothing to play them on,” there’s no reason why anyone who really wants to play them couldn’t do so. Simply google “record player” or “turntable” and you’ll find plenty available for under $100 – so the price (as well as “The Bryce”) is right.”


  2. said

    Now I have to fill a trash bag with the “stuff” I should never have kept in the first place. If we could only get your mother to do the same. She keeps saying that she has to clean out her closet, cupboards and garage. We just don’t ever seem to get around to doing it as it would probably consume a substantial amount of times, maybe days if not weeks. Thanks for the inspiration, I’ll get right on it.


  3. Tim Bryce said

    An M.M. of Iowa wrote…

    “Yes, a good article and so true to life. My problem is I collect all of our birthday, Mom and Pop Days, etc cards and have a lot of those. Photos albums, too and old cameras I think may be of some value are in my closet, too. Souvenirs from trip I will not take again also fill up boxes.”


  4. Alton Walston said

    Collection, who me? The first spray can of paint that I ever used had a rattle in it. Used to stir the paint but I was curious and I cut the can open and to my joy found a marble. That was over40 year ago, can you imagine how many marble I have. I could not throw a paint can away with out extracting the marble. 50 years ago, some one gave me a pocket knife as a gift, it was ornamental and useless as knife but I kept it. Today my collection of knives will fill a dresser drawer. Fifty years ago on our aniversary, I bought my wife a cake at a cake sale on the street, It came with a Blue and White dinner plate. Today her collection of Blue and White dinner plates numbers over 300. Most of which hang on our living room walls. I don’t smoke cigars but I have a friend who does and I am the beneficiary of the empty boxes. So much so that I built a 4 foot by 6 foot rack to hold them and today that is my hardware and parts supply for my model airplane shop. I seem to collect a few food cans too. But storage got to be a problem and I now only have a few. But the two biggest things I have a problem throwing away are balsa scraps and sandpaper. My shop is clutter with both, I have boxes of each. I finally threw some sandpaper away the to other day when a friend asked me why I had some plain paper in with my sandpaper. It was that used. Folks bring me all sorts of junk. I dutifully tear it apart and save screws, nuts and bolts and springs and shafts and plastic gears and all sorts of other parts. However you might be surprised to learn just how many repairs on things I have been able to make with this “junk” Sure, it take up a lot of room but having it offer a consolation that somewhere some time. I just might have what it takes to repair that toaster for the old lady down the street or fix the wheel on my neighbors grandsons toy truck. Shucks, I Love fixing things for folks. So my collection of bits and pieces of odd things grow daily. but the payoff for my collections is that apple pie becuause I was able to fix an oven or that gift card at Christmas because I was able to repair and old fishing reel. There are other rewards too for fixing things, Like great smile and hugs and that occasional pat on the back and the words, you are a genius, that keep me in collection mode. Any cigar boxes you want to send my way will be welcome. I need more hardware storage anyway. Or call m y brother Jay in Dunedin and drop them off at his house and he will send them to me. Jay Walston 727-418-9544

    Keepin the faith Regards ole Blake



  5. awriterweavesatale said

    I like this Tim. I think it would fit in well with next issue of The Woven Tale Press:
    you interested? email me at referencing this url.


  6. […] Twitter Facebook ← THINGS WE NEVER THROW AWAY […]


  7. My first wife got rid of my Playboys…bet that cost me a fortune. What about a nice “Hustler” collection? LOL! I have most of the stuff you mentioned…at least the stuff that is of no value now. Here’s a tip on the cigar boxes…they can be used to make four string guitars and ukes. Check out YouTube for “Cigarbox Guitars”. People take pride in making them from scratch with salvaged parts, etc. You just might have a thriving business base there in front of ya! ~WB


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