Mom was a child during the Great Depression, could that have a bearing on why she saves & hides plastic containers? - AgingCare.com

Mom was a child during the Great Depression, could that have a bearing on why she saves & hides plastic containers?

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She also wraps things in plastic bags exspecially nonperishable foods and hides them. Her home is pretty neat until you open up a drawer or closet. Could her growing up without things during the depression era have something to do with the fact that she hides these items throughout the home?

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My experience is similar to Blannie's. My parents saved things, and I do too if I can reuse them or can't recycle them.

We also learned a very useful ethic in using and reusing what we could. While this ethic is laughed at or ridiculed by some these days, we had our own method of recycling long before it became standard, or even mandatory in some areas.

We made out own clothes, grew much of our food, kept cars until they were on their last legs, and Dad built all the cabinets in the kitchen, remodeled it as well as the bath, and built a beautiful butcher block set of counters and cabinets that Norm Abrams would admire. He saved thousands of dollars, which eventually became available for his use during his last days.

There's a big difference between hoarding and saving for reuse. I'm appalled at how easily things are discarded these days, with the attitude - "you can buy it cheaper". And unfortunately, we can, given the junk that's commonly available.

I think there's a happy medium between hoarding, recycling and considering the wasteful discards of items. And I think there's an art to using how to repurpose items.

I think people who had to stand in bread lines or heat up bricks to put in beds to keep them warm at night view saving much differently from those who have the latest in electric gadgets.

And since i'm on a rant, I can't believe that people waste money on Alexa and other talking machines. How much effort does it take to look up weather either online, or by studying clouds and the kinds of trees with leaves that turn upward in a storm? What do these people do all day when there are speaking machines to tell them literally everything? What real choices do they have to make?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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My mom (born in 1919) had what I called her "box boutique". She saved every box she got, from empty candy boxes to any kind of shipping box, "in case she needed it". She could have opened her own UPS or Fedex store, LOL She'd also buy toilet bowl cleaner on sale and when they moved from their house into a senior facility, there must have been 20 bottles of cleaner. Mom saved everything. Old wrapping paper, string, you name it, she saved it. It was definitely from growing up in the Depression and growing up poor on a farm. But she and my dad (who was similar but not quite as bad) taught my brother and me to be frugal, which has stood us both in good stead.
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There's a difference between being frugal and hoarding, a frugal person can recognize that all those margarine tubs saved since 1960 can easily be replaced whereas a hoarder will cling to them as if they are too valuable to throw away.
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Reply to cwillie
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Absolutely it’s because they grew up in the Great Depression!
My mom never threw any food away. She thought there was a purpose for everything and that everything could be recycled.
Humor her. Throw those things out in a few weeks- she won’t remember.
She isn’t going to change I suggest adapting yourself to it. Choose your battles. Let this go.
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Reply to Shane1124
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In further defense of our depression era parents.

There must be dozens of different categories to divide hoarders into. It’s another “spectrum” to consider.

I’m sure people who collect Jimmy Choo shoes don’t consider themselves hoarders. Go back and read the Mayo definition. It’s a tricky one. One mans treasure another mans trash etc.

My mother born in 1918, (100 this May) spent her money on land but anything that crossed her threshold was not likely to exit.

I could list examples that would go on and on and I saw her many times provide others with just the thing they needed to solve a problem.

As the person who inherited her home and her eye for possibilities I sometimes think there should be a game show (at least a board game) for naming all the possibilities for any random item that most of us would toss.

So I’m going to say that there are many reasons to keep items that you perceive as worthless. I’m sorry you don’t have the life experiences (thankfully-possibly) that taught you the benefit of a plastic container.

At what point do you decide the exact number of any given item is the right number? ( actually I do decide on a magic number for things that seem to be growing).

At what date do you give up on the idea that you will make that quilt you’ve been saving the scraps for? Well...I guess you would have had to be a fabric person. Don’t go there if you haven’t already.

My husband says we have to move if I collect anymore books. (These are exempt IMO).
He wants to take a road trip this weekend to an outlet mall to buy pots! I’m betting he will not recycle one of the many pots in our cupboards. Can you tell who cooks at our house? But with all my books I can’t complain. Lol

If your mom’s items are hidden, I’d say she’s done a good job on managing any hoarder inclination she might have been burdened with.

In one of my in laws kitchen drawers I found many neatly folded white prescription paper bags. I never remember an occasion when one of those bags were used for anything?? But they were perfectly good bags??? I get it.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Dear Nana,

My grandmother and both my parents were savers. My mother can repurpose almost everything. Every bag, container, jar was saved. It was hard for me because I'm more of a minimalist. But growing up poor my mother just knew you had to keep what you have. There was no one around to give you anything.

My parents found it very hurtful and painful when I tried to help "clean" up. They thought I was being disrespectful and wasteful. As long as the house is safe and things have a proper place, I would try and let them have their way.
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Reply to cdnreader
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CWilie makes a good point. All those margarine tubs could be hosts to dozens of little seedlings, especially ones like cucurbits that spread as they grow. It's a lot cheaper to reuse them that way than buy new Jiffy 7's each year, unless of course you have your own peat bog and make your own Jiffy pots.

Foam carryout containers can also be used for growing seeds, and what better way to use them than to help provide your own food?
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Reply to GardenArtist
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If my boss starts going out the office door to throw away a box in the dumpster I will tackle him. I cannot toss away a "good box". I use to flatten out the boxes, pull off the tapes and labels, and save them in the basement. Said flatten box was good under the car to catch any fluid drips.

Many a time my boss would ask me if I had a small box as he wanted to send some small toys to his great-grandkids.... yep, I have the perfect box for him :) He finally stopped teasing me of being the "keeper of the boxes".

Thank goodness for weekly recycling at the curb. I can put the boxes out and not feel terrible. I do think twice whenever I get a Chewy pet food box, gosh those boxes are thick, too good to recycle at the curb :P
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Reply to freqflyer
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Haha, FreqFlyer, I had to laugh at your post. My mom had her box boutique and I inherited a small piece of that. I took my recycling to our big city bins yesterday and there was a perfectly good paper box with a lid (for reams of paper). SCORE - I felt a small thrill when I saw it! Those are good boxes - just the perfect size! I have it in my trunk. I'm in the process of moving, so I have a good reason, but I definitely inherited the "a good box should never go to waste" gene from my mom. So you are not alone. :) Oh, and I use my straws over and over again, like SueC's dad.
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Reply to blannie
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Ah this brings back loads of memories for me too.

I think I am a little bit of a 'hoarder' BUT I could tell you exactly what each of the items I have 'rescued' can be reused for. :)

We also save good paper bags, you can grease them up and cover the chicken or meat, in the oven. (no grease proof paper)

Large ish jars or bottles, can have the tops cut of (with a grinder - then rounded for little vases)

Small ones are good for sorting coloured buttons, hooks and eyes, screws etc

Never buy a plant pot, chipped cups and bowls do this well.

Old wellington boots (gumboots) can repair soles on shoes.

Soooooo many things.
As I expect you can guess, we grew up with nothing, then rationing so everything had a value.

I feeel for you but I do understand how it happens.
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Reply to BuzzyBee
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