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Everyday Cheapskate: What to Do When You Have Too Many of These Things

Mary Hunt on

Before we get going here, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have an inner hoarder who puts up quite a fuss from time to time. I've managed to tame her, but now and again, she gets out. Before I know it, I have 48 boxes of borax on my storage shelves or 9,082 skeins of yarn in my stash. Just kidding -- sort of. Just justification is always, "Just in case we go through a season of scarcity," right? I see some heads nodding in full understanding.

Look -- excessive accumulation is not always a sign of a disorder. Having a few things extra of those you'll need in the future is actually the sign of a wise person. It's a great way to save money when those things are on sale for say, 50% off. But should this accumulation thing get out of hand, it's good to know how to reasonably get rid of the following given as examples:


I totally understand how this happens. I am a writer, but not much of a reader. I reference and skim nonfiction works, but mostly online. So why did I haul more than 4,000 books to the local library for their use and to used book sales when we packed up and moved to another state? I can't explain it. And I still packed up another 1,000 or so to take with me. Learn from my mistakes; start sooner than later. Regift those you know will be treasured or at least read by people on your gift list. Sell textbooks online. Search "get rid of books." is a good site; also check Take a list of the titles and authors to a local used bookstore. Check with your local public library. Mine took every last title I was willing to part with, and with gratitude.


It's weird, but does it seem to you as it does to me that flower vases reproduce in the dark of night? So. Many. Vases! It's hard to toss them out when they might be useful. A reader once sent me this helpful hint: Load them up and take them to your local florist. Seriously! Many times, they include a vase with an order. In fact, perhaps the ones you have came from that flower shop. I acted on this tip, and it was a win-win. They gave me flowers as a "thank you" for such a kind and awesome thing to do. Another idea: Search Pinterest for how to recycle flower vases. The ideas are so amazing that if you're not careful you may find yourself in search of more vases instead of getting rid of them.



They get worn-out or start to look shabby, but it's hard to toss towels when they are still functional. So don't. Instead, consider donating towels and other linens to your local animal shelter, animal hospital or veterinarian. But don't just drop and run. First, give them a call to see what they can use. You may be surprised when they tell you "anything!" Another idea is to recycle those towels into garage and car-washing rags. Sheets that are free of holes and stains will be welcomed donations by your local thrift stores.


They take up a lot of space in the typical kitchen. Like our clothes closets, we must ask the necessary yes or no question: Have I used this in the past 6 months? OK, make that a year to include all the holidays, or even two years to be safe. Those that get a no and are in excellent condition will make great fodder for your next garage sale or a donation drive.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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