Don’t Throw That Out

There was a comedian on The Bob & Tom Show awhile back that commented on how Hoarders and American Pickers are two sides of the same coin. They both feature people going into people’s homes where they kept everything and never threw anything out. On the one show they talk about how sick these people are and that they need help while on the other show they talk about how amazing these people are and how they are preserving rare bits of the past. My wife sometimes accuses me of being a hoarder while I think of myself more as preserving the past. The thing is, every time I give in to her and throw something out, I always end up regretting it. It’s been that way all my life.

Now let me be clear. I do not have a house that you can’t walk through with stacks of empty milk cartons and half eaten peanut butter sandwiches stacked from floor to ceiling. I do however have a large collection of books, magazines, toys, DVDs and CDs. I also have a collection of candy bar wrappers. Okay, that one may seem a bit strange, but hear me out. As a child I used to love going to 7-11 and buying candy bars. One of my favorites was the original Marathon bar. One of my fondest memories of my years going to National Education Center’s National Institute of Technology was going to the Ben Franklin’s next door and buying a candy bar for break. I was quite fond of the Mars bar. Neither of these candies are produced any longer, and as I watched more and more limited edition candy bars come and go like the inside out Reese’s Cup, I decided to save some of the wrappers. I began by carefully removing the candy and then placing the wrapper in an old photo album. I’m a little behind in placing some of my wrappers into the photo albums, but one day I will. And while this may sound like the collection of a mad man, it’s actually pretty cool in my opinion. I love seeing how M&Ms have tried all these new flavors and promotions over the last few years. There’s a crispy M&M wrapper, a white chocolate M&M wrapper done for one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, ogre sized M&Ms for one of the Shrek films, raspberry, orange, candy corn, and all sorts of other specialty flavors.

My wife has tried to convince me (half jokingly) to throw the old wrappers away, but to me they are little pieces of art. Also I know as soon as I do, I will immediately regret it. I used to have several years worth of Entertainment Weekly and in an effort to cut back on the amount of stuff I have, I agreed to throw them out. They were magazines and they were for the most part written to recap the entertainment news of a particular week. Why would I ever want to refer back to them. About two months later I was cursing the decision as I tried my best to locate an article they had done on scenes that had been cut or altered in Fantasia only to realize that issue was one of the ones that got pitched. I ended up buying most of the issues back through eBay. A similar thing apparently happened with some old composition notebooks I used to have. These books contained a listing and mini review for every film I had seen from around 1976 until 1982. They told where I saw it, when I saw it, and who I saw it with as well. I would love to have them to look back over now, but I think they got tossed during one of our moves. There is still hope that they may be packed in one of the books in the attic that we haven’t moved over to the new house yet. The only thing for certain is that I will never replace them on eBay.

I’m not sure why it’s so hard for me to throw out stuff like this, but it is. I have successfully pitched some magazines without any regrets (Esquire, Interview, Radio Electronics), but then I have regrets over purges of other magazines from as far back as Junior High. I have made some horrible trades for things I was really excited about at the time. I traded a Mego Star Trek Enterprise play set for a daybill style ad for Futureworld and I traded a stack of old EC comics for the first appearance of the Swamp Thing. I sold a huge collection of Fantastic Four comics for far less than I should have to help finance a trip to Canada back in High School (and then ended up not going on the trip because I didn’t get enough money) and sold some Aurora Monsters of the Movies model kits for money to buy some Doctor Who paperbacks at a science fiction convention.

So I have a collection of lots of useless geegaws that mean nothing to most people, but they still mean something to me. I have my original 1978 Star Wars calendar in the original mailing carton it was sold in. It will never be 1978 again, but for me there is a tiny bit of the magic from that wonderful time in my life trapped inside those pages. It contains the fuel that lights 1000 memories of my childhood. How could I possibly part with that?


6 thoughts on “Don’t Throw That Out

  1. Amba

    I know exactly how you feel. All my friends and family tease me about being a hoarder because I refuse to throw away most things-you just never know when you need them! But frankly, I think your idea of collecting candy wrappers over time is amazing! Imagine when your grand-kids see what kind of crazy candy we ate 🙂 By the way the Mars bar went out of production??? I had no clue 😦 I used to love them. I really wish I had written down the details of every movie I saw too, those memories would have been nice to hold on to 🙂 Lovely article!

    1. sivrag2 Post author

      The Mars bar morphed into the Snickers with Almonds although Wal-Mart actually had a retro batch of Mars bars a year or so back. What’s funny is that the wife’s grandparents were people that would never throw anything away. Her grandpa worked at a school as a custodian and would bring home every single pencil nub that was dropped or thrown away. If a building was being torn down, he would take a hammer and knock out all the used nails and take them home. When they passed away we helped her parents clean their house out and found jars of meat that they had canned during WWII.

      1. Amba

        Wow that makes me feel like a novice hoarder 🙂 But then I guess times were very different back then and hoarding was just a form of security 🙂

  2. Lynn Daue

    Wow, that’s actually really cool. I’m a bit of a purger myself, especially lately, but I just came across a folder of old letters that I wouldn’t DREAM of pitching. I can’t do it!

    1. sivrag2 Post author

      Actually I have a huge stack of letters from some friends I made back in high school in the early 80s before email and Facebook. They’re packed in a letter holder that I made in Junior High shop class somewhere in the attic at the old house. Man I miss those guys, but at least I still have their letters.

  3. The Cutter

    I can relate, as I don’t like to throw anything out. But I recently moved, and like it or not, some of the stuff had to go. I found that I don’t miss it all that much. If anything, lessening the clutter has made it easier to find and appreciate what is left.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s