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eastsideTim UberDork
11/4/19 6:09 p.m.

TL:DR - I have too much stuff for the space and time I have.

Anyone ever managed to stop hoarding a bunch of projects, car parts, and tools, at least voluntarily?  I've come to the conclusion that I just have too much stuff, and not enough space, and that has severely hampered my ability to work on any of my various projects.  When I have to spend at least 15 minutes shuffling stuff around just to start working on something, it kind of kills my motivation.  Not to mention the problem of knowing I have something, but having to buy it again, because I can't find it in my hoard.  And of course, the expense of renting storage.

At this point, I have a slightly oversized two car garage, and I rent a 10x10 storage unit.  I can only fit one car in the garage.  Once my utility trailer sells, I could move down to a 5x10 storage locker.  Quite a bit is on shelves so the spaces are pretty full vertically, too.  

Here's what I've got:

In the driveway:
-The ratty Miata - It needs to go into the garage for a while this winter for timing belt, water pump, valve stem seals, HLAs, and some cosmetic and electrical work.  I'd have a hard time getting rid of it, because its the most fun to drive car I own.  However, I've considered selling it and my daily driver for a used ND or NC PRHT.
-The V8 S10 - It was supposed to be my challenge car for the last 3 years, but that time has passed.  It runs well enough for me to use it around town, and has been very handy as I've been hauling stuff from the garage and storage locker to the scrapper.  For that reason, plus a desire to build something with truly outrageous power, I'd like to keep it.  I also like the nostalgia effect it has - My first several cars were rear wheel drive GM clunkers.
-My wife and I's daily drivers.  

In the garage:
-Super Beetle:  My wife and I's road rally and rallycross car.  It's not going anywhere.  It's also not completely weatherproof, so it can only be stored outside on dry days, or it needs to be covered up.
-Three motorscooters (2 street, 1 race):  I've tried to sell the race bike ages ago very cheaply, but there isn't much of a market for that.  Tempted to see if I can sell the engine and use the chassis for an electric project in the future.  I'm giving myself through next spring on the scooters, since I've haven't been riding in a while, mostly because everything else seems to be taking up too much time, and partially because traffic has been getting bad enough near me that I may be losing my nerve for riding two wheelers on the street.  If I can't get back to riding, I'll have too sell them.
-Tons of tools - I've got a rolling toolbox, plus several other portable boxes, and some on shelves.  A decent number of duplicates of hand tools, as I like having backups around, but I've probably taken it too far.
-Spare parts for all the cars.  I've already ditched a bunch of spares for the S10, and hope to whittle down the Miata parts after working on it over the winter
-A couple of sets of tires - winter set for my daily, and the rallycross tires for the Beetle.
-A couple of small engines for minibike projects I want to work on.
-Loads of various automotive fluids.
-Just a bunch of random stuff.
-My bicycle.
-My lawn mower and pressure washer - I don't want to stash them in the decrepit shed in the backyard.

In the storage locker:
-The stock suspension for the S10, and some other parts, like a manual steering box, and a wiring harness from the engine donor.  For some reason I have a hard time getting rid of it, partially on the off chance I could fit the S10 under budget for next year's challenge, if I switch back to some of those pieces.
-My utility trailer - trying to sell it, hopefully it'll be gone this week.
-minibike frame.
-several bins/boxes of scooter parts.  I keep these around primarily because some of it could be useful when I build the minibikes, but I've been running into time/space constraints for getting the work done, so they sit.
-A few rarely used tools, like my slide hammer, and the toaster oven for when I need to heat up parts for installs.
-Winter tires for my wife's car.
-wife's bicycle.
-Other stuff I'm forgetting.

I should really take some pictures, maybe that would help for determining what I can and can't get rid of.  Part of me thinks I should get another locker, just for the winter (yeah right), so I can fit the Miata and the Beetle in the garage to work on over the winter, then have space to work on other things, like the minibikes, when the Miata is done.  Another part of me thinks I should just sell, scrap, or burn everything and start over.  My wife and I both have hoarding tendencies, and hobbies that encourage it (me - cars and Legos, her - knitting, sewing, and other crafts), and the house is overloaded, too, but I am trying to work on that.

Anyone got advice on how to handle all of this?  I know a lot of people on the board have way more, but I suspect they have more space, too.  I feel like if I was forced to get rid of it, I could, but since I am not in a circumstance where I have to, its a lot harder, especially since it seems like I'd save very little money downsizing my storage, and have to give up on more things I've wanted to do (dropping out of the challenge hit me really hard this year).  But on the other side, it seems like I spend way too much time cleaning and organizing everything, instead of actually accomplishing something.  I've tried to stop taking on new projects, and have been mostly successful for the past year, except for an ill-fated attempt to put together a car for a relative, and various household maintenance issues that have arisen.



JamesMcD SuperDork
11/4/19 6:20 p.m.

I'm getting very close to the scrap and burn, then start over plan. 

frenchyd UberDork
11/4/19 6:23 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

First give up the idea of getting anywhere near their real value.  Stuff that you paid $50 for might not even get a call at $5. Unless that's exactly what somebody needs right now.  (and then chances are they'll offer you less) 

Either you rip the bandage off or continue to live with  junk.  I've done it several times and always regretted it later.  But every single time it absolutely had to be done.  

EvanB MegaDork
11/4/19 6:23 p.m.

I'm cursed by having a lot of space so i can justify to myself keeping stuff around. I try to go through stuff at least once a year to throw out or sell stuff i don't use or never will. It isn't always much but it slowly chips away at it and keeps it organized for the most part. Let's just not talk about the wheels and tires.

RevRico PowerDork
11/4/19 6:25 p.m.

When you have extra money for a bad idea, send it to me for my bad ideas instead.

Although lack of funds certainly hasn't helped my junk collecting.

T.J. MegaDork
11/4/19 6:30 p.m.

Move to a different time zone every 2-6 years. 

vwcorvette UltraDork
11/4/19 6:32 p.m.

If you find the cure, please let me know. I just added a car port. And I have a car in another town with an extra set of tools (curse you Harbor Freight) there so I can work on it.

Patrick MegaDork
11/4/19 6:35 p.m.

I usually list everything here and put the rest out at the street with a free sign, then manage to start over.  Luckily i came home from Florida with the same amount of cars as i left with, even if there were three transactions in between the one i left with and the one i came home with. 

wae UltraDork
11/4/19 6:37 p.m.

I wound up leasing 1,400 square feet and still sit around saying "I really gotta get rid of that", so I don't think I'm much help here...

ShawnG PowerDork
11/4/19 6:53 p.m.

It's not hoarding if your stuff is cool.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/4/19 7:09 p.m.

Im on the 4th truckload of E36 M3 in the past week. 

My solution was to call a couple friends. I started chucking E36 M3 outside that i didn't want/need/have a use for/not used in a year/couldn't identity. 

If they wanted, their truck. No want? My truck for the dump. 

berkeley it. Send that E36 M3 on, man. Helped my head immensely. 

dculberson MegaDork
11/4/19 7:23 p.m.

I'd like to offer some sage advice, but the honest truth is reading through your list was terrifyingly familiar to me and at the same time I was thinking "he should fill his trailer with the scooters and parts and sell it all to me cheap."

ive got 1600sf now and it's loaded with crap. A bunch of it is for sale or supplies for shipping the stuff for sale but it's horribly organized (in my opinion) and a depressing amount of the stuff is parts and tools that I'm holding on to but I'll never use. Sometimes I want to give all the non-essential-tool stuff away and start over but I'm afraid I'd be in the same spot again six months down the road.

i think we all have to learn this stuff over the course of our hobby. One thing that helped me enormously was something I covered in my mr2 thread - at the outset I vowed to myself to put tools away and clean off my bench at the end of every day. I haven't hit 100% but if you walk in my shop right now the bench is clear. The tools are put away. There's boxes and parts strewn about and half finished stuff in drawers but the essentials for every project are where they need to be and I've got that mental "clean slate" of a clear bench. I can't stress how much that's helped me. For years I was a "clear off a corner of the bench at the beginning of the night so I have a few square feet to do something" kind of guy and that just makes even starting something seem like a drain. It's so much better to be able to walk in and start working it's no joke. Budget 10 minutes at the end of the night for cleaning up the bench and putting away tools and I can almost guarantee you that you'll feel better about your projects and about yourself as a grownup. 

ae86andkp61 Dork
11/4/19 7:27 p.m.

Have I managed to stop? No, but I'd like to think I've gotten better about it, and I'm still working on it.

The best approach I've found is to set aside time (more than you think you need) and pick a manageable task (e.g. sort through this shelf, rather than sort it all.) I grab a notepad and pen or laptop to take an inventory. As I pick up each item, I ask myself, "what am I doing with this?" If I don't have an immediate and specific answer, or the answer is anything along the lines of saving it or waiting for XYZ, that isn't doing something with it, and I put it in the sell/give away pile. If the answer is "these are for the coil overs I'm building next week to install this winter" that is doing something with them and I put them in a plastic tub/bin with the specifics marked on the outside. It is the "someday" projects or the "this carb will be great if I ever pick up that ABC I've always liked" that really drag you down. As my dad once said, "If you've been meaning to do it for years and still haven't done anything, then maybe you don't really mean to do it."

My 2c, YMMV. Oh, and anybody want to buy some parts/projects? wink


Robbie MegaDork
11/4/19 7:35 p.m.
ShawnG said:

It's not hoarding if your stuff is cool.

I'm a "collector"

eastsideTim UberDork
11/4/19 7:44 p.m.

I'm not surprised I'm not alone here.  frown

Some of what I scrapped is metal I would normally keep around, since I use bits and pieces in various little projects, but it was all just getting overwhelming, so away it went.  I also hate it when my hoarding gets reinforced - best case is when my rallycross Neon's muffler rusted out, and I looked through my stash for something to weld on in place.  Turned out I actually had a stock DOHC Neon muffler (exact same part number as the rusted one)  that I had pulled off an Acura Integra parts car years ago.

Also, I suspect if I could just finish some stuff up (lets say the minibikes), I could let go of the scooter parts much more easily.  I really don't even care too much about getting a ton of money out of them, pennies on the dollar would be okay.  I just suck at selling things, and despise CL and FB marketplace.  Case in point, gotten a lot of interest in the trailer, but multiple people have flaked out already, and I've only had it for sale for a few days.  I have been trying to take into account that I could probably just throw a bunch of stuff out, and it'd only amount to a paycheck or two.  One of my hoarding tendencies is attaching emotional value to stuff, though.  Makes it hard for me to just throw something out, I'd rather sell it cheaply, or even give it away if I can find someone who has a use for it.

wae and EvanB, I'd love to have the space you guys have, but I worry I'd just fill it up, instead of keeping it open enough to make working on cars easier.


Robbie MegaDork
11/4/19 8:35 p.m.

In all honesty, my wife is an expert at throwing stuff away and I love her for it.

I still don't know how she does it.

11/4/19 9:28 p.m.

I get more satisfaction from finishing stuff than acquiring stuff. 

I purge the garage every six months. If something has not been used in that time, it better have a good reason to be occupying my valuable shop space or it gets tagged as "junk". How much it cost to buy is not a factor; junk has no value regardless of how much I paid. All things metal that get demoted to junk go to the curb where some magical process makes it go away overnight

One "get to work" vehicle, one toy motorized device that is usable, and one project in the shop works well to prioritize time and $$$.

Tools get a free pass on the "junk" field demotion. You cant have too many tools.




slowbird Dork
11/4/19 9:38 p.m.
ShawnG said:

It's not hoarding if your stuff is cool.

I want this on a t-shirt.

Ranger50 UltimaDork
11/4/19 9:46 p.m.

Mine stopped when I didn't have any disposable income left to spend.

I've passes on many good deals that I normally would have jumped on.

wae UltraDork
11/5/19 4:24 a.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

Yeah, I have found that more space = more room to keep stuff that "I might need someday". It seems like hoarding winds up having its own set of rewards.

Several years ago, we bought this gazebo-like thing for our deck and it arrived via lift gate on a pallet.  That damned pallet got moved around and was in the way for about two or three years until I finally cut it down and used it as firewood.  I had been keeping it with the thought that something like a pallet could be pretty damned handy to have.  Literally the day after I burned up the last bit of the pallet, I came home with a manual tire machine.  I was trying to figure out how to use it and I found a YouTube video that talked about how to mount it in a more temporary fashion.  The recommendation was to bolt it to a pallet because "you can find them anywhere".  except, of course in my garage since I had just burned the one that had been looking for a use for three freaking years.  My wife laughed at me for about an hour, non-stop.  To this day, any time she sees a pallet she will point it out and say "look! A pallet!  You can find them anywhere!"

Everytime I go to toss something in the dumpster, I can't help but wonder if I will have another pallet moment.

Dculberson's method is a good one to help cut through the clutter, though.  I'm not as religious about it as I should be, but if it's all organized and labeled and put away where it belongs, it's not called hoarding - it's a warehouse!

Oh, and as far as tools are concerned, they don't count.  I have a friend who tries to do that Marie kondo E36 M3 on me about my tools.  Each little special tool may not bring joy, but almost all of them are there because there is nothing else that will work to get a particular job done.  You might not need three green hoodies in your closet, but having two ratcheting 13mms just might be the only way to get a power steering pump bolted on.

JThw8 UltimaDork
11/5/19 6:48 a.m.
T.J. said:

Move to a different time zone every 2-6 years. 

This.   Nothing will get your priorities more in order than a move.  :)   A hoarder of automotive and other things myself I quickly learned this when we had to move this summer.   I had a 20 yard dumpster delivered to the house and put out the word to friends and family, "come help me clear the basement and garages and whatever you want you take, whatever doesn't go please put in the dumpster"  Even then I still moved too much garage crap and Im sure I got rid of some stuff that I will someday need.  But the stress reduction of not having it all staring me in the face was worth it.

Also, and probably more relevant to you as I doubt you intend to move, I set a 6 month rule on all project vehicles.  If I haven't driven it or wrenched on it in 6 months I put it up for sale.   Force yourself to stick to it and you'll find a bit more motivation to do something with it or get rid of it.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/5/19 7:50 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

You would get along wonderfully with my ex-...

I, on the other hand, have very bad pack-rat tendencies. I have crap in my attic that I've been carting around from place to place for well over 40 years. 

Cars? I have 8 of them... right now - two of them are operational.  And I keep collecting parts for many of them.

Bicycles - too many.  Some are brand new frames I haven't built up yet (a couple will never get built).  

Motorcycles - a pair of DRZ400s along with most of the parts from a 3rd.  I don't have a moto license. 

Guitars - I don't really know right now, so let's just say I have around 20.  Most do work, but many of them need some fiddling. And there's about seven I would really like to part with. 

Tools - I need a welder and other associated metal-working tools, but as far as regular mechanic's tools go, I am damn near at the maximum there. There's not much left for me to buy.  If you name it, there's a good chance I have it.

I live in a 600 square foot house with a 1/2 basement, a full walk-up attic, a 1.5 car garage and a 8x16 shed.  There is so much stuff in the attic, it's a small miracle the house hasn't collapsed into the basement. The garage has two cars on lifts inside. The shed has the motos. The bikes live mostly in my living room. Guitars in one of the two bedrooms.  Car parts... are... every... where... 

Have I mentioned the house really needs a complete gut-renovation?  

Yeah... too many projects and not enough time is a situation I can relate with.

Oh... and to add insult to injury, I'm working 350 miles away, so I'm hardly ever home to do anything.

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman SuperDork
11/5/19 8:01 a.m.

I have a ton of space but I generally sell, dispose of something I haven't touched for over a year. I definitely enjoy buying projects more than actually working on them. Even if it's parts for a project, I just enjoy the buying process. Another factor in projects, is it something you still want to have as a finished product or is it just a project to do a project? 

Definitely need to think of all the time you have available. Between work and family time is limited.

This year I've paid to get some things done around my house and to my car that I'm very capable of doing. The projects would still be on my list of things to do if I waited to have time available for them. They are hard bills to swallow, but I'm buying back my time. 

"There are 24 hours in a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well then, just sleep faster, I would recommend."  

Take this advice to sleep faster then you'll have more available time to accomplish your projects. 

Time is your most valuable asset in life, use it well.

Thinkkker UltraDork
11/5/19 8:31 a.m.

Buy a Plasma cutter, go have fun!


Did you know, you can fit almost an entire mustang sans suspension and drivetrain into the bed of a 07 2500hd short bed?

eastsideTim UberDork
11/5/19 8:42 a.m.

In reply to Andy Neuman :

Time is the big killer for me.  In addition to various automotive/2 wheeled projects, I take care of the lion's share of the household, and we have a cat that requires a decent amount of medical attention right now (pills, fluids, etc.). If I didn't work from home, I'd have even less time for hobbies. For now, money isn't much of a concern - my wife and I both save well for retirement, and I manage to save a bit each month for future ideas - I don't spend much of it, since I'm on a self-imposed new project moratorium.  If I was spending that money, I'd be even more pressed for space.

In reply to wae :

Yeah, this isn't going to help you with hoarding, but I do have a very heavy vintage metal and wood pallet I've been keeping around with the idea of it being a good base for a floor drill press or some other heavy machinery.  I probably can't un-bury it until spring, but if you want it, let me know.

In reply to Patrick and Dusterbd13-michael :

Hmm, if I can get to a point where I can let go of more, I should start a thread in the parts for sale forum with stuff listed free or cheap, and just toss it out if it isn't gotten a in a week or so.  I've actually been filling my trash bin every week (which is rare for me), but am starting to hit a wall with what to toss out.

In reply to dculberson :

If I decide next spring that I'm getting out of messing with the scooters, you may be the first person I contact devil



So, other than moving, or somehow being able to let go of stuff that you haven't used in a preset time, any other thoughts?  Also, what do you do about spare parts for your cars?  For newer cars, it's not a big deal to just buy as needed, but for some older vehicles, there's some worth in having spares around in storage.  When I had my Neon, I had a ton of spare parts, mostly things that I could find, but it could take some time - having them in my storage locker meant that if I broke something important at a rallycross, I could be back up and running without having to scour junkyards or ebay.




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