I save things, as least I like to think, because I'm part matchmaker, ever looking to connect the right person with the item s/he needs (clothing, craft supply, tool, book), and part conservationist (not wanting to throw things into the landfill). Little makes me happier than saving someone a trip to the mall because I have the perfect black sweater that I never wear, or boots that never felt quite right but which I never returned (it being years between the need to wear them in drought-ridden California). When someone I know expresses interest in a book or magazine they see in my home or office (actually it's a home office), I generally give it to them with one caveat: Do not bring it back. Still, the inflow of stuff I suspect I can find the perfect home for, tends to exceed the perfectly paired recipients, resulting in my having too much stuff.
We used to have a cartoon--probably from an abovementioned New Yorker- on our refridgerator door (well, maybe it's still there under all the subsequent cartoons, magnets, notices and artwork) that depicted a cocktail party conversation in which the couple's spokesperson said "We love the uncluttered look, just don't have a space big enough in which to achieve it." My husband and I were both tickled by its sentiment and thought it spoke well to our situation, despite having a 2500 square foot home with individual offices and a two car garage underneath that hasn't housed a car in twenty years).
I have a pretty diverse occupational, social and recreational schedule of events each week and it is not uncommom for me to carry around with me in my car batches of cookies, bags of lemons, or as was the case last week, vegetable chips brought into my home or some meeting by one party and rather than face them growing stale, moldy or being thrown away by those who tend to throw away good stuff in the interest of "cleaning up," travel around with me until they find another group where they might be appreciated and actually used. Program particpants with Developmental Disabilities at the Janet Pomeroy Center where I swim twice weekly happily made pizzas with the leftover French Bread from my book club last month.
And while, theoretically, I don't think anyone has a problem with my recycling vegetable chips, those who ride in the backseat of my car might sometimes feel encumbered by the assortment of oddities they find beneath their feet. I'm the kind of person who doesn't need a specially designed earthquake kit in my car, because there is always food and water, blankets, changes of clothing, and first aid parenphenalia there. I see my car as a mobile locker room, which makes perfect sense to me, but I can see is unusual when I have the occassion to ride clutter free in the vehicles of most others. I tend to warn potential passengers that mine is a 'dog' car and therefore filled with stuff and smells, but the dog doesn't carry much, except the blame that I try and foist off on her.
Having been some form of play therapist, recreation program leader and activities counselor for-- dare I say-nearly 50 years now, starting in High School of course, as a volunteer at the Queens Society for the Protection of Cruelty to children (I still have the commendation letter given to me by its director--how could I throw that out?) so I've rarely had occassion to actually toss out a game or toy. I've played Bingo with all ages of folk, Candy Land and Monopoly too (though I might not need all three boards I've somehow accummulated--in both my Monopoly and Scrabble sets but I keep thinking they could be used in an art project). Kids tend to love my playroom which is painted blue with beige carpeting to resemble a larger than life sized, in vivo Jungian sand-tray. Adults, however, though usually kind, according to my Googling, generally prefer the uncluttered look in a therapist's office. Still, my practice is full (and spans all age groups) and I haven't lost any clients I know of because of the not uncluttered look, I prefer Shabby Chic and Artsy, but I am intent on paring down...however unsure if my lifespan can exceed the time it will take to make a significant difference.