Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Old but Still Useful — to Someone Else.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | March 18, 2019

No. 1,628

Spring cleaning is a time for decision.  When you buy a new computer you know that you will never plug in the old one again. Yet, you keep it. After all, it may be worth something.  Years ago, you could give it to your nephew.  But now your nephew has better electronics than you do.  So you continue to keep it and it takes up space.

Image: mariafarmcountrykitchen.com
Even when neatly stacked, its still clutter, isn’t it?

Most of us cannot bear to throw away things that are still in good shape and useful. There are exceptions. I know one person who often leaves perfectly good stuff by the curbside for pickup.  People stop (sometimes within minutes) and load it in the back of their vans.

Yards sales used to work.  However, today everybody else has attics and basements full of stuff. It has to be very good or very, very cheap.  Eventually, cheap becomes free — just like the stuff at the curbside.

One solution, a temporary one, is to rent storage space. Another is to hire that company that specializes in making things disappear. Some resolve to throw away things of equal volume when purchasing something that is not quickly consumed.  I know only one person who actually does this, already mentioned above.

It is hard to imagine that your grandparents (or great grandparents, if you are still young) usually didn’t have a problem with consumer goods crowded them out of living space.  Yes, there were always hoarders, but they were considered to be aberrations.  It wasn’t a general problem until relatively recently. Goods became cheap and plentiful and we became wealthy enough to buy mass quantities of them in the decades after World War II. It took a half-century for this condition to become serious and then acute.  The word “declutter” only made it into the OED in 2015.

Is it any easier to imagine that our grandchildren (or great-grandchildren) will live in fully decluttered homes?  Do you think that the off-site storage industry will ever go the way of Blockbuster?  Short of nuclear war, that is.

Nevertheless, you may have noticed that there are, even today, certain people of all generations choosing to live in a  relatively clutter-free environment. Perhaps they are less materialistic and more aware of the distinction between living space and storage. Its too early to call it a trend. Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that it can be done.





CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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