The Hoarder's Dilemma Hack Chat

Better to have it and not need it -- or is it?

Wednesday, December 6, 2023 12:00 pm PST Local time zone:
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Gabe Emerson will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, December 6 at noon Pacific.

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There's a lot to be said for the power of a well-stocked junk bin. It's almost a magical thing, being able to dive into a random box and retrieve just the right part to perform a needful repair or to complete a project without the need to hit the web or hop in the car for a trip to the hardware store. For those who pride themselves on their resourcefulness, it can be a heady experience indeed.

But as with everything, such feats of fix-it come at a price. That little squirt of dopamine that comes from having just the right thing can make your monkey brain fixate on a simple equation: "More stuff is better stuff." The higher and deeper your stash, the better your chances of having what you need, assuming you can find it, of course. This way lies madness, and perhaps an appearance on a reality TV show.

Is there a better way? It's hard to say, but we figured it would be a good idea to loop in someone with a lot of experience collecting junk that somehow finds its way into some pretty cool projects. Gabe Emerson runs the popular and aptly named "saveitforparts" channel over on YouTube, and fancies himself an accomplished hoarder. We'd have to agree, given his recent 1,000-mile drive to pick up a used geodesic dome, or his ever-increasing collection of RV satellite dishes, which he somehow puts to good use. His junk collection is pretty epic; he even has a whole piece of property devoted to the larger pieces of his collection, like an entire monorail train. He seems uniquely qualified to discuss the "Hoarder's Dilemma" and the painful process of deciding what stays and what goes.

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Page 2

    Tom Nardi12/06/2023 at 21:19 0 comments

    Sam Freeman  3:30 PM
    Simplify - I try to clean up the tools at the end of the day, even if I know I'll use it tomorrow
    Saveitforparts  3:30 PM
    I try (not always sucessfully) to put my tools and parts away before starting another project, but it doesn't always happen
    Thomas Shaddack  3:30 PM
    (misread as "move cats to street".)
    CIAndy  3:30 PM
    Hackaday Berlin was an eye-opener. That was when I decided I have too much stuff. Some guy had a talk about how to design your projects so that people can recreate them. A key part of that was "don't use old stuff". But I just can't put it all away. So my question would be: "How do I decide?"
    @jed the car is the project
    jed  3:31 PM
    wife draws hard line at living room & bed rooms - for HER projects
    jed  3:31 PM
    good choice for cats, too
    Saveitforparts  3:31 PM
    Ha, I also have cat "helpers" who like to relocate cables and small parts for indoor projects
    Saveitforparts  3:32 PM
    I need to add some walls to the basement for more dedicated cat-free zones. So far it's mostly open, with just the pantry and my electronics closet off limits. But the electronics closet also keeps getting more and more stuff in it
    Saveitforparts  3:32 PM
    One thing I like for that space are foodservice bins. They close completely to (mostly) keep dust out of things, they can stack, and they're a fairly convenient size/weight if I don't over-fill them
    CJ Keithley  3:33 PM
    When our boy cat started eating plastic (including 3D filament) I instituted a “closed door” policy for my home office
    Saveitforparts  3:33 PM
    I'm trying to find more example photos of my organization areas without ignoring the chat too much
    Matthew Trowbridge  3:33 PM
    So after you've used a couple through-hole resistors of various values, what happens next? Do you guys put them straight back in the bins correctly, or do you put them in a "misc" pile/bin where eventually you'll have to sort through everything (or let them gather perpetually)
    Thomas Shaddack  3:34 PM
    batch sorting is easier than doing it always one by one.
    CIAndy  3:34 PM
    I try to put them back. 80% successful...
    Thomas Shaddack  3:34 PM
    though that is liable to the Eternal Tomorrow Syndrome.
    jed  3:34 PM
    I throw away used carbon resistors rather than sort - when I get low, I buy 100 more.
    Keri Szafir  3:34 PM
    hello there kitties
    Paul McClay  3:35 PM
    @CIAndy - about "don't use old stuff": yes design for reproducabiity vs new life for old thing are different. I'm in the process of learning that. I guess it helps to settle which kind a project will be before getting very far into it.
    Saveitforparts  3:36 PM
    Thius is currently my electronics and 3D printing work area. Which has to be re-organized again because I haven't touched the 3D printers since I put them there...
    Saveitforparts  3:36 PM
    Thomas Shaddack  3:36 PM
    the old vs new can also be alleviated by using "APIs"/standards. that odd sized stepper? make adapter that makes it look like NEMA.
    CJ Keithley  3:36 PM
    @Dan Maloney - can I share a comic?
    Dan Maloney  3:36 PM
    @CJ Keithley - sure, as long as it's SFW
    jed  3:36 PM
    good hint on odd steppers - I'll remember
    CJ Keithley  3:36 PM
    It’s SFW
    CJ Keithley  3:37 PM
    CIAndy  3:37 PM
    @Paul McClay Yes, and I will keep old stuff. But some has to go. The Problem is to find the right criteria..
    Dan Maloney  3:37 PM
    Saveitforparts  3:37 PM
    Saveitforparts  3:37 PM
    Garage bins (and messy work bench with, naturally, 4 different projects going on).
    jed  3:38 PM
    The copper in those...
    Read more »

  • Hack Chat Transcript, Page 1

    Tom Nardi12/06/2023 at 21:17 1 comment

    Dan Maloney  3:00 PM
    OK, time to kick things off officially. I'm Dan, I'm modding today along with Dusan as we welcome Gabe Emerson to the Hack Chat
    Dan Maloney  3:00 PM
    Welcome one and all!
    Saveitforparts  3:00 PM
    Hi everyone! This is my first Hack Chat, thank you to Dan for inviting me!
    Dan Maloney  3:01 PM
    My pleasure! Maybe you can start us off with a brief bit about yourself?
    Dan Maloney  3:01 PM
    Like that bit about growing up in Alaska -- sound "formative"
    Saveitforparts  3:02 PM
    Sure, as a quick bio: I grew up in a ghost town, on an island in Alaska, and the closest store was a 3hr boat trip. We tended not to throw stuff away unless it was completely and totally useless, and we were always fixing, recycling, and re-purposing things.
    Thomas Shaddack  3:02 PM
    HER OS? the one that runs garbage collection and storage defragmentation in the way you are left with dangling pointers to places where the stuff desired is not anymore?
    Saveitforparts  3:02 PM
    Now that I live in a city, and in a pretty small house, my hoarding tendencies can be a liability. I'm also a bit ADHD and jump around between hobbies a lot. I started the Youtube channel as an excuse and motivation to finish some projects and use some of the junk I collect.
    Mark Fraser  3:02 PM
    ADHD plus too many hobbies. Still have RTL ICs from Mike Quinn Electronics in Oakland, 1962. Just found a Speedscript Cartridge for C64, that I entered and burned myself. Cluttered with CNC machines, some of them functional, several cubic feet of Arduino and projects, 3d printers, small laser burner, clock/watchmaker tools, and as I often don't finish projects, my wife is grateful I'm not a plumber.
    Patrick Hickey  3:02 PM
    Hello I am Patrick, LED addict/ hoarder, it’s been about 6 weeks since my last purchase…(HPDL2416 starburst displays)
    Dan Maloney  3:03 PM
    Mark J Hughes  3:03 PM
    Hi Patrick!
    Mark Fraser  3:03 PM
    At 82, trying to fix and liquidate "stuff" so my kids don't toss it all in the dumpster.
    Dag Spicer  3:03 PM
    Dusan, sounds like your frontier experiences has really shaped your approach to 'hoarding?'
    Mark J Hughes  3:04 PM
    @Mark Fraser If you plan on leaving your kids money/property, think of the other stuff as the work they need to do to earn it.
    Saveitforparts  3:04 PM
    That's always a tough one, they say one person's trash is another's treasure, but sometimes our own "treasure" isn't as valued by friends/family
    Dag Spicer  3:04 PM
    I.e. nothing is wasted; "I know I'll need this [insert component here] someday!"
    jed  3:05 PM
    but after 20+ years, are you going to use that ISA MDA? nobody else even knows what that means!
    Thomas Shaddack  3:05 PM
    also, the tendency to see a random piece of whatever and immediately come with a half dozen of uses.
    Mark Fraser  3:05 PM
    The corollary to "I might need it..." is "the day after I junk it....."
    Thomas Shaddack  3:05 PM
    ISA MDA? that's a museum piece!
    Dag Spicer  3:06 PM
    One is reminded of Spock's ability to build a transmitter "in this zinc-plated vaccum tube culture!"
    jed  3:06 PM
    my wife wants me to start that museum
    jed  3:06 PM
    no "stone knives and bear skins"
    Matthew Trowbridge  3:06 PM
    Hello all. One can only buy so many organizers before those organizer need organizers. It's at that point I realized I need a new system for what deserves the time, space, and material to be kept around. Even free things aren't kept for free...
    Saveitforparts  3:06 PM
    I've definitely had to push myself to sunset some older hoarded stuff. I keep a few museum PCs but I can't store all the 90s-era hard drives and video cards forever!
    Dag Spicer ...
    Read more »

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jimmyturpin wrote 12/10/2023 at 02:00 point

Unfortunately missed the event but read the article, I'm a hoarder too, and the author clearly understands the need for hoarders to hoard.  I've been working lately to get rid of my treasured junk and it can be done, but as we hoarders understand, we want it to go to a good home where it will be just as treasured and loved, lol.  Look forward to reading more and following other people's projects on here.  Cheers!

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