Confessions of a home improvement-supply hoarder

Joan Fieldstone

October 8, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: General RemodelingPainting

There are women -- and men -- who can't pass up a sale. In the days long before Costco and Sam's Club, my father once managed to amass a stockpile of 30 rolls of paper towels one or two at a time because, as he told my mother, they were on special and we always used them. Apparently, not fast enough.

I must have inherited his tendency to take excessive advantage of a good deal, but only with home improvement supplies. When The Home Depot offers their 12-month-interest-free promotions, I buy whatever I can think of that I might need for the next likely project or two on my remodeling wish list. Then I proceed to pay for my big purchase a little at a time throughout the year so I can pay it off and not get slammed with the entire interest charge before the promotion's expiration date. Meanwhile, the supplies grow dusty in the garage or wherever I can find a place to stash them when there is no time to -- or anyone to help me -- start or finish a project.

Saving on supply costs, or hoarding?

Just before Labor Day, I took advantage of one such promotion. I now have four unopened gallons of different colors of paint to either start or finish several areas of my home's interior, as well as the baseboard moldings throughout. There is a sealed box containing a new powder room faucet sitting atop the bench in my entryway. (I'm afraid that if I put it in the closet, I'll forget I have it. It was an impulse buy to prevent the cats from attempting to flood the powder room again.) Then there is a bag filled with various items required to install a cable and move my modem and wi-fi router out of my bedroom and into my home office one of these days. I've stacked them in the office supply cabinet next to my desk for whenever my BFF can tackle that project.

stacked paint cans

A couple of additional sheets of plywood for an ongoing flooring project are leaning against the inside wall of the garage with the ones that have been there for nearly two years. I have a few bags more of new paint brushes and rollers and an unopened can of some kind of premixed joint compound I didn't need because I already have a nearly full one in perfectly usable condition. I didn't bother to check for leftover supplies before I went shopping, so I now also have an extra gallon of paint in mossy green that I really don't need.

I always have the nagging feeling that if I kept better track of my supply inventory, I could save even more money. Maybe if I'd just stop getting so excited about sales and promotions and buy only what I need when I actually need it, I'd have a lot less unused home improvement supplies. I worry that if I'm not careful, this could turn into one of those bizarre hoarding episodes: "Little old lady felled by avalanche of unopened paint cans."

Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out what a not-especially-artistic person like myself can do with 15 tiny, sample containers of wall paint in some very vibrant colors. Maybe a Jackson Pollock-style painting would be easy enough to do, and it might actually go well with my mid-century modern décor. Barring that, I've heard that there are artistic cats who paint...but probably not mine.

Photo credit to Joan Fieldstone

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