The Joy of Inventory - Revisited
Feb 4
My mom often sees things she likes when out shopping, but she doesn't buy them. Sometimes this is logical - she has a lot of stuff. But other times her reason is this: she doesn't know where she would put the painting / table / bowl / whatever. Her house in Arizona was new, big, and empty, but she would say she didn't know where something would be placed. Nuts, right? If you like something and you have an empty house, you will figure out where it will go.

Yes, mom and I have very different shopping philosophies. She thinks I'm nuts, too.

See, I'm a huge proponent of having inventory. If I will someday be building a fence, I may stockpile (salvaged) fencing materials for years. Why? For the same reason it's smart to have a special occasion dress in the closet before you need it. If you wait till you need it to shop, you're screwed. Scientifically proven fact. Likewise, when you need 20 lengths of rusty corrugated metal ASAP for a fence being built next week, you will not find it. Or you'll find it at a crazy price and resort to buying something (gasp) new. Following this logic, currently I have several stacks of bricks stored under the deck for pathways in the back yard that may or may not ever be built. I haven't decided. But they were all free bricks, so I have brick inventory. Is there a downside? Not to me. I'm pretty sure I can sell the brick or give it away if I don't want it down the road. So why not stockpile if the bricks are free?

Another example - the metal mentioned above sitting around the yard for the fence was not a hypothetical. It was a decent amount of metal: 13 or 14 huge sheets of blue steel (is that a line from Zoolander?) from the old IP plant, plus about 30 or 40 sheets of rusty corrugated metal from MetalWood Salvage in North PDX. All this metal was purchased at a very good price when I found it, and it had now reached critical mass. It was time to finally install the fence that had I had been lusting after for over 20 years. So, the fence went up a couple of weeks ago. And here's the cool part: there was almost exactly enough of the Zoolander Blue Steel to extend horizontally as the fence base. Weird, and perfect. But even weirder was the fact that the corrugated sheets purchased on spec (because they were a deal) were exactly enough to finish the fence. There are a few feet of scrap corrugated left and that's it. No more fence material needed - serendipity in action. The yard actually looks kinda sorta clean. (Except for the piles of brick. And other inventory still remaining for the next project.)

So where's the downside to inventory? The storage - sometimes there is junk (and it could be junk!) sitting around your house for a while. But if you're the kind who finds those piles of inventory to be incentive - you want to clean them up, you want to move on to the next thing - then accumulating materials for a project years down the road might be for you. If, on the other hand, you are capable of ignoring piles of inventory and actually never start those projects, don't buy in advance. That's hoarding, and there's a big difference. Oh, and if you're a hoarder and working on reducing that stash, please call me. Chances are you have something I need or want or will stockpile. We can work out a deal.


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