Are 'Gun Enthusiasts' also Packrats as a general rule?


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 2, 2009, 01:47 PM
Bear with me on this one - A large chunk of the reasons for gun ownership, especially beyond hunting (but even to some extent collecting hunting guns) revolves around preparedness/ planning for unlikely scenarios - let's face it, realistically, most people (thankfully) will never have to use a gun in self-defense, let alone a Mad Max or Katrina or other (gawd help me) "SHTF" scenario. So as a group (at least among 'gun enthusiasts', not merely 'gun owners'), we are typically the boy scout / be prepared for all contingencies/ self-sufficient / think ahead and plan for a rainy day types. Realistically, most of us have way more firepower in the way of self-defense guns than we'd likely ever need (or our entire neighborhood or family for that matter).

Well, packrats such as myself tend to keep a little of everything, and by dang, when we clean out the garage, we're not gonna chunk those jar of nails, screws and other fasteners we inherited from our grandpa's garage (yes I'm serious) because you just never know when they might be needed, and I could save .30 plus gasoline by not making a trip to Ace hardware. Besides, what if you need that screw during an ice storm or hurricane and Ace is closed!?! Then you'll not be able to hang the picture for the wife until the ice storm is over!!!!!!!!!!

So it seems to me that packratting and gun ownership go hand in hand to a large extent. Therefore, please vote in the poll.

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September 2, 2009, 01:57 PM
I HATE CLUTTER!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, realize I have a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a pack rat for a wife so my house basically is clutter. My kids have more toys than I think I owned during my entire childhood. My wife has boxes of cassette tapes from high school, we have no cassette player. If i could drive a track-hoe with a snow plow through my house and just start over I would!!!

Owen Sparks
September 2, 2009, 01:59 PM
One of the symptoms of compulsive hoarding is collecting things... ANYTHING, not just guns. You could make the same generalization about people who collect stuffed animals.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 2, 2009, 02:00 PM
True, but the possible NEED for guns is a bit more realistic than the possible NEED for a beanie baby collection.

Owen Sparks
September 2, 2009, 02:13 PM
True, but the possible NEED for guns is a bit more realistic than the possible NEED for a beanie baby collection.

"Need" is a subjective thing. My Mom has no need for guns but she "needs" a mountain of junk in the spare room. When my parents moved a couple of years ago I threw out a dozen boxes full of washed and stacked margarine tubs and several 55 gallon garbage bags full of plastic grocery sacks. She was raised during The Depression and just can't bring her self to throw out a perfectly good jar, bottle or bag.

September 2, 2009, 02:14 PM
Yes, I keep most miscellaneous things around for years, just in case

I have nothing to add to that. :)

well, maybe I'll add that it's "fair to middling" - but you probably already knew that.

September 2, 2009, 02:57 PM
I will usually disect something before I throw it away. I have a handfull of power cords( come in handy when making lights) and I just made some gator lights that plug into a cigarette lighter, the cords were left over from old radar detectors.
A couple of coffee cans full of screws that were kept from jobs when I worked (I just used about 60 stainless screws that were free to me on my boat).
Most of of the time if I need a spacer, I will get a steel casing that was picked up at the range cut it to the length that I need and use it.

September 2, 2009, 03:01 PM
I don't think there is any cause and effect or direct corelationship.

September 2, 2009, 03:07 PM
One pack rat here.

I purge things from time to time, but I part with them begrudgingly.

I don't think there is any cause and effect or direct corelationship. Agreed

September 2, 2009, 03:13 PM
Pretty much a minimalist here. I need to have everything organized and not cluttered everywhere.

September 2, 2009, 03:13 PM
As a rule I keep things forever. Has nothing to do with shooting, it's my character.

Dr. Tad: I believe the phrase is "Fair to middling". Midland is a town in west Texas.
Although I am intrigued by the metaphor implied by, "Fair to Midland." I guess we should all strive to be fair to Midland, since the people of that town do us no harm.

Edit: See Karen's post above.

September 2, 2009, 03:15 PM
My wife hates the fact that I will stop along the highway and pick up a plastic 5-gallon bucket when I see one that has separated itself from a vehicle. I have several in my garage; most are not being used... yet. But she and I both have been known to hop into a dumpster to retrieve something we thought we couldn't live without!

I have a steel 20-gallon drum, that I cut the top off of, in my garage. I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for, but I couldn't pass it up.

When my wife wrecked her car, years ago, I took the wheels and tires off to keep, before sending the junker to the scrap yard. They are still stacked in my garage.

I think you get the idea. I have a three car garage that I can't park one car in. So, we are just about finished with an outbuilding that I erected out back of my house, to hold all my junk, and so we can actually park our cars in the garage.

+1 on coffee cans full of random fasteners too.:D

September 2, 2009, 03:25 PM
I have found that keeping junk actually costs me money. Because when I need something I know I have, I can't find it and I end up buying a new one. Plus junk detracts from the quality of my life, which is one of my priorites.

So I keep things I know I'll need or use, but I get rid of most the rest. It is few and far between that I buy back some junk I got rid of.

Marlin 45 carbine
September 2, 2009, 03:30 PM
as pertains to me up to a point. and I have throwed 'stuff' I have set back into the trash when I realized I had no soon use for it.

September 2, 2009, 03:38 PM
All of my "clutter" is either tools or parts. Anything else I can toss out easily.

September 2, 2009, 03:43 PM
Yes...I am guilty of being a pack rat.
However at this very moment I am doing a remodel project at the home and have finally started chunking decades of clutter.
Not easy at times to throw away things.
I hate waste.

September 2, 2009, 03:51 PM
I try to evaluate things based on whether or not I've used them in the past 2 years or so. If something has not been used in that time, then I try and get rid of it.

You might be interested in seeing this George Carlin video on 'stuff'. George was pretty perceptive, and makes you rethink all the junk you have, and why you have it. Plus, it's very funny:

September 2, 2009, 03:54 PM
Well "guns" tend to attract "clutter."
You get a holster for a given weapon. It's ok, but not quite right. So you get another.
If it's CC, you need three or four holsters before you find a good "right" one. And, even then, you might need more than one for different circumstances.

Gee, go get a Garand. Easy, right? Well, you need en bloc clips. Cheap way to do that one task by itself is to get a bucketfull. Which means you need a bucket. Oh, and probably another to clean the 25 clips. But, while walking out of the show, you catch a great deal on ammo in en bloc clips in bandoliers. So, now you need a place to store the bandoliers; and the bucket; oh, and the metal ammo can the bandoliers came in. Oh, and the boxes of 30-06, and the weapon itself; oh, and the carrying case, too. Wit, and the combo tool, and the cleaning kit, and the front and rear sight protectors . . .

Clutter, what clutter? <g>

September 2, 2009, 03:55 PM
True, but the possible NEED for guns is a bit more realistic than the possible NEED for a beanie baby collection.
but if it's a true need then you only really need one gun.

I live by the 5 year rule for stuff (except inherited guns) if I haven't used it in 5 years get rid of it

September 2, 2009, 04:13 PM
I keep some stuff, but I do not need 25 jars of the same screw. I try to keep it all in moderation. I have many hobbies so I have a lot of things, but most are not superfluous. I actually like throwing things away. It makes me feel cleaner.

September 2, 2009, 04:21 PM
I was a packrat to some extent, kept things that I thought I may need and 10 years later still haven't used, then right as you get rid of something you need it, but I have started to purge all of the unnecessary stuff and purge the clutter, garage sales are a good way and since I was laid off in February it has been a good way to purge clutter and make some cash.

September 2, 2009, 04:42 PM
I guess I'm a pragmatic packrat. I'll pick up anything that I think that I can use, trade, or sell. If it turns out that I was wrong, out it goes.

I've walked away from everything that I've owned so many times that I tend to keep stuff that's disposable. I don't worry about a little clutter. It'll go away... or I will.

Problem solved.

September 2, 2009, 05:32 PM
Your post is correct but I dont think they go hand in hand. A person could have alot of guns and not be a packrat and you could be a packrat and only have one gun.

I myself have been "packrating" I prefer the term "collecting stuff" I wont need for years before I even bought a gun. I havent been collecting guns for very long but have a decent collection imo. Do I have a gun that I dont need sure (maybe but I doubt it) Do I have a gun that I wont ever shoot NO. Do I have stuff that I probably wont ever use, yes, but if I do then I already have it and wont have to go buy it of course.

Do you know how long it takes to get a decent colection of nails and fasteners and screws and bolts and nuts and washers. YEARS and YEARS. And you might as well keep that old screen door handle you may need the spring out of it someday right.

And you can never have to many buckets, maybe stopping on the side of the highway may be a bit much but it does keep the highway clean. I dont know maybe you can, keep twenty and give the rest to a friend.

Ones mans junk is another mans treasure.

September 2, 2009, 09:39 PM
Not at all. I abhor clutter and the older I get the more I feel the burden of things. I try to use the Untimely Death test for all my possesions. If I die tomorrow would anyone find this useful, beautiful, or interesting enough to keep? Or would it just go in the trash or to the Goodwill. I've cleaned up a couple of "estates" and I'm amazed at the stuff people will let clutter up their lives for decades.

September 2, 2009, 09:44 PM
I am a minimalist by nature and throw away anything that is extraneous or unnecessary. I suspect that many gun enthusiasts are like this, but I could be wrong. My chain of thinking goes like this: clutter --> disorganization --> potential accidents --> injury or death. I know it's a stretch, but that is how my mind is structured. I think the military beats that into you from Day One.

September 2, 2009, 09:50 PM
Interesting poll idea, thanks. I am a packrat. I think I got it from my grandpa. As family members were cleaning out his house after he died, they weren't really happy about all the stuff he'd accumulated (they weren't really happy about it while he was alive either but it wasn't their problem yet. Meanwhile I was in awe of all the cool stuff he'd saved.

September 2, 2009, 10:15 PM
I have minimalist tendencies as well. Some people are packrats, and I'm sure there's some on here that are close to "Monk" in their level of obsessive-compulsiveness. I see no correlation between being a gun enthusiast and being a clutterbug. Everyone has their individual quirks.

September 2, 2009, 10:15 PM
If I wasn't a packrat, I'd own 2 or 3 guns.

September 2, 2009, 10:54 PM
I only save useful stuff. :)

"and other fasteners we inherited from our grandpa's garage"

Years ago I took 3 coffee cans of nails and screws, among some other small stuff, from my great aunt's house. I really wanted the pie safe they were in out in the shed, but I didn't get it.

A few months later while looking for just the right fastener, I dumped them out in a box and found a small diamond ring in the bottom of one. Pinky ring size and very small, but a real diamond. So there.

Now I have added the prime pickings left from cleaning out my parents' home after they had to move to the old folks' home after 63 years of marriage. To make room for more junk I got rid of a bunch of old quilts, my grandfather's crosscut saw and a lot of other stuff. Don't worry, there's plenty left. Anybody need a high wheel hand plow. :)

Hey, my house was built in 1916. I use old stuff everyday. I drive the neighbor's crazy on holidays and during football season with my grandfather's hunting horn.

Didn't your momma save your favorite dishes?

September 3, 2009, 10:54 PM
I am a total pack rat!! This last fall I got around to separating my two pickup loads full of copper and brass junk. The proceeds purchased a two year old Jeep Grand Cherokee. Also a Ruger mk II with 10" barrel.:neener: This fall it will be the pile of aluminum also saved for the last 25 years.:D I see more firearms or another MG soon!

September 3, 2009, 11:15 PM
I have mattresses in my attic, how long can these last? been up there +10 years...... never used keep saying we will need it someday:rolleyes:... I bet its rusted the springs and if you dare to sit on it will probly break:uhoh:

September 3, 2009, 11:18 PM
Caught it from my ma. She never threw anything out. Took a 20 foot dumpster to get rid of all the crappola when she died. I suspect it was due to living through the Depression. Now, I have rims for a Samurai that has been sent to the scrap yard and stuff that I don't exactly know what it is, never mind where I got it. I don't rummage through garbage bins though.

September 4, 2009, 12:20 AM
Guess I am in the minimalist camp. I only buy what I really want or need. I have a bare house as my mom puts it. I have a living room with a sofa and a TV, a bedroom with a bed, the dining room does have a table and chairs still in the boxes, but my workout room and reloading bench where I spend my free time are neat and tidy. I dont collect anything my life is full of friends, family, and fun, in the end what more could you need.

Boba Fett
September 4, 2009, 12:45 AM
Yeah I hang on to a lot of stuff. I have a storeroom that is organized and filled with Rubbermaid bins.

I generally go through them every so often. I have a rule I apply at random/depends on the item I'm looking at.

If I haven't used it in 5 years, I get rid of it provided it doesn't fall into these categories:
1) Can't be replaced (i.e. unique, rare, one of a kind, etc.)
2) Would be expensive to replace
3) Is very sentimental
4) It doesn't meet any of the above three, but I just want to keep it anyway


September 4, 2009, 12:51 AM
I am a minimalist by nature and throw away anything that is extraneous or unnecessary.

Yep, edited to add: if I can sell it, I won't throw it away. If I am not using it (or cannot foresee using it a reasonable period of time, say, a year or so) and nobody's willing to pay for it, then it's gone.

September 4, 2009, 03:13 AM
I wish I had a nickel for every classic Smith & Wesson revolver I've found that when I inquired if the original box, documents, & even grips, were also included, I just got a blank stare.

I save everything - you never know.


September 4, 2009, 08:41 AM
I am a collector foremost. As a collector I am fanatic about organizing and displaying my collections. I keep up my gun room like a museum. I keep all boxes, paperwork and gun related magazines. Old stuff that get in the way I either toss or give away.
Now my wife is a pack rat. She keeps everything from old junk mail to the kids clothing from 30+ years ago. She puts the crap in shopping bags and stacks it in the corner of her rooms. I have her limited to 2 rooms in the house.

September 4, 2009, 01:39 PM
Well, I'm a discriminating pack rat - I only keep certain things. Old tools and car parts, interesting pieces of wood for carving, nuts and bolts for fixin' stuff. Dishware, dolls, and doilies - down the road it goes.

I partly justify keeping usable building materials by using them eventually, and I keep them organised enough that I can find what I need. And I get a big kick out of restoring an old rusty chisel or plane or pocketknife to usable condition, then I give it away and find another one.

Funny packrat story: my spare vehicle is an old Suburban, and I have a "parts car" for it that's about a third gone, which LOML badly wants me to get rid of ever since the 80 foot hemlock tree fell across the hood. However, she hasn't been mentioning it as often since the time our pipes froze and she really wanted to take a shower. I thawed the pipes but one had a bad split in it and we couldn't turn the water back on. Wellsir, I plowed my way through 2 feet of snow out to that old Suburban, retrieved a piece of heater hose and a couple of hose clamps, came back in and repaired that pipe well enough to hold water. Now she's resigned herself to the fact that living with a hillbilly packrat has a few (perhaps very few) advantages.


Zach S
September 4, 2009, 03:23 PM
About the only thing I hang on to are car parts. Some are hard to find (or expensive to replace), or I have plans for them. I got a few spare parts for a car I dont own anymore, need to clean out my storage unit and get them sold off.

I try not to throw it away if I can sell it, but if enough sales fall through, it goes to the landfill or scrapyard.

I used to put crap I didnt want anymore in a local paper for free. No one called. So, just for kicks, I started asking $20-$100 for it, depending on what it was. I generally got half what I was asking. Learned my lesson...

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 4, 2009, 04:13 PM
Ahhh, ok, "Fair to Middling" - got it. :)

September 4, 2009, 04:26 PM
I think you get the idea. I have a three car garage that I can't park one car in. So, we are just about finished with an outbuilding that I erected out back of my house, to hold all my junk, and so we can actually park our cars in the garage.

One year after you complete your outbuilding, you will be down to a 2-space garage. In another year, you'll only be able to park 1 car. Ultimately - maybe 3 years - your garage will be full again... as will the outbuilding!

Ain't pack-ratting grand?

(don't ask me how I know this.)

September 4, 2009, 04:31 PM
I used to be, until recently I had not thrown away a gun related magazine since 1985.

Nowadays if it is not bolted down or getting used regulary it gets tossed or sold on THR :).

Just my .02,

September 4, 2009, 06:31 PM
I don't like excessive crap laying around unused. This includes guns too... I don't believe in safe queens, or in having a massive arsenal that I could never carry or use effectively.

September 4, 2009, 06:58 PM
I've given this some more thought and I think that you are doing a dis-service by trying to lump all gun-owners into one group. This is exactly the sort of thing that "antis" want to do.

People who own firearms do so for a variety of reasons, and the types of people are infinite as well. No good to think that only one type of personality wants to own firearms.

September 4, 2009, 09:33 PM
I took a car load to the Goodwill today. A 20-year-old tv, a crt monitor, some old expensive lamps my parents owned for 40+years (and I hated) and bunch of my father's hunting clothes, my late cousin's leather coat (dang, he died in '74) etc.

What did it take to get me to unload the junk? I figured out that every week when I drive 127 miles to buy my father lunch - he's 87 - there's a Goodwill TWO BLOCKS from the Interstate exit. It's more convenient than driving halfway across Richmond to find a local Goodwill.

I'm cured, it's Goodwill every week from here on out.


September 4, 2009, 10:22 PM
[takes a look around the room.]

Sigh. I'm guilty.

September 5, 2009, 01:52 AM
Lots of gun related stuff but that's about it. My clothes don't fill 1/2 my closet!

And my other hobby is my business and I have an entire building for that. :D

September 5, 2009, 02:54 AM
I do not feel that they really go together I save more because I am a semi-survivalist or a moderate prepper and you never know when you may need stuff, any stuff so you save all stuff just in case some day that need may arise and then you will be ready cuz you saved stuff..

I save firearms, ammo and firearms related items for the same reason you never know when you may have to use that stuff.

September 5, 2009, 03:38 AM
Agreed with HokkMike, no real correlation. I have some "clutter" because of moments when I got stranded in my car; no gas, ditched no traction, snowed in, impromptu camping, fishing, hiking, etc. I tend to get and pack away that particular solution in my vehicle. Same goes for the home or my range bag and hiking bag.

Besides when people collect things its because of habit/interest/resale value. Guns have GREAT resale value, a wise investment, thats why I keep investing. At least that's what I tell myself!

September 5, 2009, 06:29 AM
Well, packrats such as myself tend to keep a little of everything, and by dang, when we clean out the garage, we're not gonna chunk those jar of nails, screws and other fasteners we inherited from our grandpa's garage (yes I'm serious) because you just never know when they might be needed, and I could save .30 plus gasoline by not making a trip to Ace hardware. Besides, what if you need that screw during an ice storm or hurricane and Ace is closed!?! Then you'll not be able to hang the picture for the wife until the ice storm is over!!!!!!!!!!

Hey, I like my can-o-nails! And, with all of the useful (errr... useless) papers I've saved over the years, I have plenty of fuel for the fires I'll be building on those cold post-apocolyptic winter nights. The textbooks that are leftover from every college class that I ever attended could proably be used in lieu of sandbags when I am fortifying my house for the zombie invasion, and we can all imagine how well those gas station receipts from 1998 might work as improvised toilet paper! Don't even get me started on my pile of scrap metals... These could be bartered for food when the world ends, or perhaps used to build an improvised canon (or, better yet, a rocket ship).

With those things in mind, being a so-called "packrat" is the only truly sensible way to live. You are only over-prepared until you need the stuff and don't have it! When the world ends at least I'll have something to wipe my butt with, unlike all of the modern Americans who believe in living high-speed low-drag lifestyles, without the comforts that my VERY VERY important things provide to me :)

(Now, if you'll excuse me, it is late here and I need to see if I can find my bed... I believe it is somewhere under that stack of papers!!!)

Oh, and by the way, I really did find a gas receipt from 1998 around here within the past year. Sadly, the date on that receipt would imply that it made it through no less than 4 moves with me!

September 5, 2009, 08:16 PM
I dont keep anything... Less is more for me.

September 5, 2009, 08:56 PM
What's the syndrome called when old farts start stacking things to the ceiling and keep getting more things. I haven't got to the point of buying something because I forgot I already have it. Come close a few times.

September 5, 2009, 10:23 PM
I even collect dust and belly button lint.

You never know when you'd need such stuff.


September 7, 2009, 06:11 AM
I keep alot of crap I will probably never use but i COULD use lol. anything from little springs, to broken BB guns. I always figure I'll need it for something. I also keep alot of stuff that I add sentimental value to for no reason, like the cardboard box of 5.56mm blanks, or an old M83 smoke canister. just stupid stuff like that I can't bear to throw out. and the most scary thing is letting the Girlfriend go through and throw stuff out :(

September 7, 2009, 08:09 AM
i can not speak for everyone obviously, but i am certainly a packrat! :neener: i collect all sorts of cra9. anything that i THINK i might be able to use, someday, for something. but i do so from experience. every time i throw something that i think i will have no use for, i find a use for it within weeks. :fire::banghead: my poor family is going to have a lot of work when i die. but the person i really feel sorry for is the garbage man after i die. :cuss: he is likely to have a heart attack trying to load all of this junk up! maybe i should include him in my will! LOL!!

September 12, 2009, 04:24 PM
This past week I've been cleaning out my office. I've been carrying around a box of ancient, obsolete tractor-feed labels for probably 10 years. I decided it was finally time to toss them, after all, they couldn't possibly be of any use.

Today, someone posted a thread about using old tractor feed labels as pasters for covering up bullet holes in targets.

'nuff said.

Zach S
September 12, 2009, 08:27 PM
I don't believe in safe queens, or in having a massive arsenal that I could never carry or use effectively.

Interesting point. I dont have any collectable firearms. Most get shot (as time and money allows). The two I dont shoot are the 10-22 that I got for my sister when she showed an interest (that she outgrew), and the 10-22 that was my grandfather's. Mine goes to the range for children, my grandfathers is for my daughter to learn on.

I rebuilt an AMT into a dedicated rimfire. It was my first gun, so I kinda wanted to keep it, but it was a POS, so I kinda wanted it gone. Then I started shopping for .22 conversions. Then it hit me: rebuild the frame, and top it off with a rimfire slide. So I kept my first pistol and made it useable.

September 12, 2009, 08:55 PM
I voted Fair to Midland only because I have to make a conscious, rational effort to clean out closets, sheds, and garages else I will drown in my piles of junk!

I'm a neat freak, but that doesn't mean I can't have all the sundry neatly organized and stashed somewhere. Overall I don't have too much lying around anymore, but only because I disciplined myself to get rid of the junk.

September 12, 2009, 10:47 PM
I'm a horrible pack rat. I hate throwing things out because I'm always afraid I'll need them some day. I don't shoot sabots in my muzzleloader, but I have a half box of them from 15 years ago because I can't bring myself to throw them out.

September 12, 2009, 11:51 PM
Well I voted and I was with the majority .
I do sometimes throw stuff away that has been setting around for years . And then I ll be danged if two weeks later I'm down at hardware store spending money and time to get something I just threw away .

I also think that anal retentiveness ( if that really is a word ) is a major gun owner trait also . I think that I always want everything to be perfect and this hobby really caters to that .

A lot of people like the power and the feeling of being equal with guns . People like the big caliber pistols like a gear head likes the big horse power motors .

I personally love the accuracy of guns and very well built accurate guns . I have shot everything since I was a little kid , and , I still just cant get over the ability to launch a projectile 100 yds at 3000 fps and stick it right through the same hole (or just real dern close) that I just shot before that .
Think of the tolerance that is being held over and over again at the factory where your rifle was built . "just kills me to think about it"

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