A lot of people keep stuff (any old stuff) around the house because they think “it might come in handy someday.”  It probably won’t.  That’s why women of my mother’s generation believed so fervently in that ritual known as spring cleaning, when they took a good, hard look at all the stuff they had accumulated since the previous spring, and trashed 99% of it.

Horsekeepers and their stuff

My tackroom hasn’t looked this neat since I photographed it for my Backyard Horsekeeping book.

I keep stuff.  My coffee table is cluttered with newspaper and magazine clippings because I think I might use the information either in a blog post, or a book I might write someday.  The real eye-opener was the cabinets on either side of my bathroom sink.  Why on earth do I still have a hairdryer than can only be used in countries (like Germany, where I bought it) that have different electrical voltage than ours?  And why do I have an entire collection of tiny bars of soap scavenged from hotels and motels all over the country?  My husband hasn’t trained horses professionally for 26 years.

Horse people are even worse, which is why I once had four different bits—plus two bosals—and only one horse.  Once you start rummaging around in your tackroom, you know you should toss those eye drops from when your horse needed them six years ago.  The digital thermometer that doesn’t work anymore needs to be replaced.  The wrapping that’s supposed to stick to itself when you wrap your horse’s legs but has lost all its adhesive properties because of our arid climate—that needs to go too.  The saddle pads I bought on-line (and on-line and non-refundable) and turned out to fit hunt-seat saddles, not the old dressage saddle I use when I trail ride—they need to be donated to a local animal shelter to keep puppies and kittens warm.

Your clothing is probably the best place to look for stuff you can throw out, sell, swap, or donate.   At the moment, I own eleven pairs of riding pants.  Since I tend to ride in tall English riding boots in the winter—because they keep my legs warm—and jod boots in warmer weather, my collection includes both riding breeches (to go under the tall boots) and boot-cut tights (that are designed to go over jod boots).  And then there are gloves.  I have an entire collection of gardening gloves, horse care gloves, and riding gloves.  Since it was cold and snowy last night—after a full week of warm, spring-like weather—I was trying to find my heavy winter horse-care gloves this morning before I fed.  I have a shelf in the garage, just outside the door, and the pile closest to the door is where I keep my gloves.  When I couldn’t find my insulated winter gloves in the pile, I looked in the basket right next to it, which is supposed to hold gardening tools.  It also holds the overflow from my glove pile, as I discovered when I found not one but two pairs of winter gloves, in addition to two stocking caps I don’t even remember buying.

Will they ever come in handy?  Of course—after I have thrown them out, sold them, swapped them, or donated them.