I started saving bottles in the late 80's with the idea that one day I would brew beer and need them. In 1992 we moved to a new much bigger house, my wife decided if I was going to haul crates of empty bottles I should start learning to fill them. She bought me my first kit 5 gallon setup and it was off to the races from there.
Dang, 12 years of bottles would be a barn full for me.
Let me clarify. On pay day I would buy a six pack, or a couple of Samuel Smith bottles, as long as they had pry off lids. Those were days of either relative poverty or money flowing everywhere, never anything in between and steady, but I could usually find a couple of dollars to buy a decent beer. Between paydays I drank crappy canned beer, so the accumulation was slow.