Examining Your Inner Pack Rat

Posted on Dec 13 2011 - 10:59am by Tim Eyre

Almost everyone has heard of the show Hoarders – the A&E documentary that features people’s homes buried in mounds of junk, because they simply can’t throw anything away.  Hoarders will keep newspapers from decades past, empty tissue boxes and even the used tissues themselves.  And while this may be the very extremist of cases, being a pack rat is still a reality for many people. 

While it can’t be pin pointed exactly as to why some people save and others don’t, it is safe to say that, at least on some level, it’s psychological.  For example, my grandmother, after growing up mixing spaghetti sauce with water, after saving and reusing cans and jars, never throws anything away. But on the other hand, I have a great aunt who tosses everything.  She grew up during the Great Depression and had had far too many leftovers, she said. These two women had very similar life experiences, but it affected them in completely different ways.  But from what I’ve seen, it seems that people fall in between these two categories: throwing out everything and nothing.

Pack Rat Sorting 101

No matter your level of pack rat-itis, chances are you have a room or two that needs to be sorted through.  Follow these simple tips and tricks to help make it an easier task.

One of the best ways to sort through your belongings is to start one step at a time.  Is there a closet full of boxes and hand-me-downs?  A garage? No matter the size, decide the area you’d like to clean and give yourself a timeline (and a realistic one). 

1. Get to work: Just pick a section to start, and begin the sorting.
2. Never put an item off. As soon as you reach an item, decide where it should go. 
3. Separate into piles: to keep, to get rid of, and to-be-determined.
4. Next it’s time to hit the to-be-determined pile.  No cheating. Choose to keep items of use or sentimental value, and the rest can be lived without.  This way you only have to make one trip to the Salvation Army and one trip to the dump with what they can’t take. 

For more organization and cleaning tips, be sure to check back in.  Have some tips of your own?  Let us know.

Tim Eyre