Helping A Pack Rat Get Organized

Maria Gracia

By Maria Gracia

The wonderful, sentimental Pack Rat. So nice. So loveable. So out of space!

Pack Rats desperately need more room, but can't bear to part with their stuff.


There are boxes of old records, books since grade school, reams of old, outdated paperwork, various decades of clothing, piles of magazines, calendars and planners more than 10 years old, old board games gathering dust, toys from children that have moved out on their own years ago, plus that horrible artwork from dear Aunt Martha, taking up every last nook and cranny of space. I've known Pack Rats that are literally possessed by their possessions!


The Pack Rat keeps everything--and won’t get rid of anything. There's an inconceivable abundance of opportunities to acquire things in our lives.


Here are 10 ideas to help Pack Rats free themselves from clutter and stress:

1.      Think About It.
Determining why you’re a Pack Rat will help you focus. Are you a sentimental person? Are your items proof of places you've been, work you've accomplished, or how much work you have ahead of you? Does the thought of decluttering seem like such a bear that you can't find the motivation to do it?

2.      Don't Be A Prisoner.
Beware of being held hostage by your possessions. When your stuff begins taking over your life and you spend all your time climbing over things, looking for missing items, and fretting over where you’ll put your next treasure, you are wasting precious time that you can never buy back.

3.      Teach Your Children Well.
If your children pick up on your Pack Rat style, they will have the same problem when they're out on their own. If you begin to get organized now, your children will see how important it is and hopefully, follow your lead.

4.      Recognize Clutter.
As a rule, if you don't use it or enjoy it, it's nothing more than clutter. If you don’t know what it is, it’s clutter. If it’s too nice to use, it’s clutter. Toss it or give it to someone who will use it and appreciate it.

5.      Make It A Family Game.
Get your family into the De-cluttering Game. Make a party out of it. Play music, have refreshments, Toss-Toss-Toss. Have a pending reward ready, such as a big family dinner at a favorite restaurant after you've significantly reduced your clutter!

6.      Designate A May Come In Handy Box.
If you save things you feel you may use someday, create a May Come in Handy Someday box. Place those things inside and when the box is full, discard something before you put anything else in.

7.      Use The Rotation Box System. 
Instead of displaying everything you like at once, display a little bit at a time. Keep the rest boxed up in storage. Every few months, put a few of these things in your box and take a few other things out for display.

8.      Fix It Or Get Rid Of It.
Have you ever put aside broken items with the expectation that you’ll get them fixed one day? Chances are, these items are still where you left them and they’re still broken. Immediately schedule a date on your calendar and repair them when the date rolls around, or toss the items right now while you have it on your mind.

9.      Picture It!
Take photographs of possessions you don’t want to forget, but don’t have the space for. Save the photos in a scrapbook. Keep the memory, rather than allowing the memory to take up space.

10.    Avoid The Halfway House Syndrome.
You know.  That’s when you put things aside that you’re not sure what to do with. These temporary storage areas almost always turn into permanent storage. Force yourself to make a decision whether to keep or toss.

Copyright© 2005, Maria Gracia. All right reserved. Maria Gracia is nationally recognized author, speaker, consultant, and professional organizer.  She is founder of Get Organized Now!, specializing in helping people get better organized to live the kind of stress-free life they've always dreamed of and co-founder with husband, Joe, of Give to Get Marketing Newsletter. Want to get organized? Get your FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, Want Marketing Strategy Tips? Get complimentary Marketing Idea-Kit, For information about Marcia's Presentations and Consulting Services, contact the FrogPond at 800.704.FROG(3764) or email
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