How to Stop Being a Packrat

Packrat affliction is gradual and enduring. At first it seems harmless enough to keep everything "just in case" but suddenly, you realize you are overwhelmed with stuff coming out of everywhere. The time to escape is when you realize that the stuff is controlling you rather than the other way around.


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    Recognize that being a pack rat stems from a fear of not being able to provide adequately for yourself &/or family in the future. We hold onto things because they 'may come in handy someday'. Let go of that fear.
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    Recognize that being a pack rat is not budget-friendly. How many times have you bought multiples of the same item because you couldn't find something you bought earlier in the year? It does you no good to squirrel dozens of things away if you can't find them when you need them.
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    Spend a few minutes every day paring down your belongings. If you don't love it, toss it! Better yet, donate it to someone who could really use it. Stop piling up things for a yard sale you know you're never going to host. Get rid of it!
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    Put a weekly entry on your calendar for a trip to a thrift shop donation center. If you block out time on each Wednesday on your way to work, or on the way to your Bridge Club meeting, you can get things out of your house on a weekly basis.
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    Read and immediately recycle your newspapers, magazines, mail, and notices that come home in the kids' backpacks. Never keep more than two issues of any publication around. You can keep the current issue and the last issue. If you have not read these by the time the next issue comes, you are never going to read them, so recycle them now.
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    Get into the habit of only handling paperwork once. If it needs to be filed, do so. If it needs to be signed and returned, do so. Keep your calendar near your 'checking' station so you can write down important dates and then toss the paper clutter!
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    Get into the routine of circling the house once before bedtime to put away or throw away everything which is out of place.
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    Embrace the idea of 'A place for everything and everything in its place'. When your things are organized, you can find them more easily and are less likely to purchase duplicates. If you don't have a good place for something, you should evaluate whether you really love and need the object, or whether someone less fortunate would be better off owning it.
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    Share with neighbors. Do you really need a cappuccino maker for that once a month special coffee you like to make? Maybe you can borrow the machine from your neighbor who does not have room for garden equipment. You can lend her your wheelbarrow every once in a while in return.

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Categories: Clutter Busting