30 January 2015

Are You a Pack Rat?

Are you sitting there, surrounded by clutter, running out of space, unable to put your hands on what you need when you need It? Where does all this clutter come from? Does it just appear overnight, is someone deliberately trying to bury us under mountains of clutter? Let's pinpoint some sources so we can be on guard (and one step ahead of the clutter!)

Where Does It Come From?

1. Hobbies - equipment and papers, partially completed projects.
2. Clubs and organizations - Scouts, Brownies, P&C, CWA, CFA, SES and so on.
3. Holidays - souvenirs, brochures, itinerary, matchbooks.
4. Gifts - all those lovely little souvenirs family and friends give you as mementoes of their holidays, the wonderful artwork that comes home from school or kinder everyday etc.
5. Inheritance - no need to say more.
6. Breakage and Loss - the cup with the broken handle, the button your found under the chair etc.
7. Worn out but still good - old faded curtains (maybe they can be dyed), old clothes (they may be good for gardening)
8. Out of Style - old fashioned, but too good to give away or throw out
9. General paper - junk mail, school newsletters, church bulletins etc.
10 Kids - and I don't mean the children themselves, just the stuff they attract (mini meal toys etc.)
11 Religion - it's hard to throw away religious stuff, isn't it?
12 Home decorating - old pictures, old wall papers, old ornaments, soft furnishings, old paint etc.

What do I do with it?

Firstly, don't confuse collecting with cluttering or collections with clutter. There is a distinct difference. Collectors are usually much more restrained, know exactly what they are collecting and collect  only it, and are much more organized than the average packrat. Collectors are selective, packrat keep anything and everything.

To deal with clutter successfully, you will need to decide whether you are a collector or a packrat. If you are a collector, find ways to display or store your collection safely, weed out the junk and get rid of it.

If you are a packrat it's not so easy. You will probably have years and years of ingrained habits to overcome. Start by sorting (I know that its hard) into groups - use, save, throw out, sell, give away. Neatly put away the 'use' items, store the 'save' items, immediately get rid of the 'throw out' items - don't even think that they may come in handy, and take the 'give aways' to the Salvos straight away.

Now, I don't expect that this will happen immediately, and it may take more than one session. Be diligent, follow the steps, your clutter will disappear and in its place, you'll find a collection.

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