Cleaning & Organizing Tips for Hoarders & PackRats •
Good news! There ARE ways YOU can declutter your entire life and rid yourself of those old pack rat habits.
According to Merriam, a pack rat is “a person who collects or hoards especially unneeded items”.
Now, I don’t really associate “pack rat” with “hoarder” – to me, those are two different extremes.
In my opinion, a pack rat is someone who rarely throws things away.
I’ll admit, I can absolutely be a pack rat – I have this irrational fear that if I throw certain things away, I’m going to need them after they’re gone. Once I realized that about myself, I stopped organizing my clutter and actually began to DEclutter.
Here are more organizing tips for packrats and hoarders that really REALLY help.
Here are some super helpful decluttering tips for pack rats, like me =)
It’s very easy to assume that anyone who lives in a decluttered, organized house was born organized and always lived clutter free. However, some of the most organized people I have known started out as disorganized pack rats.
I’m also a former pack rat. People I’ve met in the past few years are often surprised to find out that my space used to always be very cluttered and disorganized. Because I work to live clutter free, I know that if you set your mind to getting rid of your own clutter, you can.
If you’re a pack rat looking to put some order to your house, these tips can help the process along:
Decluttering a house is hard. Decluttering a room is easier. Decluttering a desk is even easier. Divide the space you need to declutter into smaller and smaller sections until you can look at a section and say, “I can tackle this!” Work on this space, then move to the next.
Track Your Progress
Take a camera and snap a few pictures of your space before you start. When you finish decluttering a section, snap another picture of that area. When you compare the pictures, you’ll be able to see the decluttering progress that you’ve made.
Get Rid of the Obvious Trash First
The first thing you should do when you declutter is take a trash bag and get rid of the obvious trash. Junk mail, packaging, last week’s shopping list – trash them. You will instantly see some progress in your decluttering project.
Have trouble throwing things away?
Here are 7 questions I ask myself when deciding whether to keep a thing – or trash it.
Start With the Noticeable, Then Move To the Hidden
It is easy for pack rats to start emptying out all of the dark corners and hidden spaces when they declutter. However, if you already have clutter sitting out in view, this only adds to what you need to work on to have a visibly decluttered space. Start with what you can see. Then tackle your hidden clutter zones one at a time.
Keep Fewer Multiples
Do you really need six travel cups and four weeks’ worth of socks? Much of the extra unused stuff in our lives is easily obtainable again if we find that we need it in the future. If you have more of something than you use, thin it out until you only have what you actively use.
It’s easy to get involved in planning your entire course of action for decluttering your home, but if you spend all of your time planning and don’t get rid of stuff, you will be no better off than before you decided to take the decluttering plunge. Start now by finding five things you don’t want to keep, or by clearing the junk mail off of your desk. Doing something small is better than doing absolutely nothing.
There are also a couple of things that you can do to help you keep your space decluttered over time. These tips take some dedication, but will help you long-term.
Don’t Try to Change Overnight
You didn’t become a pack rat in a day — it was a habit that you built up over time. So, for long-term results, don’t worry about trying to change yourself in a day or week. Work on finding and changing the little habits that all contribute to your pack rat nature. If you work on changing your habits one at a time, your progress will be more sustainable.
Learn About Your Buying Habits
A decluttered space is energizing, but if you are still following your old clutter-building ways, that space will fill up before long. Pay attention to the reasons why you buy things. Do you buy new things to cheer you up? Or do you feel a thrill when you find a new yard sale gem? I used to compulsively browse through craft stores and used book stores when I felt bored. Learning why you buy and keep things will make you more aware when you’re about to buy something that will quickly turn to clutter in your newly decluttered space.
When you’re a pack rat, decluttering your house may seem too big or too involved of a task. But if you break the process up into sections and learn a few things about yourself, you can not only get rid of the clutter, but keep it away.
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