If you’ve ever watched Hoarders, you have a good idea what being a pack rat can do to your life. Even if you’re not that bad, it’s a good idea to stop before things get out of hand.
Some people like to hold on to things for a while, because they might need them at a later time. Others keep things as part of a personal collection. Still others simply keep everything that they get their hands on. This last type of person can face a lot of problems because of their refusal or inability to throw things away. Read on and I’ll give you some tips on how to keep your life and your stuff under control.
There was a time in my life where I held on to everything. I grew up poor, so I never wanted to get rid of things because I never knew when I’d get something else. This is the reason why a lot of people become pack rats. There are other reasons, but this is one of the most common ones. There came a time in my life where I was forced, time and again, to sell off or get rid of my possessions. I hated it at the time, but in the long run I have become grateful for it.
After needing to sell off and get rid of things so many times in my life, I’ve learned that you can live a happy life without a lot of stuff. Things are not as important as we often think they are. If you’re a hoarder, that’s an important thing to keep in mind. No amount of stuff is going to make you happy, and in many cases it is actually going to cause you more problems than it’s worth.
Now, not everyone is going to be faced with a situation where they’re forced to get rid of things. If you’re hoarding, it’s actually a good idea to do something about it before anyone has to make you do it. Unfortunately, it can be hard for some people to let go of all the things they have kept over the years. I’ll give you some tips to help you get started.
One of the first things you should do is take a look at all of the things you have hoarded. Begin by separating them into two groups. Put all the things that you actually use on a regular basis into one area, and everything else into another. A “regular basis” would be at least once a week. Those things that you use regularly you will definitely be keeping. As for the rest, you’ll have to take another look.
Of all the things that you don’t use on a regular basis, look for the things that you have used in the last 6 months. Put these items into an area of their own. You may or may not keep them. Now you’re just left with things that you haven’t touched in at least six months. Of these, look for items that have special uses, like wedding or Christmas items. Set those aside, they may be worth keeping.
Now you’re left with items that you rarely, if ever, use. Take a good look at these items. Why are you keeping them? Some things may have sentimental value, like photo albums or your child’s first shoes, but does everything have that much value? Is it going to do great harm to your life if you get rid of them? These are the type of items that you should really get rid of.
If you have items like your kids’ school homework from 2nd grade, clothes that are 30 plus years old, cassette tapes you never listen to, baking racks from your old oven or other useless stuff, it’s time to start getting rid of it. So how do you do it? The methods are different for everyone, but the following are some things that you can use for motivation.
Think about the space that you will reclaim when you get rid of the items. Once you get rid of the junk, you’ll have room to better store the things you really want, as well as space to decorate and entertain family and friends. Another good motivator is money. Think about all the money that you might be able to make if you sold off a lot of the junk that you’ve been carrying around. Some of it may be worthless, but a lot of it could bring money into your home, especially if you have items that are antique or collectible.
For some people, it’s really difficult to start going through the clutter and clearing things out, but in the end, you will be glad that you did. You’re wasting not only space, but personal energy carrying these items from one place to another and keeping them in your life. Getting rid of items from the past can be a wonderfully relieving and liberating experience. By getting rid of the past, you’re making room for the future.
If you’re a pack-rat and you’ve got a houseful of stuff, there is no better time than now to start getting rid of it. If you can’t do it on your own, ask friends and family to help. They can help you decide what’s special, what’s useful, and what’s just taking up space in your life. If your hoarding is severe, you may want to seek professional help. Once you clear out the junk, you’re going to feel a lot better about your life, and maybe even have a fat wallet to show for it.
Some Hard Facts
Hoarding can destroy people’s lives. Some hoarders spend more than they can afford and go into debt, lose their homes to fires when their hoards ignite, and even lose relationships with friends and partners who can not deal with the overabundance of junk that hoarders keep. Many hoarders have relationships end because of their habits, or fear entering a relationship because of the embarrassment of their “collections” and fear that their habits will not be understood.
The medical community currently considers hoarding to be form of OCD, but research is leading them to consider it as a new classification of mental disorder. Hoarding, or being a pack rat is, in its extreme forms, a serious mental disorder. There is currently no cure for it, but behavioral therapy is shown to help. Researchers are studying the way hoarder’s brains work in an attempt to better understand this disorder and help sufferers regain a normal, healthy lifestyle.
ABC News – The Tortured Lives of People Who Can’t Throw Things Out – By Cecile Bouchardeau and Monica Delarosa
KATU – Hoarding disorder sufferers look to new research for help – By Nancy Weiner