Pack Rat Day is almost here! Never heard of it? This is an unofficial holiday on May 17th that encourages decluttering your home and getting rid of useless items that simply take up space. It is a day to clear your mess and make space for new items. As they always say, “Out with the old and in with the new!” But what is a pack rat? And more importantly, are you a pack rat?!
Pack rat is a term for someone who collects unneeded items and refuses to discard them. The term comes from the name of a rodent that collects anything it finds for its nest and often gets distracted by shiny new things. Do you hold on to, collect or hoard unneeded items? Do you have difficulty parting with useless items? If your answer is yes, you’ve caught the pack rat. But don’t worry, we’re here to help!
The key to decluttering is deciding what is truly valuable to you and discarding the rest. Do you have the item because it truly means something to you? Do you use it every day? Are you holding on to it “just in case?” The golden rule is if you haven’t used an item in over 6 months, it probably isn’t worth saving. Let’s trim the fat!
So where do you start? A strategy that we find works well for Pack Rat Day is to create and fill four boxes: Donate/Sell, Toss, Store, and Keep. The Sell/Donate box is for goodwill, your favorite charity or perhaps to make some money off eBay. Toss/trash is for any junk, old papers, broken items, etc. Store is for items that you cannot part with, but don’t play a role in your day to day life. And of course, the Keep box is for items you need and use regularly.
Before you start overfilling the Keep box, here are a few tips:
- Start small. Pick a room and target a specific area. A smaller task is more manageable and less scary.
- Make a list. Get out of your house, to a café or library, and make a list of all of the items you would replace immediately if you were to lose everything. Anything not on the list should be considered for donation, selling or tossing.
- Work in bursts. Work 30 minutes, rest 30 minutes.
- Avoid Frustration. There will be some very tough calls during this process. But there will also be some not so tough calls. We know it’s difficult to part with your trophy/medal for swimming the length of the pool when you were five, but it’s time to let go.
Your Pack Rat Day is complete when all four boxes are filled to the brim. Depending on how much you tend to clutter, try to repeat this exercise once every month or every other month. A key rule to prevent future clutter is one in, one out. Once you buy something new, get rid of an item in your home. And for those of you with a closet full of incandescent light bulbs, toss’em. No need to hoard those anymore. You’ve got Finally® light bulbs for beautiful light 😉