Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Confessions of a Pack Rat

Hi. My name is Norma and I'm a recovering pack rat. 

I started thinking about this yesterday. A friend drove me to an appointment with my neurologist, and I chided her a bit about the large pile of books, magazines and other paperwork in the back seat of her Prius. She is not a pack rat--just very, very busy. She's always running from one meeting to another, from one friend or another in need of her help, and rarely finds the time to organize everything. 

I come from a long line of pack rats. Mom was a pack rat. Dad used to threaten to replace all of our tables with large standing funnels so she couldn't pile stuff on them. She'd go to yard sales and bring home a lot of crap she'd never actually use. The next time she left the house, he'd carry it all out to the dumpster, and the cycle would begin again.

My maternal grandparents were also pack rats. I won't go into detail here. Let's just say Indiana Jones wouldn't have gone looking for anything in their house. 

Collin is a fourth-generation pack rat. He never gets rid of anything, no matter how much I beg. I refer to his bedroom as The Landfill. Our dog, a rather large German shepherd, wouldn't go in there. Our pig, however, didn't mind it at all. Enough said.

He's trying. He did buy the shredder....

As for me...I've always had a tendency to let mail pile up. I'd fill shopping bags with mail, magazines, and assorted crap that I knew should really be given away or thrown away. I'd have five or six bags full before I finally forced myself to sort them. One month, none of our bills got paid because I lost them. Our birth certificates were also lost. (I suspect they ended up in the recycling, but it's never been proven.)  
Now, documents will occasionally pile up, waiting for me to scan them into the computer. There will be stuff piled up in the storeroom when I'm weeding out, finding things to donate to the annual church sale. Old clothes might pile up until I get around to cutting them up for cleaning cloths. But I'm making progress...really, I am!

I wonder when A&E will decide to do a series on pack rats? 


  1. My Mom is a huge pack rat and growing up in that mess had the opposite affect on me - I am extremely neat and tidy and get rid of the newspaper as soon as I am finished reading it. TLC already has a show on pack rats to the extreme - Hoarders. It's horrifying. Watching an episode of that would turn any pack rat into a neat freak!

  2. Oh--TLC has Hoarders? I thought it was A&E. I confess...I've never seen it. Pack Rat though I have been, hoarding is something I just could not do!

  3. And I'm the opposite... I'm not a pack rat at all.

    If you happen to miss scanning documents, they'll always turn up again when you're looking for something else in the Pile.

    1. No pile anymore--not a big one, anyway. Just one accordion folder.

      Just so they don't end up in the shredder prematurely!

  4. As I'm reading this Norma, I'm thinking I really should look through the bills on my desk..when we went to Sydney a few weeks ago, luckily I DID look, there were three overdue accounts, one being electricity, my daughter staying here alone would so not have appreciated it if all the lights had gone out while alone haha! OK I'm going right now to check!!

    1. My son solved the matter of losing bills--we now get those online!

  5. I have the sure fire way to get over pack rat tendancies... have a major flood in your house and have to lug up boxes of wet stuff. As you bag it all you ask yourself why did I keep this?

    While we never experienced flooding this bad, we have had floods in the past and everytime we do we always scale back on the stuff that we keep.... Sadly though, after a few years we forget :)

    thanks for all your help and support! really appreciate it!


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