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I know that this sounds simplistic but if you are a pack rat (and who isn't?), try to root through your things on a regular basis. I put away items into a "safe" place and then I cannot find them. I am in a store and I "think" I need pens when I have dozens of them, if I only knew where. I have been going through some of my things for spring cleaning and I found that I have three different packages of whiteout because I put each one in a different place for storage. This goes for food. And seasonal clothes. Do not buy new clothes before you take out the clothes that you have stored and really know what you need (or can fit into). I believed that, as a pack-rat, I was always prepared for an emergency, but the emergency was tieing up my money on things I did not need or already had.
By Heather from Boston, MA
This is an organizing tip from a reforming pack rat that will also save you lots of money. It is a fun challenging idea. We love it!
My husband and I made a decision not to buy anything for one entire year except bare necessities, for example gas, water, groceries, unless we could exchange it for something we already had, but never used. (People, you know who you are!)
Use a large plastic container to store all of your receipts for purchases made within the last 3 months or more, for example clothing store and grocery and home depot, Walmart and other store receipts. Keep it in a easily accessible location, so you can develop the habit of emptying your receipts when you come in.
Pick a closet or dresser to clean out. Recently I found $75.00 worth of clothing from the same store that I had never worn, purchased in August. Here it is January!
I put all of the clothing with receipts in a storage container with a lid, and just checked it if I was running errands (paying bills) and knew I'd be near one of those stores. I saw a skirt that I loved and asked when it would be marked down. Turns out, it was the following week. I traded it in and got a gorgeous denim skirt, which I wear and cost the full amount of my original purchase.
If by chance, you don't have your receipt, most stores will give you credit at the current cost of that item. Having your receipt makes it easier to prove what you spent and less stressful.
What a wonderful reward for my efforts, cleaning and decluttering!
This even works with buying books. I have a ton of them at home, half I have read the others I got from yard sales. There is a wonderful trade in program at a second hand Bookstore in a nearby town. I took in enough books to have credit built up of $50.00.
I kept a list of books I wanted to get and kept it in my purse. The next time I wanted to get some books, it cost me nothing but the time it took to clean off the shelves at home.
Not only did this improve the Feng (how do you say) Shui, giving us less clutter. It also helped us stick to our commitment not to purchase impulsively.
I could go on forever with ways that we have saved by adopting this clean and trade policy in our household.
Lastly, I wanted to paint the kitchen and we all know that can be costly. I took three different colored paints and mixed them to get the desired color I wanted (Salmon). Warning do not do this without first calling the paint dept of your local paint store or Home Depot. Or you might be forced to spend money to fix the error.
After calling HD, I opened three cans of paint and began to slowly mix them with the off white that I had. These paints had been in the closet for months! My kitchen looks so cute! And it cost me all of $15.00 (spent last year) to paint. I used to shop in the Oops section of the paint department. Now those cans of Oops have turned my kitchen to FAB! Not only did organizing the paint closet help me realize I had enough supplies to paint the entire house, it helped to create one great color out of three not so great.
Think collecting receipts does not pay? We recently realized we have $1,000.00 in merchandise from Costco that we never used, from our wedding. Look out Costco, here we come!
By Felicia from Apache Junction
Do you have any tips for helping a pack rat organize and get rid of their stuff? Feel free to post them below.
I decided several years ago not to keep everything "just in case". I know several people I can call if I need something I do not save, like oleo tubs, coffee cans, or even bits of fabric. Why not let them save the extra things so I can stay organized? It works very well for me and even if I can't find what I need from friends, the items usually don't cost much to buy, much less than hiring a professional organizer.
By Susan from Elkhart, IN
If you have not yet seen the show on TLC called "Clean Sweep", you should! I came from a long line of relatives that hung on to everything for whatever reasons. This show has really opened my eyes to what you should or should not keep and when.
I have watched high school/college cheerleaders and football players give up uniforms, helmets, trophies, etc., even heirloom items. If you never use it, let someone else have it or sell it. If you don't have it already displayed in your home and don't intend to, get rid of it.
When you have a yard sale, check on eBay for what the items are selling for and use that as a guide. Chances are, whatever is in your home you can cut in half by 50% (books, music tapes or cd's, toys, clothes, etc.).
By Tator Bug
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Here are questions related to Organizing Tips for a Pack Rat.
I have a pack-rat spouse! He never wants to toss anything. I have been secretly tossing things and they are NEVER missed. But how do I toss old TV's, phones, clothes that will never fit his body again, ect?
Grandma Ev from Southern Indiana
By Annie Rios Hill04/13/2006
I been married 11 yrs to my honey and he does want to keep 'stuff' I do toss out stuff without
his knowing and he has NOT missed or asked for
one item. It is not a matter of 'disrespect' its a matter of clearing clutter. I have finally convinced him that some people like Katrina victims could use
that never opened box of dishes and would be happy to use them! I would rather have my good things re-used than sitting in a box rotting...and
taking up space. So good luck...