Helping a Pack Rat Get Organized

Do you have any tips for helping a pack rat organize and get rid of their stuff? Feel free to post them below.

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By (Guest Post)
June 21, 20050 found this helpful

this helped me alot because my mom is a pack rat but she cant throw anything out!! i dont know how to make her toss stuff out.


any advice?

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By Betty (Guest Post)
May 28, 20080 found this helpful

I live alone. I am disabled but I still am able to do some things. Everybody says they'll come and help declutter my spare bedroom. Nobody shows. The entire room is FULL. No room for a guest at all. What to do? HELP!

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May 13, 20110 found this helpful

I can be a pack rat too, when I recently married and moved to the UK, I had to get rid of everything that wouldn't fit in two suitcases! Luckily I had been curbing my pack rat tendencies for a long time before falling in love after a divorce left me on my own for 13 years. :)

The best advice is to take it in small steps, and don't spend money on storage bins-reuse shoe boxes, cereal boxes, wood pallets, beach coolers, grocery bags-the list of 'free' storage items is endless. Lots of great storage ideas right here on ThriftyFun!


Make a long term goal of course, but focus on a series of short term goals-start with organizing one drawer in the kitchen, and move on to the cabinets, then a closet, then a whole room.

Look at what is in the space you've chosen to organize and decide what you use regularly. Get rid of the stuff you don't use, either sell it, give it away, throw it out, or put it in a box marked appropriately, for example: 'kitchen junk drawer rarely used', and then stick it in the attic, under the bed, where ever-eventually you'll get back to those boxes you accumulate while organizing, lol, so be sure to stack neatly with the label facing out.

Plan to do at least one organizing job a day or week. Pretty soon you'll find yourself organizing as a habit, and sticking to the organization pattern you've developed.


Don't be hard on yourself, don't give up if you have a 'fail' (organizing one way doesn't work? Try something different until you find what will work for you), and don't been in a rush to get it all done in one day.

Most of all, remember that studies have shown it takes three weeks for a behavior to become a habit.

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May 29, 20110 found this helpful

What helped me enormously was watching "Hoarders: Buried Alive"..seeing it completely out of control that way was incentive enough to change before my pack rat tendencies got out of control !

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March 22, 20130 found this helpful

I have found when helping someone organize, take 1 garbage bag (medium size or 3 smaller ones) a day> use that. Have a corner like on front porch, or in garage to put stuff> then call Habitat, Salvation Army, or other such agency for free pick up.


Have a garage sale, and what does not sell donate. Or give to friends and family.

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March 22, 20130 found this helpful

If there is something that is special to you but you don't use or need, take a photo of it and then pass the item along to a charity so you will feel good about being generous and still you won't forget about it.

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March 25, 20130 found this helpful

My advice is to begin with small steps. One room or a whole house is too overwhelming to think about, but divide up the room and it becomes more manageable. Start in one corner, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can accomplish. Have boxes or bags labeled "Donate", "Trash", "Keep" and "Decide Later".


This makes disposing of things quick. Also I've heard the motto if you don't love or use it, get rid of it. I'm not there yet, but my goal is to unclutter more space in my house. I like the earlier post about taking a picture of something special before donating it. You will always have the memory of it without having to store it.

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January 12, 20150 found this helpful

I really love that idea of photographing items to keep the memory and then letting go of them. I was a packrat for years. Now, I am no longer bringing unnecessary things into my home, but I'm still fighting the aftermath. I find that visualizing the space as it will look uncluttered makes the process easier. This gives a positive twist to the drudgery and a goal to work toward. When I focus on the clutter it seems endless, but having something to look forward to gives me more motivation. You can do it! Remember it didn't get that way overnight.

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