Cleaning Advice for a Self Avowed Pack Rat?

I have become a packrat and I need some help in throwing things away. I have a terrible time cleaning. Is there a certain way to go about cleaning out closets, which are full of plastic tubs and boxes here. I need a road map on how to clean my house from top to bottom. Please help.


By Lynn from WV

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November 2, 20100 found this helpful

Do one room at a time. Start with 2 boxes and a trash bag. Trash goes in the bag, items to donate go in one box, items that go in a different room go in the other box. When the donation box is full, put it in you car to take to the second-hand store and make sure you take it the following day. When the 'other rooms' box is full, place those items in the room where they go. Needless to say, you will need several boxes.

When you are going through things, don't keep items just because someone gave them to you or because the item brings back memories because the item isn't the memory, the memory is in your head and heart.


If you haven't used an item, you probably never will. If you have several of the same item, only keep one or none. Two questions to ask yourself are if you really love an item and whether or not you can live without it. Once you start letting go of things, it should get easier.

Also keep in mind, if there is an item you are keeping and never use, there is someone out there who would love to have it and would actually use it. Right now with people losing their jobs and homes I'm sure anything you donate would be very much appreciated.

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November 3, 20100 found this helpful

The key is to do a little at a time, and not to get overwhelmed. Set a goal to go through one box a day or one closet a day (or more if you can handle more, but again, keep a simple goal.) Then stick to your plan.


You make 3 piles: 1 for trash. 1 for charity. 1 to keep.
Throw away anything that is damaged, broken or stained.
Put everything you won't use in the charity pile.
Only keep cherished family heirlooms and photos that are special.
Do this every day.

You'll feel so much better, I promise!

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November 3, 20100 found this helpful

All previous posts are excellent ideas! Like suggested, start out with 1 room at a time and make those piles. If too much to donate and can't get it there yourself, the Salvation Army (in phone book) will come pick it up! If you need help getting trash out, have a younger relative pitch in (or a neighbor kid, etc and pay them). If you haven't used it in a year, get rid of it. I pared down a lot and gave people, family things that would fit in their homes they could use. I enjoy looking at the space!


This project takes time, so take breaks, put on some happy music, make a list when you're sitting down so you can cross out the things you've accomplished and feel good about yourself. Believe me, you won't miss it when it's gone and then be careful not to bring more stuff in, the rule is "whatever comes in, same amount must go out".

If you go through linens, blankets, etc: animal shelters can use clean items. Kitchens are another place to purge! Do you need all those cookbooks? Every recipe you could want is on the web (just keep that special book or family specialties). Keep like items together and organize any clutter. Make a basket to tote around with cleaning supplies to tackle any job, toweling, microfiber cloth, Lysol wipes, Magic Eraser, trash bags (Keep 1clean one in bottom of pail every time you change it out) etc.

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November 4, 20100 found this helpful

I guess I just didn't realize how much stuff I was keeping. I like the sounds of donating my junk and stuff maybe there will be someone out there that needs this mess and will use it. I still have clothes from when I was in high school(hoped to wear that size again).


Thanks everybody on how to go about it I will let ya know when I manage to get it done.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

Baby steps. Don't overdo it by trying to do it in one day. It didn't become overstocked overnight, so one day at a time taking baby steps. Try, it's free and it's all about taking baby steps.

Now for me, something I didn't need but held a memory to, it was easier for me to say goodbye to an item if I took a picture of it. Then I still had the memory that can be stored in the computer and not my closet. Something that didn't fit, by the time I can get back into it the style will probably be outdated so donate. If you haven't seen these items in 6 months or more, unless it's official paper work, donate it. You went at least 6 months without dying cause you needed it. For paperwork (that was my biggest clutter issue), I either scanned and made two copies (hard drive and external drive) and pitched, and some stuff I had to have the original so those were kept.


But by doing this I was able to downsize 4 drawers down to 1. I found stuff from 98!

It really does get a lot easier as you start to release stuff. You then realize it's stuff you were holding onto more for the idea then really what you needed. This is something that even I have been working on.

I have kids, so the toys go to the shelters and orphanages for kids who don't have "homes" like we do. They are ALWAYS very happy to get things. Clothes can go to shelters for homeless or even to shelters for people who are in transition for being abused and are getting out of the situation.

Another must; A TIMER. Set it for 5-15 minutes at a time, after each time limit take 5 minutes to rest and drink some water. This helps keep you hydrated and your blood flowing through you body which carries oxygen throughout your body, helping to keep you energized.

Take your time, most importantantly! is a great way to take baby steps, and it's free.

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March 23, 20150 found this helpful

Read "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. It's great and I assure you, you will learn something to help you discard and organize.

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