Pack Rat Day: 5 Ideas to Get Rid of Things We Want but Don’t Need

clutterMay 17th is Pack Rat Day! It’s a great reminder we need to shed some of our treasured trash. It’s difficult to let go of sentimental things — the rock you found on a weekend trip to the Upper Peninsula ten years ago, the ticket stub to see Pirates of the Caribbean on the seventh date with your husband — but it can be done. Here are 5 ideas to get rid of things we want but don’t need.

Baby Steps

Where to start in a room full of chaos is a burden, let alone clearing out a whole home. Make it easy on yourself and start with a small area to sort through and work your way around the room and through your house. Don’t try to tackle too much at once – it can be overwhelming. Little by little, you’ll be able to conquer your clutter.

clutter-2Use Your Instincts

Your instincts rarely steer you in the wrong direction. You know when something is junk and when you’re holding on to something for the wrong reasons. When you’re going through your things, pick up each item and ask yourself two questions: 1) Do I really need this? 2) Will this item find a place in my home other than this pile of mementos? If you answer “no” to either question, throw it out.

organized roomClassify

Sort through your belongings and group them by functionality, purpose or place. Classifying your items will help you organize and get rid of anything you might have more than one of.


According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, visual clutter makes it hard to focus. When your house is a jumble of mementos from way-back-when, it’s hard to concentrate on what’s important now. Once everything has been classified, it helps to sub-categorize by uniformity. Sorting your possessions by size, color, shape, or whatever makes sense, helps to visually streamline your things. Uniformity also works in where you place things.

organized boxesMaintenance

Once your house is de-cluttered, keep it neat. Two methods for maintenance are 1) Make it a habit to throw one useless item out a day 2) Practice one-in-one-out – in other words, if you buy one thing, you have to throw something out.

There’s nothing wrong with being a pack rat, but there are many benefits of de-cluttering. There is less mess, less stress and less to dispossess. Happy Pack Rat Day!

1 Response

  1. July 5, 2014

    […] Pack Rat Day: 5 Ideas to Get Rid of Things We Want but Don’t Need ( […]

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