We all know how annoying packrats can be. There’s no need to discuss that.
We also know that packrats absolutely must get rid of stuff, no matter how painful or distasteful the prospect is to them, if they don’t want to end up on “Hoarders” or some other horrible reality show.
We know you love the packrat in your life. But their habits are driving you crazy.
What can you do to keep the peace while fighting the clutter?
Here are a few hints, learned the hard way. I hope they will help you–and your packrat!
1. Don’t try to shame your packrat.
Packrats know they have a problem. They don’t need you to tell them that. What they need are gentle but firm (and relatively frequent) reminders of what needs be done, and sometimes (if they ask for it) help doing it. They also need to know that they are loved and respected for all their many good qualities, despite their problem with getting rid of things. Trying to make them feel ashamed of their packrat tendencies won’t help with that at all.
2. Don’t “help” your packrat by doing the work for them without asking their permission.
This will not go over well. Don’t believe me? Try it, you’ll see. (But please don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
3. Do offer to help your packrat get rid of things if you think you can do so without losing your temper.
There’s really no point in getting angry with packrats. It doesn’t help; in fact it is counterproductive. They are not being the way they are to bug you. They just can’t help themselves.
4. Try assigning your packrat certain parts of the house where they can keep their stuff, and you will turn a blind eye to the clutter.
You will still want to help keep a mindful eye on the situation to make sure the clutter is not going to create health or safety problems. But if it’s just a royal mess, and your packrat promises to honor the boundaries you’ve agreed on, let it go. You don’t need them to be perfect, do you?
5. If the problem goes beyond mere distaste for and difficulty in getting rid of things, you may need to seek professional help.
The Institute for Challenging Disorganization is a great resource for information about cluttering, hoarding and related problems. If your packrat’s problem is really serious, you can ask local medical professionals, clergy or social workers for help in finding someone who knows how to work with people who have problems with hoarding.
Janet Hulstrand is a writer/editor, writing coach , travel blogger, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home.
Filed under: decluttering, downsizing, downsizing the home, emptying the house, Uncategorized | Tagged: dealing with packrats, decluttering, downsizing the home, getting rid of stuff, hoarding, packrats |