Packrat or Purger?

My husband and I are packrats. We save everything. I'm not sure which one of us is worse. I'm thinking him, although he'd surely say me.

I confess my writing room is overflowing with books, magazines, newspapers, cassette tapes, CDs, conference tote bags, conference workshop notebooks, files containing 'how to' articles, pads, pens, outdated promo items, wigs and hair pieces of numerous colors, various props, costumes, and shoes. Er, yes, my writing room doubles as a wardobe room for my entertainent gigs. Although the garage and spare bedroom are also overflowing with elements from my hey-day as a character actress.

Let's not even talk about my garage. The mere thought of cleaning that disaster zone causes my TMJ to flare up.

My guest room is more managable. We're talking rooting through an overabundance of shoes, purses, and clothes. The closet is exploding as are my dressers. It's insane. There are things in there that I have not worn in 3 -9 years. Things I hang onto because I like them and think I might wear them, but, I NEVER WILL.

Some of them are now too small (don't ask why). Some items should simply not be worn by a forty-something woman. *g*

I've decided to de-clutter our lives and I'm starting with clothes and shoes. I am NOT going to have a yard sale. Like I have time to organize that. Nor am I going to haul them to a consignment shop. My mantra in this project is: Let it go and give it away.

I started with our rather large collection of jackets and winter coats. I parted with quite a few retro favorites. I just kept thinking about how some people have no decent coats at all, and here I had several. Sinful. Steve found it hard to part with some of his jackets. Some of them were like new, but he never wears them. I kept repeating my mantra. Let it go.

We ended up filling two huge bags with coats and jackets. And I cleaned out one of my dressers as well. For fear that we might have second thoughts, I loaded the bags in the car right then and drove them out to where I thought I'd seen clothing donation bins. There were in fact three. Three different charities. I put one bag in each. And I hoped that someone would get some good use out of the coats and clothes.

I'll be making several more trips to those charity bins.

So what about you? Are you a packrat? Or do you regularly purge your house of unneeded items? If you do clean out your closets, please consider donating those clothes to people in need. 'Tis the season, after all.


Tori Lennox said…
My name is Tori and I'm a packrat. Unfortunately, most of my junk is paper & stuff no one else would get much use from, not clothing. But I periodically attempt to weed some of it out. Guess I need to do that again....
Cynthia said…
Oh, I am always fighting the packrat gene I have inherited from BOTH sides of my family. I can and do purge things though. I will eventually get stressed by all the clutter and will clean up, organize then start all over again. Basically, lather-rinse-repeat.

Of course, giving into the temptation of the back to school sales this past August hasn't helped the clutter one ounce.
Jordan Summers said…
Beth, I need to do the same, although I'm not too bad of a packrat.
Brooks said…
Hello fellow members of PRA (Pack Rats
Anonymous). I am a pack rat. My problem is multiplied by its being part of the clutter ...mixed in with things that I actually need and use.
I don't have enough storage space.
I need professional help!
Maureen said…
I am a pack rat! *waving hi*

As those that had a glimpse at my inbox while at NJRW (missed seeing you this year) I have over 1500 emails saved! I keep saying i will go through and delete or move to files. i'm also one that has books and articles from magazines I swear i am going to organize into research and "what if" files. *humming* Tomorrow, i love ya tomorrow.

While at NJRW i attended a metaphysics seminar. Did you know that when a squirrel runs across your path it means you are hoarding too much? lol okay that is more than a daily occurance in my life! I always thought they were targeting my car for some reason!

We are in the last stages of renovating our house and hopefully will be moving back in soon. Before we started I bagged alot of clothes of mine, the hubby's, and the kids and took them to a nearby halfway house. Also toys, knicknacks, and the things still in boxes from when we moved into the house 8 years earlier.

But I know we were so excited to get started alot got packed into storage that should have gone. Its such a clean empty house right now! I am so nervous about bringing those boxes back in the house!I know if I do I'll come up with an excuse to keep it.
Beth Ciotta said…
Well, well, well. Hello fellow pack rats! Who knew there'd be so many? Maybe it's a creative people thing. Fully enjoyed hearing everyone's stories.

Tori, I have the paper and stuff thing going on too.

Cynthia, lather-rinse-repeat.. ha! That's me.

Jordan, you sound like the neatest out of all of us. We hate you. *g*

Brooks, we need to get you on one of those relaity shows where they rearrange your living space. :) Although you'd probably never find anything again.

Maureen, sorry I missed NJRW and you! Sounds like you did some major rooting out. Yay for the donations! Good luck with moving back in. May it go swiftly!
ElsieHogarth said…
A PRA and proud of it. I can honestly say that for the last 2 months I have been de-cluttering my life of books(20 boxes donated to my local library), clothes & shoes(9 bags to GoodWill), coats & jackets (9 to a local homeless shelter) paper etc. It's very hard to do but once you begin there is no stopping you. Like you said Beth: Just Let It GO.
Constance said…
Packrat? Packrats fear me. *g* But I have an excuse, you see, I am also an artist. You never know when those torn pieces of tissue paper and mismatched lengths of string will come in handy. Broken neon sign? Check (I'll fix it someday) Cardboad tube rolls that stuff came wrapped around? Check. (Great pet rat playslides) Odd and assorted pieces of wood? Check. (They could be useful if I want to make a guitar from scratch) Books? Um... the local public library considered using my house as a neighborhood branch...

The ability to train my dogs for agility right inside my own house? - Priceless.
Anna Lucia said…
I AM a packrat, but I regularly purge, too. Luckily our village school has a collection of clothes, bags and things every six months or so. A company comes and collects them for shipping out to eastern european countries and war zones, and they school gets paid some money per tonne.

Everyone's a winner!
Beth Ciotta said…
Woo-hoo on letting GO, Elsie. You rock!

Constance, and once again you crack me up. :) Ability to make me smile--Priceless.

Anna, what a wonderful service that company provides. Here's to charitable hearts. :)

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