How To, New Year New Me

How to Downsize for Pack Rats

If you’re like me – you like to hang onto everything.  This has been my lifestyle forever and, when I was living with my mom and have a room that spanned the length of the garage, I was able to fit just about everything in it.  I didn’t have to worry about not having room for anything.  It was just my stuff and me crammed into my cozy room (and we were happy!).

The pile of stuff I had before moving out.

But, of course I had to go fall in love with another pack rat who had the luxury of having two rooms to cram things into.  We decided to move in with each other and found a nice 800 square foot apartment that snugly fit two pack rats, a dog who loves to shed, a kitten who likes to prowl, and a little girl who has no concept of what a mess is.  If you can imagine, the majority of our 800 square foot apartment is being used to store boxes that we just have no room for.

Now if you’re not like me, you would have no issue giving stuff up and donating it or throwing it out.  But, like I said earlier, I hold on to everything.  Ya, that long touristy straw cup that I got at the fair that will never be used again but I got it anyway because it was awesome-looking and pink – can’t stand to part with it.

So, if you’re a pack rat and need help downsizing continue reading to learn about down-sizing your apartment, room, house, or living space.

1. Take your time

I understand how utterly exhausting and stressful downsizing can truly be.  Even if you want a nice living space immediately, learn to accept that it’s not going to happen overnight and take your time with it.  Learn when to walk away and use those breaks!  Your Facebook can’t update yourself, you know.

2. Wondering if you should keep it?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I used this item within the past month?  If the answer is no, move onto the next question.
  • Does this have sentimental value?  Yes?  It’s okay to keep it!  Tuck it away or store it loud and proud, darling.
  • Is this item a multiple?  Yes?  Chances are, you don’t need it.  If you need more convincing, move onto the next question.
  • Can something else do the same job this item does?  Yes?  Girl, you don’t need that hassle in your life.  In this case – the easy route is the best route.  Toss it!
  • Do I really have the space for this?  Be honest here.  If you don’t have the space, you should probably reconsider if you want to keep it.

If you still aren’t sure, set it down and come back to it.  It’s alright to be unsure.  It’s better to wait until you are sure than be unsure and throw it out.  Your soul and spirit will feel much better knowing you were confident in your decision in case you change your mind later.

3. Start small and go big!

Don’t jump into the huge stuff right away.  Throw out the trash, do some laundry, and trash/donate stuff you KNOW you want gone.  By doing that, your space will look cleaner without getting into the dirty stuff.

4. If you need help, be careful of who you employ.

If you decide the task is too great for you, be wary of who you ask for help.  Why?  People who push you to throw things out can make the job more stressful and make you second guess yourself.  Employ someone who knows when you need to be pushed and when they need to back off.

5. But, help is strongly encouraged!

If you can find someone to help clean and downsize, get them!  Having help will keep you motivated and give you the emotional support you’ll need to make the big step in throwing things out or giving things away.

Speak to me, Wonder Pets.

6. Turn the dreaded chore into a game!

Every game needs a prize.  Although the point of the chore is to bring stuff out of the house, set yourself a prize at the end.  For every full box of items that you’re donating, allow yourself to go get one item to bring back into the house.  If that’s not something you want to do, ensure that you have something to look forward to when you donate or trash items.  That way, the chore isn’t all about giving stuff away (which I know you don’t want to do.)

7. If you really want to keep a lot, find a spot for it.

I don’t mean cramming things in random spaces.  Go to the store, buy storage boxes and set everything up so it looks nice and things are where they need to go.  Get creative with storage space.  Pinterest is your friend!  Look up ways to conserve space so you have more space.

8. But, be ready to face the reality.

Although we don’t want to admit it, our pack rat tendencies don’t always work out.  If you don’t have the space for something, you have to really think if you want this in your house.  Sometimes, we just have to do things we don’t want to do for the better of our house and ourselves.

9. Above all else, remember this.

You are not stupid, dumb, horrible, or whatever mean thing you can think about yourself because you are a ‘pack rat’.  Just because you have issues with throwing things out or giving things away doesn’t make you any of that.  You are doing a great job and the best you can wish for is taking it one step at a time.  You are your best motivator.  Don’t let those bad thoughts bring you down!

More articles about cleaning:

How to Clean Your Bedroom Quickly
Great Closet Cleaning Tips
How to Catch Up on Cleaning


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