If you’re a packrat, you keep too much. You know that you should part with more, and every once in awhile, you’ll try – you’ll look at the latest organizational fad or read a popular book on minimalism, and you’ll try to downsize. But it just doesn’t stick – because it’s just not you!

That’s okay. Not every one of us is cut out to be a total minimalist or neat freak. And when we pack rats try to downsize all at once, we’re likely to get frustrated and end up not taking any long-term habits away from our experiments at all. That’s no good – which is why we’re here with this practical guide to small changes with big impacts. You don’t have to stop being a packrat to enjoy a clean and uncluttered space – you just have to manage some of your habits and organize your clutter.

Getting rid of it: thinking of value

Many of us hold onto items because we think they might be useful someday down the line. We’re thinking of value, and how we’d hate to have to buy something later if we have it now. That’s not a bad way to be, but we need to be sensible about it!

For starters, we need to set a clear idea of what is garbage and get rid of anything that qualifies. No matter how prepared you want to be, you don’t need old magazines or empty soda cans. Get rid of them!

For the rest, think about value in a new way. What is your space worth, and are you occupying that valuable square footage in a wasteful way? And what about items that you can sell on Ebay or at a garage sale? In total, their sale price will likely more than cover anything you’ll have to re-purchase later. And, in the meantime, the money you have in your bank or credit union account can grow with interest. Clutter doesn’t generate interest (at least not the monetary kind), so having cash can be more valuable than keeping things for emergencies.

Storing it: organization is key

Of course, we promised that this guide would focus on letting you keep many of your packrat ways – and it will. The way to manage your space as a packrat is to organize and store the things you keep properly.

Think you’ll use those empty cardboard boxes for mail? That’s fine (as long as you don’t keep too many), but cut the tape with a box cutter and fold them up to keep their footprint small. Have stuff you want to keep but rarely use? Consider invest in a storage unit to keep those possessions from cluttering your space. Look for ways to store and organize your items that increase your floor space: vertical storage, such as dressers and bookcases, can be lifesavers.

If you properly organize your space and make sure that you’re getting rid of, at the minimum, garbage and things that you likely will never need (or can re-purchase cheaply if you do), then you’ll be able to create a neat and functional space without becoming some kind of minimalist. Not everyone can part with lots of possessions, and that’s okay! Packrats can be neat, too.

Be Sociable, Share!