Pack Rat Gene

Well, here I am celebrating a year (plus a couple weeks) in the new condo.  I had some grand plans for things to be done around here.

–  plans to tidy the place up — organize all my stuff so that it’s accessible, but not cluttering up the square footage

–  plans to personalize it — make it so it doesn’t look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens, but GnuKid’s Home and Gardens

–  and the biggie plans to just build ‘my bubble’ — that place where I feel comfortable and relaxed when I’m ‘home’, whether alone or throwing a party.

Success?  Marginal.  I’ve done a little of each one of those categories of plans.

What happened was that I got myself moved in ‘just enough’.  I cold find most of my stuff, the place looked presentable, and there was at least a couple square feet where I could settle in with a book or drink (okay…both) and feel ‘home’.

But ‘just enough’ isn’t good enough anymore.  I need to get back to fulfilling the plans.

On the Tidy Up plan?  I’m struggling.  I have the Pack Rat Gene.

might well dressed rats, I'd say

When I left the ex-spouse, she kept a ton of crap.  But, I still got away with a lot of stuff.  Much of it ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’.  Books I never read and likely never will.  The old furniture she didn’t want.  About 5 box loads of vinyl records*.  Boxes of papers…records, fun stuff, instructions to things I no longer own, 2 racquetball racquets (even though I haven’t played in 15 years), and so on…

And I can’t find anything because there’s too much of everything in too many boxes in the garage and I haven’t been able to organize it.

Nor get rid of any of it.

How did I get like this?

I am a Baby Boomer.  A child of The Greatest Generation (those who lived…and fought…through World War II).

Those in the Greatest Generation actually lived through one of the worst depressions this country has seen.  For those growing up in the depression, they learned that saving and reuse is not just a good idea, but a mandate to assure money was available for food, lodging, and clothing.

Habits learned by those children of the depression stayed with our parents, even as they transitioned into the economic boom following WW II.

And those habits were passed along.  Genetically?  Is there really a gene?  Nah.  But there is innate habit which is learned…was learned by me.

Now, I’m not talking the extreme of the lady with 93 cats wandering through mazes of floor-to-ceiling stacks of newspapers and magazines being saved ‘just in case’.  But I am talking about keeping things unlikely to be needed again…or at all — old grocery bags, half used paper tablets, those books which I never did, nor never likely will, read…

And I have to learn to let go of it all.  To keep only that which I really need, not that which I think I want because I ‘just might’ have a use for one day.

But it’s a hard habit to break.

Wish me luck.  I’m off to fill the dumpster with another pile of papers I’ve never needed and likely won’t again…


*you kids who don’t know what those are, go ask your parents…or grandparents.

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10 Responses to “Pack Rat Gene”

  1. daisyfae Says:

    the dumpster is your friend. buy it a drink and fill it….

  2. nursemyra Says:

    I love a good clean up. the Virgo in me relishes organisation

  3. hisqueen Says:

    My dad and stepmom bought a bigger house just to hold all her junk that she refuses to get rid of. she saves all the boxes her Nutcrackers come in and all the Beanie Babies and her clothes from the 70’s have a special room just to hold them all.
    They can’t even get into the dining room anymore because of all the stuff piled up.
    I feel bad for them. I know they hate it but it’s hard to break old habits.

  4. Megan Says:

    I have a guest bedroom filled with about a dozen boxes of crap I need to unpack. Since I’m rounding the corner on four months unemployed, I’m afraid to unpack. That’s just an invitation for Murphy and his Law to make it so that I have to break my lease and move again.

    Unemployment royally sucks… 😦

  5. Rob Says:

    I may have the Pack Rat gene too. But, I am trying to fight it.

    I not only have 3 boxes of my own vinyl, but also two more boxes I inherited from my dad. Someday, I’ll digitize all that vinyl. Someday….

    Books: Why can’t we get rid of books? I had an engineer friend/colleague who once rescued a bunch of engineering text books from a dumpster. Foolishly, I accepted some of them. And I still have them! (Although not for much longer.)

    I will join you, in spirit, on the quest for order, organisation and less stuff!

  6. TBFKAMP Says:

    The road to hell is paved with (the detritus piled up in lonely forgotten corners) ..

  7. beaverboosh Says:

    throw it all away and free yourself of clutter my son… true happiness does not require stuff

  8. thegnukid Says:

    daisyfae – is that a euphemism?

    nursemyra – then i’d like to invite you over to help…my treat!

    hisqueen – i know i’m not the only one who does this, but it still feels good to hear stories like that.

    megan – ouch! that makes it even worse. at least you do have that spare bedroom you can pile stuff up in. here’s to a job showing up for you next week!

    rob – yep, that’s my hope as well…digitize the vinyl. but, i’m not sure i’d still be able to let go of the vinyl afterwards. the books? i harbor this secret fear that there’s a priceless original in there…but i’m too lazy to do the research. [sigh]

    TBFKAMP – so, according to you, i’m going to hell unless i clean up my act? [smirk] i think i’m on my way irrespective…

    beaverboosh – i hear you, oh wise one. now to make actions follow words. grrr.

  9. silverstar98121 Says:

    One thing I learned from Flylady is that you can’t organize clutter, you can only get rid of it. And BTW, those vinyl records are worth big bucks these days, in case you need money in a hurry.

  10. The Price of Memories « The Wilds of Ohio Says:

    […] mentioned i’m a pack rat. and, despite high hopes at the time i moved in, i haven’t made a dramatic dent in the amount […]

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