Posts Tagged ‘packratitis’

Pack Rat Gene

November 24, 2009

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.