Do you look around your office or garage and see stacks of out-of-date magazines, unread books, boxes of history files, or just plain clutter? Is your professional excellence suffering because you can’t find the right data or documentation amid the office clutter?

‘Pack-ratting’ or hoarding is commonly seen in Elders that have survived the Great Depression, the Holocaust, prisoners of war, country wide famines, or other events where food or other basic survival elements were rationed or unable to be obtained. This response has created what we call the ‘scarcity mentality’. An example of the scarcity mentality is an Elder we know today keeps the pantry and freezer stocked so that he and his grandchildren will NEVER be hungry again.

Hoarding can also be demonstrated by anyone that has collected an excessive number of newspapers, magazines, old clothes, egg cartons, even the acquisition of cats and dogs. Frequently, we place a sentimental value on certain items as a remembrance of past ‘hey-days’, memories of loved ones that have passed away, a source of security even, a substitution for love. Often with an offer of assistance, these same ‘pack-ratters’ will welcome company to weed through the disproportionate heaps and remove the clutter.

If you think you may have become a ‘packrat’, ask yourself:

  • Are there other activities that you are not able to do by having all of the current clutter in place, such as, you can’t go camping because your old high school text books are stacked on top of the camper?
  • Are there stories or personal attachments to the articles in the clutter? How can you honor your personal history with these items and reduce them to a manageable few?
  • What are the feelings you associate with any of the stacks of possessions? Do you have the feeling of security with this amount of stuff around all the time?
  • Are you waiting on someone else to make decisions regarding the stacks of articles and they may have just forgotten about them? What requests do you need to make so that you regain some organization in your life?
  • How can you devise a workable timeline to remove, store, give to relatives, donate to worldwide missions, or even sell the articles? What outside resources will you need to contact for help?
Are You a Pack Rat?