Are You a Pack Rat, Compulsive Hoarder, or Do You Fall Somewhere in Between?

Compulsive hoarding, holding on to possessions to the extent that it negatively affects every aspect of your life, is called Hoarding Disorder, and if this applies to you or someone you love, it’s time to get professional help.

In her blog post, A 61-Year-Old Woman Suffers from Compulsive Hoarding, Cluttering her House, Belleruth explained it this way: “If left untended, it can get quite extreme, with more and more of your life constricted and disabled by it. There is a biochemical and neurological aspect to this condition.

“Some people have so much accumulation, they will only have a narrow path from room to room, because canyons have been created by floor-to-ceiling stacks of newspapers and magazines. Stovetops, sofas and tables are buried. Fire and health hazards are created. And of course, your social life is constricted too - you’re too ashamed to have people over to the house. So are your kids.”

If you don’t fall into that category and you’re simply a pack rat, someone who needs to de-clutter, join the club. The term pack rat was coined to describe a wood rat that collects items to decorate its nest. This rat is particularly fond of shiny things and it will drop necessary items, even food, if it is distracted by something shiny.

The pack rat’s nest is festooned with shiny, superfluous objects that play no part in the animal’s survival. Sound familiar? If so, you are among friends. This topic is universal, and when we post blog articles that relate to everything from serious hoarding to simple de-cluttering, we get numerous requests to re-post them.

For many of us, clutter collects from mere time constraints. We throw things into closets, basements or spare rooms when company’s coming and it collects into piles that would take days to go through.

The trouble is, if you’re like me and you convert a spare room into an office, the clutter can affect the way you work, and according to feng shui, your prosperity. In fact, clutter in any room can have a negative psychological effect on the people who live with it, so you’re not off the hook if you’re a super-organized animal living in the nest of a pack rat.

The results of clearing clutter can be positively liberating, which is the reason for the popularity of Belleruth's post The Joy of Tossing Clutter. Check it out, and for some great tips, nine of them to be exact, on just how to do this, stay tuned for tomorrow’s Ask Belleruth blog post. (we can link to this after it’s posted).

Let us know your favorite tips for clearing clutter. We’d love to hear them. If you’re a pack rat or love someone who is, take comfort. It’s so common that there is a National Pack Rat Day, on May 17th. Celebrate by tossing an unnecessary item, and try not to replace it with something shiny.

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