January 30, 2008

Confession- I am a Pack Rat!

(NOT my home......img courtesy of flickr)

pack' rat"

1. Also called trade rat. a large, bushy-tailed rodent, Neotoma cinerea, of North America, noted for carrying off small articles to store in its nest.

2. Informal.
a. a person who collects, saves, or hoards useless small items.
b. an old prospector or guide.

Too many times my apartment has ended up like the image above....full of garbage, knick-knacks, useless items, and just plain CLUTTER. I have garbage falling out of the garbage bin, newspapers strewn across the floor, soda cans and dishes piling up on the kitchen counter, and my entire wardrobe on the floor of my bedroom....both dirty AND clean clothes. It sounds pretty disgusting, and it IS.

I hate having such a disgusting mess of a home....wait, not home, House. A HOME is where you feel comfortable and can relax after a hard days work or taking care of the kids all day. A HOME is a place where you can invite friends over and watch your favorite movie or play the lastest video game in comfort. I don't have that.

If I hate it so much, then why does my house look so bad? Well, there's 3 reasons that play into it:

  1. L-A-Z-Y/Procrastination....I don't know how I ever got to be this way, but I tend to hold off on doing things like cleaning for no good reason. My husband doesn't help the situation either. He constantly sets dishes (or garbage) down wherever he currently is sitting instead of getting up to put them away.
  2. It's hard for me to throw things away. So I end up shoving it into my closet or dresser drawers.
  3. Lack of Furniture AND Space. I have a small One-bedroom apartment, a ton if little items that need storage, and very few pieces of furniture that would fit as well as help get rid of clutter instead of create. Flat surfaces, like tabletops and counters, seem to attract the most clutter. What is needed? More Cabinets and drawers and shelves.
After a complete evaluation of my apartment, I realized I have the knowledge to remedy the situation. I have compiled a few tips and tricks to help any of you fellow pack-rats out there clean up your living space to be truly Liveable.

*Throw out all unnecessary garbage laying around. This means old letters, mail, newspapers, bags, etc. Don't forget to recycle what you can. We still need to do our part in the environment. ;)

*Get old boxes/bins and label them 'Throw Away', 'Yard Sale' or 'Donation', and 'Keep'. Put all the 'clutter' into each one of those boxes as you see fit. You can even go farther with the Keep box by organizing it by category: memories, office items, mail, hardware, bathroom, etc. Make sure you actually get rid of the Throw Away and Yard Sale boxes-DO NOT LET THEM COME BACK INTO YOUR HOUSE. That will just defeat the purpose of this tip.

*Buy a select few pieces of Furniture that can hold your 'Keep' items. Every item in your home needs a place and the key is to make most of the items unseen. Not everything needs to be displayed. If you place is horizontally challenged, utilize the vertical.
  • Living Room/Office/Bedroom- File cabinets and the plastic drawers with wheels are great for storing most small items and important papers. Bookshelves (freestanding and wall mount) are great for pictures, knick knacks, cds/dvds, or even toys to show off.
  • Kitchen/Dining Room- Wall mounted paper towel holders free up a bit of counter space. An Organize It All Recycle Bin will help put plastics, paper, and aluminum in their place. Garbage bins with hinged lids keep garbage from piling up and falling out.
*Organize, Organize, Organize. Like I said above...not everything needs to be seen. Place kitchen appliances that are not regualry used in a cabinet. Mail and Newspapers can go into a file cabinet or in your coffee table drawer. Pick out a select few of your favorite picture frames and display half on the wall, and the other half on shelves.

Last But not least;

*Clean up after yourself! If you use it, put it away immediately. If you dirty some dishes, rinse it off and put in in the dishwasher As Soon As You Are Done! If the garbage or cat litter is full, don't wait for your kids or partner to get home....clean it up. "Waiting" for someone else to clean just makes you prone to procrastination and laziness. Believe me, I make that excuse everyday and that's why I'm writing this blog.

If everyone in the household follows these tips, there's no reason you shouldn't be living in the home you've always dreamt about. You know, the ones that look like a tornado could hit it and it would still be clean.

Do you have any additional tips for a clutter-free home? Please share by posting a comment.



Natural Woman said...

oooh this is a hoot. i have the same picture too on my blog for a post called CHAOS.

i can't stand stuff. just today i was dreaming about taking some time off from work to tear this house apart and get rid of stuff i haven't used. i try to put things back when i'm done with it so i don't create more work. when i get home, i hang up my coat and clothes ASAP. clean as you go and it's a lot easier. i have also implemented days where i do, well i'm supposed to do, certain things. a cleaning schedule so i don't have to do it all at once.

Kiki T said...

Hey Christina... I too can be a hoarder. And it seems like your blog is doing fantasticly well.

You should add Adsense it's a free Google option that attachs ads, so you can make an income from it. There is another company and their ads are worth more... I'll let you know about it.

Sue said...


I get anxiety just looking at this picture.

Here are my suggestions. They're free and worth every penny you spent on them.

1. Go to therapy and figure out why you do this. Are you punishing yourself?
2. Every day of my life I put 10 items in the trash. It can be 10 scraps of paper or 10 clothing items sent to goodwill.
3. Every time I buy a new article of clothing I get rid of 2 old ones.
4. For every kitchen gadget that comes in 3 go out.

You get the picture...

I find your home disturbing and I think raising children in it is unfair.

Please understand that it's not about passing judgment, criticizing or making fun of you. I just cannot imagine not having a home for my children.

I hope and pray you'll get some help. I've read some of your other posts and you are bright and articulate and capable. This might be your final stumbling block.

Magdalen Islands said...

LOL, Christine, I'm not even going to attempt to tell you what my house looks like, lol. I'm Wynn from the Gimme A Dream site and I received your comment. I don't have an etsy shop, though I have looked into it. Sometimes things go faster than I can make them, it seems. But I do thank you for your comments on the jewelry. I've been inspiring other bloggers to create their own pieces lately and I've been showing these pieces on other bloggers sites, as they fit in with wedding themes, quite often.

Christina said...

Wow, I never thought anyone would make a comment like Sue's about me getting professional help. I am a little offended. I never planned for my house to look like this. When I lived alone, my place was clean...not perfect, but clean. I do place most of the blame on my husband. When I met him at 17 yrs of age, his parents house was horrible....clothes, newspapers, etc literally covering the floor. And his room had dishes and food containers in it. His parents never changed their living habits in all these years, and I'm trying to get my husband to change his. I recently got lazy because I'm tired of being the ONLY ONE cleaning, cooking, AND taking care of our child. So, if counseling was needed, it would be MARRIAGE counseling. I keep telling myself to SUCK IT UP and just clean, no matter what....to abandon all things 'fun' and just do it. But it makes me feel like I'm an only parent with a male roommate when he doesn't participate in household responsibilities beyond paying the bills.

Judi said...

Ahhh.. I identify!

A suggestion for those throw-away, donate items.. check your area, there may be some small flea markets where you can set up a booth inexpensively.. sell the items for some extra cash.

Buddy and His Mom said...

If I read a comment like that I'd be offended too. Thanks for being honest enough to share a picture of your home! It's nice to know there are other real people in this world. But you ain't seen nuthin' 'til you've seen my house!

jamezu said...

i thought that was your house.. hehe.. i've seen much worst house keeping mainly because of lack of time to clean.

Chica said...

Hahah what a great post! I used to be a packrat, but that's when I had a bigger home, now that i live in a small apartment, I have not even half the stuff I used to have. My Mother in law is a hoarder, and so is her sister, her sis is far worse then she, but its still sorta sad, but heck, they can have one hell of a yard sale!

dr_clairebear said...

i soooo relate with you. not having my own place yet has limited my pack rat tendencies to a minimum, but they are there and waiting to pounce on me. :) i had to comment because i actually blogged on this very same topic last december when i was cleaning up my desk. good luck with getting rid of your stuff!

Kiki B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LadyBanana said...

It's not fun doing the same repetitive cleaning, tidying over and over..

So sometimes I just don't, I have fun instead, only to feel worse/guilty the next day or so as there is double the mess...

Cromely said...

I fight with clutter all the time.

One thing that has helped is to think of Target (or the general merchandise store of your choice) as you storage room. I used to keep stuff because I might use it someday and it seemed silly to throw it out if I was going to use it again.

Now I try to throw some stuff out, and if I need to buy a new one down the road, I don't think of it as a waste of money, I think of it as paying a storage fee to Target because I didn't have to store the item myself for months.

It doesn't solve the whole problem, but it helps.

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