Monthly Archives: April 2011

How to… be a packrat

1.    Being a packrat takes some serious dedication. No item is too small or too frivolous to be packed away “in case it’s needed in the future”. Cardboard boxes, plastic spoons, old, yellowing magazine clippings, broken hair clips… it doesn’t matter if you can’t immediately think of what they might be needed for. It just matters that they’re there, safely stored in a dusty corner of the storeroom or stashed away in a moth-bally corner of the almarah… just in case.

2.    A packrat often leads an embattled existence in the family, so it’s important to be prepared to fight for your right to store. There’s always that person who’s determined to throw away all the junk you’ve lovingly squirreled away over the years. So whether it’s an old rusty biscuit tin or a wad of wrapping paper, you’ve got to be ready to make a soulful case for a) the emotional value of said object (warning: this one can only take you so far) or b) how the last time you were forced to throw something away, it nearly lead the family to brink of disaster (acute spoon shortage! Wrapping paper emergency before a party! etc).

3.    Sometimes no amount of arguing or emotional blackmail works, and the Family Packrat Nemesis resorts to underhanded tactics such as (gasp!) clearing out the storeroom when you’re away. At such times, dear packrat, it is perfectly all right for the gloves to come off. Whether it’s digging through the trash and dragging your beloved items back into the house, or actually engaging in a less-than-dignified bout of tug-off-war when you catch the Nemesis in the act, no reaction is too over the top for the packrat protecting her territory.

4.    To avert such crisis situations, a packrat must have certain secret locations scattered about the home where the most valuable of the stash can rest safely for evermore. A truly accomplished packrat can hoard to her heart’s content in various forgotten nooks and crannies for years and years without interference, and is only discovered when moving house or re-painting the house or such. (At that point, refer to tips 2 and 3).

5.    Finally, nothing helps the cause of the packrat like being organised. A neat packrat is a packrat who flies under the radar. Granted, it’s hard – there’s so much stuff and only so much time to stash it all away in. But it’s worth investing in compartmentalised plastic boxes, serviceable shoeboxes or smartly labelled cartons in which to sort, stack and store it all. After all, it’s so much easier to defend organised rows of boxes than a rumpled mess of junk. And just think about how much more you can store in the space you save!

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