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!



Filed under Articles, Humour

4 responses to “How to… be a packrat

  1. Preeti

    Omg what timing on this post! My grandmother was a packrat and my mom and aunt were clearing her things yesterday. She had literally saved hundreds of bags, envelopes and dozens of boxes, veshtis, unused saris etc. We also discovered some 8k in cash hidden away in different nooks and corners. But what we were all admiring is your point 5, she had neatly packed away so much in just two cupboards, we think she deserved an award of some kind. 😉

    • Hello! Gosh, this is a horribly tardy reply, no? Really sorry about that. Loved reading your response though… your grandmom sounds like my granddad, a neat and organised packrat (wow 8k tho! Impressive!). My mom (who was to a large extent the inspiration for the write up lol) is definitely following in his footsteps 🙂

  2. Hi Divya,

    Great to find your blog Divya.’DeClutter ‘ is the word I detest. The house is bursting with things I don’t need- a perfect packrat. Love your ‘packrat’ blog, and some of the book launches, obvioulsy not read all of them. As I love books and reading too maybe we should keep in touch. My blog is and a See me on Facebook Leela Soma or on twitter Glasgowlee. If you need any Scottish slant on books etc do not hesitate to email me. Hope family are fine.

    • Hi Leela,
      Sorry for the terribly late reply… I’ve been a bad blogger of late! Thanks, glad you enjoyed the entry and the blog. For some reason, your blog link isn’t working for me… is there an error in the url? Was hoping to check it out!

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