10 Challenges for Moving a Pack Rat

A pack rat’s home is a museum of clutter. Hundreds of unworn t-shirts, broken computers and newspapers stacked to the ceiling are just a few examples of the things you can find around a pack rat’s house. Most people would consider these items worthy of being trashed or donated, but a pack rat does not think this way. Pack rats have a personal connection to these seemingly useless possessions and are almost always reluctant to get rid of them. When it comes time to move, pack rats pose an even bigger challenge than the average collector. It’s a battle of save or toss that only the very patient can endure. If you’re brave enough to enter the towering mess and can stomach the smells, you definitely have your work cut out for you. Here are 10 challenges for moving a pack rat:

  1. Disagreements over what stays and what goes: When it comes to moving a pack rat, everything , and I mean everything, will be a battle of save or toss. Pack rats find sentimental value in a number of things that the average person does not, which is why they end up with so much stuff in the first place. They may hoard items that are hazardous, unsanitary and worthless, but refuse to throw out or donate these things. The fact is that some stuff has to go, but not without a fight. So, brace yourself and be patient with a pack rat during this difficult process of moving.
  2. Too much stuff: Even after you’ve minimized the clutter, it still seems like too much stuff. And it is. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest challenges of moving a pack rat, as well as finding a place to put everything afterward. Pack rats have more possessions than they can realistically handle, but they are usually unwilling to give it all up. If you’re up for the added challenge, try convincing the pack rat to reduce their clutter again and again during the moving process, until all they have left are the basics.
  3. Additional weight and boxes: Pack rats will try to hold on to as much stuff as possible, without considering the amount of boxes needed or additional weight this will cause. Not to mention, they probably don’t have the room in their new place to store their belongings. It’s really more effort than necessary, so be prepared to move mountains of useless stuff.
  4. Hazardous: Moving a pack rat is a challenge for both your patience and physical endurance. A pack rat’s home might feel like an obstacle course with narrow hallways and mountains of clutter that could collapse at any minute. Also, the structure of the house could be compromised by the amount of stuff weighing it down. It might seem silly, but I’d advise wearing a hard hat and protective gloves because you’ll be walking into a danger zone.
  5. Difficult to organize:
    Pack rats might say there’s a method to their madness, but it will probably look like one big mess to you. Unless you’re dealing with an organized pack rat, which is very rare, you’ll probably have to sift through incredibly disheveled and disorganized rooms. Considering the amount and types of junk, you may have a hard time organizing their possessions and moving it from one place to the next.
  6. Hard to stay within the budget: Moving can be very expensive, especially for a pack rat who will need more packing materials and boxes than the average person. He or she may also have to shell out for professional movers because their stuff is too heavy for one person to move. If the pack rat is trying to stay within their budget, you’d better convince them to cut their clutter in half (or more).
  7. Dirty work: Moving a pack rat is a dirty job, and you’ll be battling much more than dust bunnies. Depending on what they collect and the cleanliness of their home, you could come into contact with some seriously unsanitary messes, unpleasant smells and rodents. I’d come prepared with bug spray, face masks and the nearest pest control’s number on hand.
  8. Temptation to toss: If you’re not a pack rat yourself, you might be tempted to throw out useless things behind a pack rat’s back. It can be hard to fathom why someone would want to keep stuff like old newspapers, smelly shoes or broken TVs, but that’s the mindset of a pack rat. I wouldn’t recommend giving into your temptation to toss, because although there might be gobs of stuff everywhere, a pack rat will know if something is gone. Just don’t do it.
  9. Reluctance to help: As stated before, pack rats have a personal tie to their belongings that most people can’t understand. Although they may want to move and get a fresh start, pack rats often struggle with change and have a hard time tossing anything. In an effort to avoid change and parting with their beloved belongings, pack rats may be reluctant to help with moving. The best thing you can do is reiterate the importance of decluttering to improve the quality of their life, and help them do so.
  10. Emotional rollercoaster: Moving can be an incredibly emotional time, especially for pack rats who tend to have a hard time with change. Pack rats also may be embarrassed to expose their home to others and have their unsanitary habits revealed. The fact that they’ve agreed to move and declutter is a big step in the right direction. Therefore, it’s important to handle a pack rat’s moving experience with care, and be sensitive to their feelings.

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