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(National Today)   May 17 is Pack Rat Day. Do you know of any hoarders or messy people? Do you want to clean some stuff out of your place? Share your stories to the right   (nationaltoday.com) divider line
    More: Amusing, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Compulsive hoarding, Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, Extreme cases of hoarding result, Scrupulosity, recent years, history of Pack Rat Day, Pack Rat day  
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103 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 17 May 2022 at 6:55 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-05-17 4:29:57 AM  
Had an actual pack rat in our cabin once. Girlfriend and I listened to it drag what sounded like a pencil through the wall one night. Room mate lost his car keys, we heard them clinking through wall. He had to remove a section of paneling in bathroom to recover from nest!
Pain in the arse, drove cats nuts because it's access point was somewhere under the house that they couldn't get too!
 
2022-05-17 5:23:44 AM  
It's early. At first my brain swapped those words around.
wallpapercave.comView Full Size
 
2022-05-17 6:21:08 AM  
About a year into the pandemic with not a lot to do, I decided to clean the house. Really clean it, give or throw away stuff I wasn't using.

Lots of clothes gone. Donated a ton of books to Friends of the Library. They have book sales of donated books to buy more books. The best thing to happen to a book is to be read again.

Emptied closets full of boxes of stuff I'd been hanging onto since college under the guise "I'll use this someday" most of that went directly into the trash. Don't miss it.

Organized all my photo/computer stuff. I do have a collection of charging cords now.

Stress level went down. Living in a house that's not full of crap actually helps your mental health...at least for me and it's... get this easier to maintain!

Now I'm tackling the yard.
 
2022-05-17 6:24:36 AM  

Circusdog320: About a year into the pandemic with not a lot to do, I decided to clean the house. Really clean it, give or throw away stuff I wasn't using.

Lots of clothes gone. Donated a ton of books to Friends of the Library. They have book sales of donated books to buy more books. The best thing to happen to a book is to be read again.

Emptied closets full of boxes of stuff I'd been hanging onto since college under the guise "I'll use this someday" most of that went directly into the trash. Don't miss it.

Organized all my photo/computer stuff. I do have a collection of charging cords now.

Stress level went down. Living in a house that's not full of crap actually helps your mental health...at least for me and it's... get this easier to maintain!

Now I'm tackling the yard.


Okay, I feel like a pack rat just reading that.

\get it from my mom's side
\\when her aunt died we found cupboards FULL of 60s and 70s foam containers, trays, etc.
 
2022-05-17 7:03:21 AM  

Exluddite: It's early. At first my brain swapped those words around.
[wallpapercave.com image 850x666]


This.
Exactly the same thought.
 
2022-05-17 7:16:12 AM  
Helping my brother clean out my mom's (bloody huge) house, as she finally made the much needed move to a smaller place.

Her filing system was to make neat stacks of everything she "had to keep" (initially, articles she wanted to read or send to people, letters, coupons that she was "going to use", cartoons.  Later, bills, checks to be sent out, notices about her accounts, etc.)  on the dining room table.  Then, whenever someone might come over and see it, she would shovel the piles into a paper bag and pile them in another room that visitors didn't see.  At first glance, the house looked tidy.

Going through the "another room" was horrifying.  My brother and I moved dozens of boxes, 15-20 kg each, to the curb for recycling. And that was just the paper.  Don't get me started on the yarn, fabric, sewing & craft supplies dating back to the 1970s.

Resolutions:
1.  I am aggressively, ruthlessly paring down my crap.
2.  I am tucking weird stuff in the bottom of boxes and behind books so my kids with spend the time clearing up when I am gone saying "WTF, Dad?" and "Oh, hey! Check this out."
 
2022-05-17 7:23:29 AM  
My grandmother died over half a decade ago, and I'm still trying to clear out her house...

/ One of my great-uncles built an electronics workshop down in the cellar, and things are still how he left them when he died... about a decade before I was born * sigh * There are Practical Wireless, Wireless World, et cetera magazines dating back to the 1940s, partially-assembled televisions, and dozens, if not hundreds, of vacuum tubes:
Fark user imageView Full Size

// PAIGE NO!
/// The Second World War-era gas masks that were down there were apparently thrown out years ago - although my mother remembers playing dress-up using them when she was a child - but I'm still wondering if I'll find the grenade that's down there according to family legend...
/V Oh, and there's one of the first commercial reel-to-reel magnetic tape audio recorders down there; apparently - and if the tape hasn't decayed - some of those tapes contain recordings of my grandfather talking (he also died about a decade before I was born)
 
2022-05-17 8:11:49 AM  
My wife and I purged a ton of stuff before we moved across the country. Both sides of the family are kind of pack eats. I'm afraid of how much is in my father's attic, or my sister's.

At this point my wife and I have a relatively neat apartment, with just the storage space under the stairs and the closet in the second bedroom being full of stuff. Even then, it's fairly organized, and the closet is mostly full of stuff we use (yarn, crochet thread, cameras, lenses, various camera accessories, cloth, cross stitch fabric). I DO need to do something with my old, unused hard drives.
 
2022-05-17 8:33:22 AM  
CSB
This post will be long and no doubt littered with auto correct typos.

Yes. I know a full fledged should have been on TV hoarder. Trash knee to waist deep.  3 dozen cats, no litter boxes.  Dead cats and kittens.  You could smell the house from the street when you drove by.  3 kids living in that filth (70s, 80s) nobody did anything to help. Father dead in single car drunk driving accident. Mother mentally ill, undiagnosed, probably histrionic personality disorder or narcissistic. Unfit parent.

House had no hot water.  Electric in only half. Kitchen run off extension cords. Ceiling fell in one room due to water/roof damage so mother blocked the door off and left everything in there to literally rot with mold.

I cleaned the dining room out once. Boxes from QVC, amazon, etc, unopened, mixed with pure garbage and dead kittens and half organized craft stuff that was none the less trashed. Years of junk mail. All precious. Every item had to be evaluated even 10 year old junk mail and clothes with cat shiat on them. Those things were treated with more care than the dead kittens.

Also cleaned a bedroom.  Waist deep trash.  The door had been open a bit.  Cats used the room as a litter box.  It was a general trash can as well, pizza boxes, soda cans, etc. It had been a child's room full of girl's clothes and toys, all ruined, and the mother literally screamed about those things being thrown away. Screamed like the child herself (20+ years old and gone from that house) had been destroyed and not an outfit she wore when she was 4.
Her children recently spent $40,000 remodeling the house to livable condition and she immediately trashed it again. She's now in a nursing home and her farking hoard is in my garage for reasons and I can't throw it out until she's dead because she NEEDS it.
End CSB
 
2022-05-17 8:36:05 AM  
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2022-05-17 8:36:33 AM  
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2022-05-17 8:36:59 AM  
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2022-05-17 8:39:09 AM  
Spawn_of_Cthulhu That's a meaning of "cool" I was hitherto unaware of... Less facetiously, f#ckin' hell, I'm sorry for you, her children, and those animals ._.
 
2022-05-17 8:39:44 AM  
Spawn_of_Cthulhu: .... Every item had to be evaluated even 10 year old junk mail...

"I am throwing everything postmarked 'presorted standard' in recycling."
*HYSTERICS*

I know your pain, man.
 
2022-05-17 8:40:16 AM  
HOARDERS is a terrible television show that exploits ill people.

we moved 3 times in the past 8 years. each move was a huge costly purge as Mrs. Swimo insisted most of my belongings went to the trash, to thrift shops / Goodwill, to recycle and to garbage.

the first time we moved i lost several collections. records, 42 (3) foot long cartons of comics, posters, xmas out the wazoo, books, golf clubs, toys. the list goes on. it really made me realize how much of a collector - hoarder i was. while it made me angry and sad to lose so much stuff it felt liberating to be out from under a huge albatross.

on our recent move to SC, USA Mrs. Swimo insisted i get rid of my 1984 Porsche 944. i had no time to sell it. so it went to a friend. break my heart.
 
2022-05-17 9:21:23 AM  
My Dad has OCD variety hoarding.  I think the man has not gotten rid of anything for 50 years.  Luckily, my Mom is there to keep him from filling the house.  He has a big pole barn packed full of stuff with 99% of items that are never used.  His bedroom is full of stuff and the basement is too.  He is 86, I dread what will happen when he is gone.  My Mom and I have discussed how hard it would be to haul all the stuff out.  We would have to hire a crew.

I am desperately trying to not be that way.  My tendency is to keep useful, clever or pretty things.  I am getting ready to move and have already taken about 20 trips to the local Goodwill.  I had boxes that had not been opened in 10 years.  I was going to take them straight to Goodwill, but make the mistake of peeking in one and finding baby photos of my niece and nephew.  ugh  Later I thought, like they, their parents, their grandparents don't have enough photos of them already?  But how do you throw baby photos away?  Just feels wrong!

But I am trying.  I often dream that if my place would burn down and I had to start over, it would feel so free to have minimal things.  I am trying to get there!
 
2022-05-17 9:47:21 AM  
When my Dad died, my younger brothers discovered they were not up to the task of trying to deal with the estate- the more so since Dad didn't have a will. So the task fell to the eldest brother- me. I knew Dad was a pack rat, but I wasn't really prepared for the literal depths of junk I found as I was clearing out the house to put it up for sale.

Dad died in 2005. I found credit card receipts from the 1970s "stored" in boxes in the garage. It's a good thing those receipts weren't needed for anything, because several generations of mice had made nests in the box. Both of my parents had been riders, and there were 22 motorcycle helmets hanging from the garage rafters, all of which were from defunct manufacturers and several lacked even the DoT sticker. I found multiple boxes filled with children's books from the 1960s. Two dozen carboard boxes with past tax returns were also stored in the garage, and most had become nests for rodents and spiders. Weirdest of all was a literal box of rocks, weighing about 150 pounds. I found out later Mom had picked them up as 'souvenirs' when she'd visited the old family farmstead in the midwest sometime in the 90s.

By far the biggest single item by volume was the forty years of National Geographic magazines stored in the attic. That lot was hard to get rid of- none of the libraries wanted it, so I found a pre-school who took all of them to let their kids cut 'em up for picture projects.

Stored under the stairs inside the house were a couple of dozen boxes of clothes which my parents couldn't have fit into for decades, along with a bunch of board games which were all missing critical components. I also found eleven unlabeled boxes filled with scores of pre-Colombian artifacts from Central and South America. Dad had apparently started 'collecting' them when he was stationed overseas, and had somehow managed to keep them more-or-less intact AND got them into the country without getting arrested.

NOTE: I tried to find someone who could identify and repatriate the artifacts, but literally no one was interested- not even the countries where they'd obviously been looted. Local museums wouldn't touch them. We ended up storing them in my youngest brother's garage.

The closets in the house were full of out of date and under-sized clothing (bell-bottomed jeans, anyone?), much of which was still intact and ended up at thrift stores. One closet also had what can be best described as a Monument to Obsolete Tech. A couple of old-school computer tape drives, three 5-inch floppy drives (with floppies to fit), an antique 8-inch CRT monitor (the kind that showed only green or black), and a punch-tape ticker.

Dad had been an amateur radio operator in his later years (not Ham radio- just monitoring local CB and police radio channels for something called "radio watch"), so there were tons of old transmitters, receivers, microphones, and antennas to get rid of. He also had a 1960s reel-to-reel tape player which still worked, and five stereo consoles which didn't.

It took me seven months to clear out the house of junk (two construction dumpsters full), distribute anything useful to family and friends (including three H-D motorcycles and two trailers), and sell the house. I got rid of most of the furniture at multiple yard sales, dropped anything still in working order at local thrift stores, and burning all the documents in the fireplace (which took the best part of a week).

Pretty sure my folks were straddling the fine line between 'pack rats' and 'hoarders'.
 
2022-05-17 10:08:05 AM  
Look, it's not junk, it's just stuff I haven't found a use for yet.

At one point I got into table-top gaming. I built some scenery. That was fun. I got into the habit of collecting things that could become part of a diorama. "Hey, this straw could be a plasma conduit!" "You know, this marble would make a great crystal ball." That habit has been very hard to break.

Then there was the collectible card craze in the 90s. Vampire: The Masquerade, anyone? Or my favorite, Heresy: Kingdom Come. And what's with the ubiquitous colons?
 
2022-05-17 10:23:41 AM  
Contractor here.  The first thing I tell people who want more storage is "get rid of stuff".

in most cases it's easier said than done.  emotional attachment, 'sunk costs', etc.  even when i have room on the truck on the way to the dump.
 
2022-05-17 10:35:17 AM  

ReluctantLondon: / One of my great-uncles built an electronics workshop down in the cellar, and things are still how he left them when he died... about a decade before I was born * sigh * There are Practical Wireless, Wireless World, et cetera magazines dating back to the 1940s, partially-assembled televisions, and dozens, if not hundreds, of vacuum tubes:


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-05-17 10:40:32 AM  

Exluddite: It's early. At first my brain swapped those words around.
[wallpapercave.com image 850x666]


"Joey, why don't you take the picture?"
 
2022-05-17 10:45:40 AM  

Exluddite: It's early. At first my brain swapped those words around.
[wallpapercave.com image 850x666]


Me too pally
 
2022-05-17 11:56:46 AM  
So, where is self awareness day when we realize how pathetic people are when they believe that there needs to be a special day for everything under the sun and we pull our heads out of our ass and just knock this stupidity off
 
2022-05-17 12:17:10 PM  

lifeslammer: So, where is self awareness day when we realize how pathetic people are when they believe that there needs to be a special day for everything under the sun and we pull our heads out of our ass and just knock this stupidity off


Countless holidays in 194 other countries happen every day, and my butthole does not clutch my panties into a bunch.

Maybe you need to chill out.
 
2022-05-17 1:07:09 PM  
I had to throw out SO many things when I moved. Everything had to fit in a u-pack moving cube. Not gonna lie, it was really hard. I don't even consider myself a pack rat, but stuff has a way to accumulate. I knew I had a yarn stash problem when I saw I had 4 big plastic tubs full of yarn. (SABLE = stash available beyond life expectancy)

I took probably 80 lbs of paper to Office Depot to be shredded. Freeing, in a way.
 
2022-05-17 1:22:48 PM  
Cleaned out my grandma's house after she died.

We all knew she was a Depression kid who could not throw anything away, so her house was filled to the ceiling with junk mail, newspapers, you name it.

After a couple of hours of heaving stuff onto a big pile by the street, I saw a $20 bill flutter out of an old Reader's Digest. Sigh.

So we drag it all back and looks carefully and found hundreds of dollars in cash.

The heartbreaker was many thousands of dollars of pension checks she never cashed. Most were years old and said right on them VOID AFTER 90 DAYS.
 
2022-05-17 1:41:31 PM  
When I lived in Philly-row home, neighbor behind me was a hoarder. Garage totally packed with junk. Yard too. I called the city about him as did other neighbors, several times, citing fire hazard. Nothing was done. Called my insurance company and easily upped the fire coverage after going into some detail about the property and some guy's penchant for shooting off fire works whenever they felt like it a few doors down, which could have easily set fire to all the post construction waste in the hoarder's yard-plywood, scrap lumber, piles of paper. He apparantly was convinced the "the Muslims" were out to get him and he was piling up junk to make a wall. Of course, that kicked into high gear when....actual...full garb of their native lands, Muslims moved in across the street. Who enjoyed having a large fire on their front patio on Friday evenings, the men in their robes, young women bringing them things to eat, the older chador (sp?) clad women were seated seperatly on the side of the house. Which lent something of an exotic feel to that part of Northeast Philly.
Currently starting to downsize here, not a lot of stuff, better to have less ephmera in the future with the next move.
 
2022-05-17 3:58:23 PM  
My wife's grandmother was one. She lived in a very small house, maybe 900 sq ft, and had but paths thru the various rooms. Everywhere else was stacked waist/shoulder high with every manner of whatnot. Clothes still in the bag from the store, newspapers from the 70s, handheld appliances (eg. mixer) that had never been out of the box, etc, etc. After she died, they made countless trips to the dump with their Honda Odyssey minivan, loaded to the ceiling.

We did manage to get a few things, including a microwave that had probably never been used. She was the oldest of 10 children and somehow managed to outlive every one of them. Strong old girl, but lost her mind in later years.
 
2022-05-17 4:04:00 PM  

FirstDennis: The heartbreaker was many thousands of dollars of pension checks she never cashed. Most were years old and said right on them VOID AFTER 90 DAYS.


The checks are voided, not the money. If she was still alive, she could still claim it. Not sure if you can claim it. INAL.
 
2022-05-17 7:19:53 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: I took probably 80 lbs of paper to Office Depot to be shredded. Freeing, in a way.


How much did that cost, off-hand?
 
2022-05-17 7:28:29 PM  

buckeyebrain: Needlessly Complicated: I took probably 80 lbs of paper to Office Depot to be shredded. Freeing, in a way.

How much did that cost, off-hand?


At that particular Office Depot, it was 99 cents a pound.
 
2022-05-17 7:29:44 PM  
p.s. yes, I could have bought a shredder, etc. I didn't have that kind of time. Also didn't have access to a work shredder at the time.
 
2022-05-17 7:32:07 PM  

Needlessly Complicated: p.s. yes, I could have bought a shredder, etc. I didn't have that kind of time. Also didn't have access to a work shredder at the time.


I have access to one of those bins that get taken to a company for destruction, but my bosses ran an audit recently, so I was looking at other options.  Thanks for the tip.
 
2022-05-17 8:06:34 PM  
Long-gone computer junk. I still have MFM, ESDI, SCSI 1, IDE, etc drives, cables, and controllers; Network cards that support BNC 10-base-2, old Colorado tape backups, and so on.

And of course, you have to keep machines that they can slot into.

Seems absurd, but by gum I'll be proven right one day!

Actually, I kinda already have. I used to date a woman who had been a prolific writer since the early 1980's... She had a big box of floppy discs ranging back to 360kb 5-1/4".

I wrote a program to slurp all the files off of a disc with a lot of error correction into sorted sub-directories, then ask for the next one. I paid her kid a few bucks an hour to swap discs during his free time, which he was happy to do.

The other program I wrote converted formats ranging from WordStar onward to the (then) latest version of MS Word and also a stripped down version of HTML, which I figure is sorta future-proof since it's just text with easily read formatting tags.

Also glad I had (have) a LaserJet 4si. It was most of a copy paper box to print out the results. Like I said, prolific writer.
 
2022-05-17 8:40:36 PM  

maxheck: Actually, I kinda already have. I used to date a woman who had been a prolific writer since the early 1980's... She had a big box of floppy discs ranging back to 360kb 5-1/4".


Back in the late 80s I worked for a well-known author (well, I worked for his manager, not directly for him, but I digress). The manager at the time was in the process of finding someone to convert the files from his best-seller. It was written on a word-processor (not a computer. One of those typewriters with a tiny LED screen displaying a few lines of type). It was in a proprietary format on 8" floppies. 

My job was to go through his file cabinets and make sure there were multiple copies of his older short stories, poems and speeches, all composed on typewriter. All he had were photocopies of typed pages. I'm sure he has digitized copies by now.
 
2022-05-17 9:12:26 PM  

Russell_Secord: Look, it's not junk, it's just stuff I haven't found a use for yet.

At one point I got into table-top gaming. I built some scenery. That was fun. I got into the habit of collecting things that could become part of a diorama. "Hey, this straw could be a plasma conduit!" "You know, this marble would make a great crystal ball." That habit has been very hard to break.


Yeah, when you start looking at things like 'that has an interesting texture to it'.

and it's bad when you actually end up using something that you've held onto for years and a couple of moves, As it helps to reinforce your pack rat tendencies.

Like here's something I built mostly out of scrap that I had on hand, when 40k put out rules for titans, and my neighbor really wanted to field the two he had bought a decade before, so someone else needed to field one:

Fark user imageView Full Size


It's a mostly of a nerf gun, plumbing pipe, Gatorade bottles, foam board, a ricotta container, scraps of wood, a little paper maché, and bondo.  I threw it together one weekend mostly, and probably spent twice as long painting it.
 
2022-05-17 9:17:38 PM  

FirstDennis: The heartbreaker was many thousands of dollars of pension checks she never cashed. Most were years old and said right on them VOID AFTER 90 DAYS.


That just means the check is no good,
Not necessarily that the company no longer owes you money.  They have no idea of it was lost in the mail vs. someone not bothering to cash it.

I don't know about pension checks, but usually you have to contact the issuer to cut you a replacement check (sometimes minus a penalty), but some places will send it to the state as lost money if it's something like a closed bank account.
 
2022-05-18 6:27:39 AM  

Oneiros: FirstDennis: The heartbreaker was many thousands of dollars of pension checks she never cashed. Most were years old and said right on them VOID AFTER 90 DAYS.

That just means the check is no good,
Not necessarily that the company no longer owes you money.  They have no idea of it was lost in the mail vs. someone not bothering to cash it.

I don't know about pension checks, but usually you have to contact the issuer to cut you a replacement check (sometimes minus a penalty), but some places will send it to the state as lost money if it's something like a closed bank account.


Most states will have a 'unclaimed property' website that you can check.
for example: https://www.sco.ca.gov/upd_msg.html
 
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