Pack Rat Day
Pack Rat Day is celebrated on May 17th. It is a fun holiday when we take time to de-clutter. Our Carol Harrison is a self – confessed pack rat!
Pack Rat Day
A Pack Rat, at least the one I am referring to is not the animal but a person who saves, often unnecessary, items and loves to have lots of things around them.
There is one of those fun holiday celebration days dedicated to people who like to save things, keep lots of stuff but have not got to the hoarder status quite yet. You never know what someone will think of to recognize and celebrate.
Since I love to collect things, I guess I could use this day to celebrate myself. But it can also be a day to take a look at what we save or hang on to and why.
Sometimes we collect or keep everything to be thrifty, conservative and resourceful such as keeping balls of string that came wrapped around meat packages back in the days they still did that. I understand that reusing the string was a necessary thing so winding it into a big ball to store it or put it in a special tin string holder box made sense.
A Pack Rat Will Hang on to Things
Have you ever found yourself hanging on to something because you might need it someday? I have been guilty of that too often. And sometimes I have used it. Keeping everything can become a problem when you have no room to store it, never use it or look at it again or it gets in the way of enjoying life today without keeping track of your stuff.
My father-in-law had farmed his entire life. He lived on the one farm since the beginning of the sixties and never threw things away. He rarely traded in a vehicle or piece of farm machinery because he could use parts off it to fix something else. He had lots of room, many buildings and a huge house to store everything in. He also loved going to auction sales and it something was a good deal he bought it.
When he passed away we needed to get the farm ready for sale. We planned to auction off the stuff from the house, the machinery, the tools and whatever else we found around the farm. The job was huge and we needed lots of help. The things we found went from humorous like – why did he keep this, to the expected with an occasional surprise thrown in. He had fifty hammers – one for every vehicle, piece of machinery and building so he never had to go looking for one. Obviously there were many spares.
The row of machinery told a story of its own – the story of the changes in size and abilities of the machine and the story of the farm’s progress through the years. There were even a few pieces of horse drawn equipment.
The Attic and the Pack Rat
The attic of the house offered all kinds of memories. My mother-in-law had packed away clothes as the children outgrew them. Some pieces should have gone to the rag bag long ago or maybe even the garbage but other pieces were in good condition. I chuckled as the younger grandchildren found bell bottom pants worn by their aunt and claimed the ones that fit them. If you wait long enough something might come back into fashion and this was the case. My youngest went to school sporting one of the pairs of bell bottom pants and all the other girls asked her where she had found such a great pair of pants. She smiled and said, “Grandma’s attic.” They didn’t really understand she was being literal about the location.
At times I wished I could somehow preserve all the stories this stuff could tell but it would only be part of the story. I knew we could not begin to keep a fraction of the accumulation of the years.
Pack Rat Day can be a Wake Up Call
Yes Pack Rat Day can be a wake-up call day. As I remember the farm and the work of sorting through decades of things, I realize I need to take a look at my own life and home and determine if there are things I don’t need. Are there some extra puzzle pieces called stuff cluttering up and preventing you from seeing just what you need?
Slipping from a pack rat to a hoarder can happen when we aren’t paying attention. It can take over our life and make it uncomfortable. Some questions I think I need to ask myself on a regular basis include what knickknacks are cluttering up my life and why am I hanging on to something?
I do collect many things. I have also downsized a few times in my adult life and had to make tough decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. Yet as I look around my home I see many things- too many things and maybe it’s time to take another look.
I have some pieces that were my grandmother’s and mom’s. I love the stories that go with them and plan to keep them for quite a while. Someday maybe my children or grandchildren will like them – or will they? I have begun to take photos and write the stories – those take up less room and can be shared by everyone. Am I keeping these pieces just because I have had them for a good part of my life or am I keeping them for another reason?
What do I need to let go of in my physical environment so I don’t have to spend so much time and energy being the caretaker? As I thought of this I also wondered if there are things in my heart that I need to release? What emotional baggage am I lugging around? Are there habits that need to go and leave room for others to take their place? Are there things I do because I’ve always done them?
Our Dusty Corners and God
What dusty corners exist in my heart that I have not allowed God into to clean and restore? Anger and unforgiveness are nasty stuff and never useful. They are long overdue to be dumped and replaced with kindness, forgiveness and compassion for others and for myself.
Maybe today as we think about national Pack Rat Day we can challenge ourselves to assess our tendency to be a pack rat in any area of our lives. Then we can let go and let God clean up or hearts. It is a process and can be difficult but God promises to help us if we give that baggage to him to dispose of.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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