Today is National Pack Rat Day- a day for identifying your hoarding tendencies (however big or small) and finally getting rid of the stuff you never use.

Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo

Image Source / Alamy Stock Photo

If you have a habit of keeping unnecessary items- here are some tips to stop it getting out of control.

Decide on a timeline- Choose a number of months or years you want to measure your things against. For instance- commit to- ‘I will get rid of anything that I haven’t used in a year’ and use that as your marker for what to keep and what to throw or donate.

Make a list- If you have a lot to tackle- you can’t do it all in one day, especially if you’re at work, so make a plan of which rooms to do and when. This could be one per week or one each night after you come home. Choose a timeline that works for your lifestyle and that’s realistic.

Set up three boxes- Have a box for ‘keep’, a box for ‘donate’ and a box for ‘throw’ so you can organise as you go- then once you’re done you can take the box to the relevant place or put the contents of it back where it belongs.

Take a before picture- So you can see what your efforts have achieved once you’re done. You may never want it to get to this state again and the picture will help you to remember how bad things can get if you don’t keep on top of it.

Start small- If your first room is your bedroom for example- choose a drawer and empty it out onto the bed. Sort through that drawer and that one only until you are done. If you start to get distracted by other things- you will only end up in a mess. If it takes you the whole time to do one drawer- so be it- but be systematic and give yourself a chance.

If you need help, ask for it- If you don’t think you have the discipline to do this alone- ask a partner, family member or friend to come along and help you, even if it’s just with the initial stages to get you going. Perhaps you will need someone every step of the way. Don’t be ashamed if you require a voice of reason and someone with a firmer approach than you.

Commit- Once you have filled the boxes- act on them right away. If you don’t and let them linger- chances are you will revisit them and take things back out. Don’t give yourself the temptation. If your gut said ‘get rid’- trust its initial reaction.

Take an after picture- Once you are done with a room- take the time to photograph the finished product. This will help you remember how it looks at its best, so if you feel your standards slipping- looking back will help keep you motivated to make it shine once more.

Move onto your next room- It’s all well and good enjoying the fruits of your labour but if you only have one tidy room in your home- the momentum will soon dwindle. Keep going until you have finished your entire home, or you could run the risk of your tidy area becoming overwhelmed with things again.

Put another plan in place- One that will help you maintain this level of tidiness. It could be that you set up a cleaning rota, so you tackle one room each day of the week. That way you don’t have to save one day for cleaning alone.

Write down the good habits you want to keep like dealing with post as it comes through the door or keeping on top of the washing every couple of days, so it doesn’t become a mammoth task at the end of the week.

Happy National Pack Rat Day everyone!

RELATED: 10 Ways to celebrate National No Housework Day 

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