On Being the Rodent

packrat

I have never considered myself intelligent, but it surprises me how sometimes the magnitude of my foolishness is greater than what I imagine it to be. One such act is watching a movie or a show which I find annoying right from the start, yet continuing with it. It’s only after three fourths of it is over that I realize that I had meaninglessly wasted my time. I can cite several other examples which, of course, I prefer not to.

No matter how chilly it may be, Mr. Sun happily beaming in the sky lights up my mood. However, that cold evening last week accompanied by incessant showers was rather depressing and dampened my spirits. But in lieu of sitting with a good book or making it a movie hour, I was foolish enough to start cleaning my closet. What can be more utterly insane than pulling off the contents from all shelves at the same time? And more so when I hope to accomplish that tedious task in an hour!

My closet had quite a few clothes that I had not worn in the last 10 years. I may not have used them either because they had gone out of fashion or sadly, since I cannot fit into them any longer. A box hidden in the corner of a drawer had costume jewelry from college days. I don’t even remember when I had last worn some of those earrings and pendants. There were a few cosmetics from God knows when which, if used now, will inevitably send me on a visit to the dermatologist.

A new realization has come to me after having lived for so many decades on this planet. Am I a packrat to some degree? I have kept notebooks and toys from my college-going son’s pre-kindergarten days. It certainly warms my heart when I flip through the pages and see what he had drawn or jotted down when he first learned to write and draw. But I have reasoned out that one is enough as a souvenir. Why on Earth did I have to keep so many of them? I also need to find a plausible explanation as to why I have been keeping his toys. I don’t think that even in the remotest corner of my mind I am entertaining the idea that I’ll be passing over these playthings to my future grandchildren! No way I would plan so much in advance!

I find happiness in the fact that I am not alone and that the packrat club has a large membership. I am probably better organized than some folks. I was totally amused when someone narrated that she had not given away her outfits from 25 years ago with the hope of fitting into them some day. The amount of junk she had accumulated in her study included wedding invitation cards from 10-15 years ago and receipts from stores that had long gone out of business. The kitchen cabinets stored appliances like mixers and grinders that had stopped functioning totally. There were even mismatched cups and saucers that could never be used as a set!

Casually browsing through the net, I happened to stumble upon an article which suggested: “Packrat affliction is gradual and enduring. The time to escape is when you realize that the stuff is controlling you rather than the other way around.” The most sensible piece of advice offered is to subscribe to the following idiom: “A place for everything and everything in its place” We often end up having duplicates in our house, primarily because we stuff things in odd places, then either forget or cannot find them when we need them, and end up buying the same item again. Proper organization will make us less likely to buy things we already have.

After my very monotonous closet-cleaning session, I have come up with an agenda. If I have not worn something for three years, I’ll most likely not wear it in the future. So I will get it out of the house. A promise I have made is to make a sincere attempt to resist the temptation of sales. I have taken the decision that I will not purchase any item, be it clothing or household items, unless it’s absolutely indispensable. The list of unnecessary and unused items that I may want to preserve on purely sentimental grounds can be overwhelmingly long. So I have pledged to let smart sense take over my emotions. Well, time will tell how firmly I have really stuck to my resolution. But as of now, my thoughts are sincere. As much as I truly believe in the gospel that all creatures big and small need to be respected, I honestly confess that it’s not as flattering if I am likened to the rodent and made to admit that I am guilty as charged!


13 thoughts on “On Being the Rodent

  1. I certainly understand this dilemma! I’ve never considered myself to be a pack rat, but I am certainly guilty of keeping things far past their usefulness, and it is the sentimental items that tug at my heartstrings and make it so hard to get rid of them. I, too, am trying to make the effort to clean out closets, etc. this year! Excellent post and excellent encouragement, Rashmi!

  2. Bang on … you got me thinking 💭 about my closet that I dread to clean-up. Just imagine i got those pretty empty perfume bottles too apart from those vintage clothes that I have piled up over the years..

  3. Nicely written as always. I have myself resolved to follow the “minimalist approach”. I think it makes life more managable and we’re in better control of our possessions. During my move to Vancouver, I had donated a zillion things- some of which were hidden in the closets for years. That whole experience has given me a new perspective on material things.

  4. Hilarious! I definitely have zero chance of joining the so called laughing club . Had my fair share of exercise by reading your blog post today .Just consider me as one of your the very best partners to the famously known packrat club , mostly for the ladies in the horizon .
    Beautiful,dear !

  5. I pride myself on not being one but my husband would beg to differ. I think it’s each ones perception 😉 Well written Rashmi.

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