This is not as harmless an obsession as you'd think. I have a colleague who comes from a whole family of pack rats. His house caught fire a few years ago, and he was forced to move. He literally had to buy a farm with outbuildings to contain all the junk he'd accumulated over the years. I'm talking about boxes and boxes of rusty and rotten construction scraps, broken machinery, and stuff like boxes for toys he'd bought his kids for Christmas 20 years ago. Hauling all that crap cost him a small fortune -- the outbuildings weren't big enough so he ended up buying half a dozen old semi trailers -- and took forever. To make matters worse, his dad is even more of a pack rat than he is, and has had more than 80 years to accumulate junk.
He is so weighed down by his "possessions" that they own him, not vice versa.
posted on 12/18/2004 7:34:20 AM PST
This is not as harmless an obsession as you'd think.
Yeah, I saw a documentary on a packratter not too long ago, probably on Discovery channel.
The guy was clearly in the grips of an illness. He had rental storage full of the most useless imaginable junk, like 10 golf bags, boxes full of electronics gear (transistors, etc). And two more outbuildings in the back yard.
After his wife threatened divorce, the guy got psychological help. They'd dispose of one or two items at a time. But then he'd go back to the dumpster and take it back.
posted on 12/18/2004 8:11:50 AM PST
Thanks for a thoughtful post. We tend to think of these people as slobs but it is not always the truth. It seems that some sincerely want to get over this but can't. It is a compulsive disorder.
and stuff like boxes for toys he'd bought his kids for Christmas 20 years ago.
....and he'll be darned glad he did. I deal in antique and collectible toys- the box is usually worth 3 times the value of the toy. Many people saved the toy, not many saved the box it came in - supply and demand.
posted on 06/19/2007 8:37:07 AM PDT
(I think I'll retire to Bedlam.)
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