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What is a Pack Rat

Updated on March 19, 2011

Author: W. K. Hayes

Spring Cleaning

What a beautiful day to go rummaging through the storage room to see what forgotten treasures I would find. Please refrain from asking me what possessed me to spring clean in the storage room. Personally, I think it must have been a temporary case of insanity.

What started out as a great idea turned into a four hour non-stop shuffling through dusty boxes only to find items of very little interest. However, I did find some really, neat artifacts hidden in four boxes. Out of a hundred boxes, only four contained anything worthy of the effort put into cleaning the room.

All four of the boxes contains old video games systems, controllers, plus and TV hookups. There were two Playstation ones, a Sega genesis, two game gears, a Nintendo 64, a regular Nintendo and some other odds and ends. To most, this would mean very little…to a video game fanatic such as me, this was like finding the mother lode.

Still, by the time I finished finding those four boxes of goodies I am, too tired from moving the other ninety-six boxes to, even think about fooling with my newly found treasure. Maybe tomorrow I will get the energy to delve into them. I know all of them work and I still have games for each system and truthfully, I would be playing one right now but I am firmly, planted on the couch.

Nevertheless, as I sit here in this quiet house and write, I wonder why I saw the need to mess with that old room. In the end, everything that was in there is still in there. However, when I think about it, I think the real reason I tackled the room was the need for taking a trip down memory lane. Truthfully, I think I hang onto many of the things in the room not because I need any of the stuff but because of what that makes me remember.

Some days just require a good trip down memory lane, even if that trip requires some kind of aspirin at the end of the journey. For me, the lesson I learned today is that we do not necessarily hang onto things because we are, ‘pack-rats.’ Instead, I believe that anyone that keeps things is simply the sentimental value behind the object more than any other reason.

Throughout the years and in the course of moving several times, I have sacrificed many memories. Sometimes willingly and sometimes, it was not my choice at all. Granted, keeping journal is a great way to remember things but you cannot touch words no matter how well they may touch you.

Humans, by nature, are feelers for the most part. We like to touch and by doing so, we create what I like to call, ‘Feel Memories.’ So, when someone asks me what I think a, ‘Pack Rat,’ is…well, this is my answer. I believe a pack rat is a person who simply does not want to forget the memories that mean the most to them. Whether it is a snow globe they got for Christmas from an aunt who passed away the following year or an ugly tie that your ten-year-old son gave you for Father’s day…it is the memory behind the object that you will always cherish the most. Therefore, for many of us, throwing away an object is the same thing as throwing away a memory.


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    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Yenajeon, I hate clutter too...that's why I keep everything in one room that, for me, is irreplacable. And, this might not help but think of how much stuff costs as you throw it out and consider how much money you lose by doing so. If it doesn't help any...I tried LOL Have a great weekend.

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      I have the exact opposite problem. I am obsessively throwing things out all the time! I detest collecting things and all things clutter. Plus, I think that show "Hoarders" on tv has scarred me for life. I would love to control my "throwing things out" issues!

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 6 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Shyla's Nana...I truly enjoy taking trips down memory lane...Sounds like your man and I have afew things in common...I also believe in giving little romantic tokens of undying love.

    • Shyla's Nana profile image

      Shyla's Nana 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this hub. I too am a pack rat and I hang onto things for the same exact reason. I have a ring that the man I love gave me that was made out of a bread tie. I have the purple roses he made me out of tissue paper proudly displayed above my computer. I have a framed pic of a poem he wrote me with a pic of us at the beach. I wouldn't take a million dollars for those treasures. They mean the world to me, just like the man in my life. Thank you for sharing this story. Just kinda leaves a smile on the face. You are something else Mr. Hayes. Thank you for my trip down memory lane. Kinda makes one appreciate things a little more. Take care.

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 7 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Thanks J. B. I am a self-confessed Pack Rat but much like yourself, each little object is a treasured memory and since my memory is as slippery as a greased eel, I need all the help I can get keeping those memories.

    • J.B. Franklin profile image

      J.B. Franklin 7 years ago from The mountains of North Carolina

      I know a little bit about being a "Pack Rat"! Just about everything I have, has at least one memroy attached to it! I keep them not for the want of the particular object, but the memory that is attached to it! Hey, keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your work!

    • W. K. Hayes profile image

      Warren Keith Hayes 7 years ago from Bryson City, North Carolina

      Hi Suziecat7...I was trying to do some thinning out but there are so many memories there, I simply dusted everything, smiled and kept all of it. Maybe one day I'll find a less room consuming way to keep my memories.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great Hub. I have a hard time getting rd of things though I'm getting better as I age.