If you’ve got a few closets, chances are they’re overfilled with things you rarely, if ever, use. You may not consider yourself a pack rat, but those full closets and garage, bulging cupboards and piles of things in every room are costing you money.
Here are a few ways that being a pack rat is more expensive than you might think:
Paying for storage
Even if your home is relatively cleared of excess belongings, if you’re paying a storage company to keep it, you’re paying for stuff that you probably won’t use again so you can keep your house clean.
A non-climate controlled self storage unit costs $1.12 per square foot, according to the Self Storage Association. A 10-foot by 10-foot unit in the U.S. costs $115 per month for non-climate controlled, and $146 per month if climate controlled.
One final stat: 8.96 percent of American households rent a self storage unit, the association reports. If each of those are spending at least $1,380 per month to store their belongings, that’s a lot of cash that could be put elsewhere for a better use.
Time and money costs as a pack rat
Throwing things in closets and other places not only clutters up your home, but takes up a lot of time when you decide you do need something that you’ve “stored” somewhere.
Having so much stuff can make finding one thing almost impossible. The hour or so spent trying to find a lost item among piles of stuff is one hour where you could be working or, better yet, relaxing and enjoying life.
As you accumulate more things, it can end up costing you money to pay someone else to haul it away. Businesses are built around helping pack rats organize their things or take them away.
Some services are free, such as recycling services or charities that send out fliers regularly to ask for used items such as clothes and old electronics. But once you get to a level where your home is consumed by too much stuff, you may be better off hiring someone to remove it all.
Damaging your home
Mounds of things or old furniture in a garage can make nice homes for mice, rats and other creatures. They could chew their way into your home’s walls or find a way into the attic and breed or chew through wiring.
Having expired condiments or spices, for example, can create a bad smell. If you last used a spice 20 years ago that has expired many times over, it may not make you look like a pack rat, but getting rid of it will save you space and eliminate the chance of cooking a bad meal with it.
Clothes can be some of the biggest space users in a house. Follow the rule that if you haven’t used it within a year, it’s not worth having, and you’ll find yourself with a lot more space when your unused clothes are gone. Still have a bridesmaid dress from years ago? Junk it.
For family keepsakes that are stored all around your home, pick one and display it somewhere prominent in your home. Get rid of the rest of them if you’re just keeping them for the sake of it. Don’t be a sentimental pack rat.
The simplest rule to avoid becoming a pack rat: For every one thing that comes into the house, one thing must go out. It’s a difficult thing to do, but one that will save you money and time in the long run.