Pack-rat, Perfectionist, or Procrastinator

posted by Andrea | 08/13/2010
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I’ve worked with a lot of people and pitched a lot of clutter over the past few years; it’s been a blast! However, it can be challenging to help so many different people find the best way to organize and manage their space; especially since their “P tendencies” always seem to get in the way.


I’m talking about Pack-rats, Perfectionists, and Procrastinators — which one are you?

We are all plagued with one {or more} of these ‘P tendencies’ from time to time; and they ALL get in the way of simple, organized living. Want to overcome your P’s, get more organized, and be more productive? Keep reading!


I’ve never heard a pack-rat say they enjoy being a pack-rat…have you? Many pack-rats feel a sense of security from their stuff {I know, this sounds crazy but it’s true.} Unfortunately, pack-rats aren’t able to enjoy their things because they can’t ever find what they need.

The obvious negative to being a packrat is having a very cluttered home and a very stressful life.

So what can you do?

  • Start Small: Challenge yourself to toss five items per day for a month. By the end of the month, you’ll lighten your load by 150 items! Everything counts and if you can find more than five things a day, all the better!
  • Don’t Bring More In: If you toss five things on Monday and then go out and buy 20 things on Thursday…you are worse off!
  • Get an outside perspective: Ask an encouraging friend or relative to help you weed out some of your stuff.

Feeling overwhelmed? Visualize how clean and open your space will be with less stuff.


Did you know that perfectionists are often very disorganized? It’s true; the majority of my clients show signs of perfectionism.

Perfectionism often prevents people from starting a project because they don’t know the “right way” to do it. I even know perfectionists who won’t clean their homes because “it will just get dirty again”! {That’s like not showering because you’ll get dirty again — come on!}

So what can you do?

  • Take baby steps: Focus on one small area at a time and finish the entire project before you move onto the next area. Each small project is a big step towards your eventual goal.
  • Realize that there is no ONE correct way to organize: The only wrong way is not to start at all.
  • Be realistic about your expectations: The homes you see in magazines are staged. No one lives in them. There are no kids, no pets, none of life’s normal problems or challenges. Give yourself a break!

Feeling overwhelmed? Remember that doing something is better than nothing at all; start with 10 minutes today.


We’ve all been here a time or two, right? However, for some people, procrastination is a way of life, causing lots of stress and disorganization. Procrastination can lull you into a false sense of productivity by completing meaningless tasks while deadlines on important tasks inch closer.

So what can you do?

  • Determine why you procrastinate: Are you unsure of the tasks that need to be done? Are you unsure where to start? Once you know the issues, list 5 things you need to do and get to work.
  • Be honest with yourself: If you know you’re not going to do something, don’t even put it on your list.
  • Find a cheering section: Let someone know what you’re trying to achieve and ask them to cheer you on and keep you accountable. Often, that’s all it takes.

Feeling overwhelmed? Buckle down, make a Top 5 List, and tackle your most dreaded task first.

What about you? Which “P” are you?

I’m a bit of a procrastinator… but mostly just a Purger!! I know, that’s not on my list, but I toss everything! Are you a purger too?

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Leave a comment


  1. Jess


    Oh nooooo!!! I’m all three!!!!! Help!!! So now I have multiple tabs open with ‘ppp cure’ suggestions (thus the virtual packrat), all of which I am overwhelmed by, and want to ‘perfectly’ perform.. which will not happen, hence I procrastinate!!! Lol!!! Seems your top 5 list is the most possible for me, though I swear I’ve done this before. I know there are a pile of stickies around here that I’ve packed away for perfection..!!


    Andrea Reply:

    Ha! Your comment made me laugh out loud Jess!


  2. Vicki


    I procrastinate because I am a perfectionist! I fi can’t do it the right way, the way it is supposed to be done, then I don’t do


  3. Cathy


    LOL – loved this!
    I am a perfectionist who married a purger (everything not nailed down gets thrown out) which brings out the paranoid pack-rat in me!

    but anyway, ALL the above tips sound helpful! Thanks!


  4. Jen


    I’m a perfectionist and my husband is a pack rat. It’s a difficult combination to make work when it comes to clutter because he gets defensive and I get overwhelmed. But we’ve come a LONG way, and when we put our house on the market next year, we’ll only have a few totes of things to store during staging because we have so much less stuff!


  5. heidi @ wonder woman wannabe


    I enjoyed your assesment – great ideas to mull over for sure!


  6. Becky


    Is there any hope for me if I am a little of all three?!?!?! The empty space feels empty to me, I see open floor space and look for something to fill it, much to the dismay of my husband. I am trying to purge but throwing things away feels so wasteful.


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