3 Ways To Get A Pack Rat To Declutter Before Moving

It's natural to accumulate clutter when living in one place for a long period of time. However, some people just can't throw anything away, which can make moving more challenging and expensive than it needs to be. If you're moving with a pack rat who wants to take everything with them, here are three ways you can get them to declutter.

Show Them the Money

One way to get a person to let go of their stockpile is to show them how much money they could make by selling some or all of it. This is particularly useful if the person is in debt or needs money to relocate.

According to an informal survey, most respondents made around $200 selling items at yard sales. However, the person may make more or less depending on the amount of stuff he or she has, its value, and the effort put into selling it. For instance, a man sold his 11,000-piece video game set online for $750,250.

You can help the person evaluate how much they are likely to get for their items by using online auction and classified ad sites to see how much other people are selling similar items for. If the pieces are particularly valuable, get them evaluated by an appraiser.

Work in Small Batches

Sometimes the person does want to declutter, but the sheer size of the hoard is just too overwhelming. The idea of having to deal with five or six rooms full of stuff may be too mind-boggling to handle, leading to the person feeling discouraged and anxious just thinking about trying to sift through their belongings.

One way around this problem is to break the task down into smaller parts. Instead of trying to tackle the whole house or apartment, focus on decluttering one room at a time. You can even split the task into small increments of time. For example, work on sorting through clothing for 15 minutes, take a break, and then get back at it for another 15 minutes.

The point is to reduce the monumental task into smaller, more manageable, parts that aren't quite so off-putting. Be certain to remove unwanted items from the space by donating them or throwing them away so the person can visually confirm he or she is making progress.

Address the Underlying Emotional or Psychological Attachment to the Clutter

Sometimes the reason people have a hard time throwing stuff away is because of an underlying emotional or psychological issue. For instance, one study found that people with hoarding disorder have difficulty making decisions about the relevancy and importance of the items in their possession.

Other people may have a real phobia of throwing things out. The thought of throwing something away fills these individuals with the same type of anxiety and panic that people with arachnophobia feel when confronting spiders.

Others use the clutter as a type of emotional crutch. It may be they are going through a difficult time and the clutter provides an odd sense of comfort to them. Something devastating may have happened to the person in the past. For instance, he or she may have lost important belongings in a fire and hold on to clutter out of fear of losing important items again.

Regardless of the reason, if it seems like an underlying psychological or emotional problem is at the heart of a person's unwillingness or inability to declutter, you may need to enlist the assistance of a mental health professional that can help the person deal with the issue.

If the person is just not able to part with as much stuff as you'd like, talk to moving and storage companies about what storage options are available. For more tips on decluttering or to get a moving estimate, contact movers in your area.