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Three Tips For Helping Your Packrat Relative Move

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There are people who keep only the important things, and then there are so-called "packrats" who seem to keep everything. If you have a relative who is a packrat and you've been asked to help them move, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the prospect. How will you ever get 1,000 collectible figurines into the moving truck? Will they really be able to part with 12 years worth of magazines? Every situation is different, but these three tips should help keep the packing and moving process going – while also keeping you from pulling out your hair.

Make sure your relative is prepared emotionally.

Many packrats are very emotionally connected to their items; that's why they keep them. So, having to throw things away or donate them is going to be emotionally challenging for your relative. Prepare some comforting phrases to use if your loved one becomes emotionally overwhelmed during the process. You could say "Remember, it's the people in your life who matter the most, not your things." Or "Just think of how much this item will mean to the person you donate it to!" If you expect your loved one to be very emotional, you may want to kindly suggest they find a therapist to meet with a few times during the moving process. Talking about their struggles can help keep them emotionally grounded.

Stick to a schedule.

This is not a move you can complete in one day or even three days. A few weeks before the actual moving date, sit down with your relative and formulate a schedule. Plan on packing up the bathroom one day, the bedroom another day, and the kitchen another day, for instance. You can even designate a day to go through a specific collection if needed. Once this schedule is set, stick to it. Having a schedule will ensure you keep moving forward rather than spending all day reminiscing over a certain lampshade or book.

Hire a professional moving company.

Surely, your loved one can't move everything to their new home. But once everything has been sorted through and items have been donated and thrown out, it may be wise to have professionals actually pack things into boxes and transport them to the new location. This will take away some of the pressure to throw away a certain amount of items, as the moving company will have the resources to pack more efficiently and move a larger quantity of items to the new place. With the pressure off to discard a certain amount, your relative may actually be more willing to part with things because it will feel like more of a choice.

Helping a packrat pack up and move is sure to be a trying experience. But with the tips above, you can and will get through it.