I’ve been a packrat all of my life. I believe it stemmed from my poverty-stricken childhood, but it could be genetic as my grandmother and grandfather who lived through The Great Depression were both afflicted with it. And well, yes my mother has it as well. Mr. A has it, worse than me, and his mother has it. But her husband is one of the people who throw things away that are perfectly new just because it hasn’t been used in the last month. Seriously, he’ll take a brand new blender and take it with him to throw their trash away at the dump. So she sometimes gives stuff to us, just so she doesn’t have to see it get thrown away.
I keep the books for a small company, one of my many sidelines. Last week, the owner told me the IRS had sent a notice claiming they didn’t make some of their 940 payments in 2006. She said she had combed her house and could find every one of the yearly record keeping books, except 2006. That meant it was probably with me, and to complicate matters, I had a nagging suspicion that I did have it – somewhere.
I had to work on Friday, so today was my only day to spend time looking for it. Since the IRS is breathing down my client’s back, I needed to make darn sure that I don’t have the book on hand. But since I’m such a messy packrat, there is no telling where it could be.
Mr. A is my prince. He helped me for six hours today, looking for that book. We ended up going through nearly every box in our bedroom (their book hasn’t been used by me since January 2007 – that’s a long time for it to be missing in my house). I took the opportunity to go through those boxes and consolidate what I could, and also to throw some things away that should have been thrown away in the first place. I did get rid of at least 2 large garbage bags of stuff, so that was a wonderful thing. Mr. A mostly dug boxes out of my closet so I could go through them, which is half the battle. While we were about three-fourths of the way through, Mr. A said he thought I’d taken that book to my job. Then I remembered that I thought I’d done that!! Sheesh!! All that work… well, it wasn’t for naught because our room got a good going through.
I also put up two pictures on the hallway wall where I’ve been wanting to put pictures for years. One photo from Christmas 2006 and the other from Christmas 2007.
During the day, I kept coming across things I’d saved to use later, but didn’t know where they were, and ended up buying them anyway.
So back to the title of my post, how being a packrat costs you money.
If you think of your time as money, I wasted a lot of time today. If I wasn’t such a packrat, I wouldn’t have my closet filled to the brim with boxes full of things that aren’t organized.
If you rent a storage unit for your packrat habit, that’s a waste of money. I have never allowed myself to go that far.
I have so much clutter, I can’t find the good stuff in the midst of it, so I have to go out and buy another one too much of the time. I should either just get rid of it, or get organized!
I have tried to stop being a packrat the last wo decades. Every year I say this year will be different, but it ends up being the same. Actually during the years I was a stay at home mother I got pretty well organized, but then we moved here and I haven’t had the time.
I was frustrated much of the day; because of my disorganization I had to spend most of the day looking for something that isn’t even mine. It’s bad enough when it’s mine, but it’s horrible when it’s someone else’s. And what if it’s not in my office? My clients pay cash, so they don’t have check stubs to show that they paid. When I looked back at the Peachtree records that I keep for them, it did indicate that they didn’t make several payments that year, but sometimes they forget to write it down in their record book. I will take a look at the 940s to see what they show. My clients have had problems with the IRS which started when they turned the company over to their adult sons. The boys didn’t make the tax payments for months. So Mom and Pop had to take back the reins. There’s also a language barrier, as the couple’s first language is not English.
Anyway, I certainly earned my money today. AJ and I are going to church tomorrow, which is not too far from the office and I’ll need to look around and see if I can find that book. I am not quite as much of a packrat at work, but I do have a few boxes that I’ll need to look through.
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