Its not so bad to be a pack rat

First Posted: 3/5/2009

Pack rat a person who keeps everything; a person who retains an excessive amount of items.
In other words a lifesaver.
I always teased my mom about her habit of accumulating items, whether it be clothes, furniture, plants, but especially paper items. She has some documents that are probably older than I am.
I use to ask her, is that really necessary?
Earlier this week, I learned it is necessary.
The first car I owned was a Honda Civic, which I sadly totaled around this time last year.
I had rather low payments on the car, which thankfully made it affordable enough I had never missed any payments.
However, a suspicious past-due mark of 33 days appeared on my credit report for the car this year. Oddly, it showed a missed payment more than a month after the car had been totaled, paid by the insurance and covered by my gap insurance. In other words, I couldnt make a late payment on a car that I no longer owned or was even in existence.
After I pondered over the situation, I realized it was a bank error. Because of paperwork I kept after almost a year later, I was able to show that the bank, which provided my gap insurance, made the last payment to cover the cost of my vehicle. Hence, it made a late payment not me.
Armed with my paperwork, I spent an hour making my case to bank representatives. After several, yet respectful disagreements, the bank agreed it made an error and agreed to remove the information from my credit report.
I know for a fact had I not kept documentation it probably would have made proving the bank wrong a little harder.
So, I hurriedly called my mother after the meeting with the bank and thanked her for showing me the importance of keeping things.
It was one of the few times I didnt shun an anticipated I told you so.
Now it seems less odd that my mom has receipts that are five years old or statements for accounts she no longer maintains.
You never know when it will come in handy.
Now you should own your items, rather than them owning you.
But if you have a junk drawer, or even a junk closet, its OK, there might be something hiding in there to help you out someday.
Erin C. Perkins is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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