Views #1502 | Beginner (B2)

Pack Rat

Meg and Todd discuss if they keep a lot of stuff.

Todd: Meg, I'm going to give you a test.

Meg: Okay.

Todd: It's a personality test.

Meg: Uh-oh.

Todd: And we want to know, are you a pack rat?

Meg: Am I a pack rat?

Todd: Right. Do you save things, do you keep things, or are you a minimalist? Do you have very few things in your house?

Meg: Well, I think I try to be a minimalist, but I'm a little bit of a pack rat.

Todd: Okay. We'll take the test, let's see. Okay, the first question is, how many books do you have in your house?

Meg: Not counting Kindle?

Todd: Not counting Kindle. Physical books, how many books do you have?

Meg: Physical books, I think I have around 15 books.

Todd: Oh. Oh.

Meg: Is that a lot?

Todd: That's bad.

Meg: That's so many?

Todd: Yeah.

Meg: Really?

Todd: So negative-

Meg: Uh-oh.

Todd: Negative ... Boo. Negative one means pack rat [crosstalk 00:00:58] positive one means minimalist. Okay. Next question. How many shoes do you have?

Meg: Can I not answer that question?

Todd: No. You have to say.

Meg: Okay. I think I have 25 pairs of shoes.

Todd: Oh my gosh. I'm giving you negative two points.

Meg: No, just one.

Todd: All right. Next question is, how many blankets do you have?

Meg: Blankets? I think I have 10 blankets.

Todd: Oh my gosh. I knew you were a pack rat. I knew it, I knew it. Now you're negative five.

Meg: But you need blankets for the cold winter.

Todd: You only need one blanket.

Meg: But if you have friends visiting you, you need more blankets.

Todd: Okay.

Meg: I have a lot of friends.

Todd: Wow. That's a good point. Okay, next question. How many umbrellas do you have?

Meg: I think I have around five or six umbrellas.

Todd: Wow. And you live alone, correct?

Meg: Yes. I live alone.

Todd: Okay. So a pack rat is somebody who does not get rid of things they don't need. So, do you need five umbrellas?

Meg: I do need those umbrellas.

Todd: Why do you need ...

Meg: I'll tell you. I'll tell you why. One is a very small umbrella that's easy to carry. Another umbrella is very large for a really rainy day. A third umbrella is decorative and very pretty. The fourth umbrella is for the sun. And the fifth umbrella is clear, to use on a really windy day.

Todd: That's interesting. Now, the fourth umbrella, for the sun, that's called a parasol, correct?

Meg: I guess so, but that sounds a little old-fashioned.

Todd: Okay. I won't consider that. I consider an umbrella for the rain only. So, we'll say four.

Meg: Four.

Todd: So let's just ...

Meg: Do I get a point back?

Todd: You do. But let's do a recap. You are single, you live alone.

Meg: Yes.

Todd: You have four umbrellas.

Meg: Yes.

Todd: You have 10 blankets.

Meg: Yes.

Todd: You have 25 pairs of shoes.

Meg: Correct.

Todd: And you have 15 books?

Meg: 15 books.

Todd: I'm sorry, Meg, but you qualify as a pack rat.

Meg: Oh no.

Todd: You are not a minimalist. We're taking away your minimalist membership.

Meg: Oh. Well I guess I need to get rid of some things, huh? And what about you? Are you a pack rat or a minimalist?

Todd: I'm pretty much a minimalist, I think, because I only have two bags of stuff.

Meg: Only two bags?

Todd: Yeah. So, you can take everything I have and put it in two big suitcases.

Meg: So you don't have 15 books?

Todd: No, I have maybe four books.

Meg: Only four books.

Todd: And they're very small paperback books.

Meg: What about blankets?

Todd: I have one blanket.

Meg: Just one.

Todd: Just one.

Meg: So if visitors come to your house ...

Todd: That is true.

Meg: ... they're out of luck.

Todd: When somebody comes to my house, I ask my neighbor to borrow a blanket. I do. Why?

Meg: You borrow a blanket?

Todd: ... is that funny? Yes. This is-

Meg: Wow.

Todd: I am such a minimalist, my friend told me, he said I am the only person that has ...

Meg: One blanket.

Todd: No. A spoon and a fork.

Meg: A spoon and a fork?

Todd: That's it. I have one.

Meg: Okay. So basically, your house is not prepared for any visitors.

Todd: That's true.

Meg: Whereas my house is prepared for many visitors.

Todd: That's true.

Meg: Okay. Umbrellas?

Todd: I have maybe two.

Meg: Two. So why two?

Todd: Because I can't remember if I have one or I will leave the house and I won't take it, and so then I need to buy one and then...

Meg: And then you get rid of one?

Todd: No, then I just never buy another one. I'm pretty good.

Meg: Oh.

Todd: Only two.

Meg: Okay.

Todd: But shoes?

Meg: Shoes.

Todd: I only have four pairs of shoes.

Meg: What is the purpose of each pair of shoes?

Todd: I have one pair of shoes for work. Nice dress shoes. I have two sneakers, one pair of sneakers for running, jogging, one pair of sneakers for fashion, and one pair of Futsal shoes for soccer. That's it. That's it.

Meg: Wow. Well, I have to say, you really sound like a minimalist.

Todd: Yeah, and you really sound like a pack rat.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

pack rat


And we want to know, are you a pack rat?

A pack rat is someone who does not like to throw things away and has lots of stuff they rarely use. Notice the following:

  1. I am a pack rat , so I need to get a bigger place.
  2. She is a pack rat. She has hundreds of boxes in storage.



are you a minimalist?

A minimalist is the opposite of a pack rat. A minimalist has very few possessions. Notice the following:

  1. He is a minimalist. His apartment has no furniture.
  2. For parents, being a minimalist is hard due to shopping for kids.

out of luck


They're out of luck.

Here, if a person is 'out of luck' that means an opportunity does not exist for them. Notice the following:

  1. The food at the party is eaten quickly, so if you come late, you're out of luck.
  2. If you don't get to the beach early, you will be out of luck. All the good places to sit will be taken.



But let's do a recap.

When you do a recap, you discuss or list things previously talked about. Notice the following:

  1. At the end of the lesson, the teacher always does a recap.
  2. Before each episode, the TV show does a recap of the previous week's show.

get rid of


A pack rat is somebody who does not get rid of things.

When people get rid of things, they throw them away or give them away. Notice the following:

  1. I have too many shoes. I need to get rid of some of them.
  2. I need to get rid of some books. Would you like any of them?

Vocabulary Quiz

pack rat • minimalist • out of luck
do a recap • get rid of
  1. I was . All the food was gone before I arrived.
  2. She is a . She has few belongings
  3. Before class, we will of the last lesson.
  4. I need to my old clothes.
  5. She is a . She keeps everything.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Related Video - One Minute English

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Video 1502
Are you a pack rat or a minimalist?
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Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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