Living with clutter has become more and more common for people as the tendency to accumulate possessions increases in modern culture.
We own more, and not just the larger ticket items like houses, cars, furniture etc. but most people have considerable quantities of the smaller, less significant items.
These can include everyday, useful objects like kitchenware, books, clothing, artwork, collections, tools, ornaments, accessories, linen, toys (a big one!) and so on.
However, in the course of our work, we see an incredible array of useless, outdated, expired, broken and irrelevant items which clutter up our client’s lives.
This is not an extraordinary reality for most people; on the contrary, it has become more typical of the everyday experience many individuals, families, and especially the much-touted and never-eventuating ‘paperless’ office.
One thing we are becoming more certain of in the course of our work: our industry is in its ‘growth phase’.
The reality of living with clutter for many people now was the extraordinary case
only a decade or two ago. In a recent study conducted in 2008 it was found that:
‘88 per cent of homes have at least one cluttered room, and the average home has three or more cluttered rooms. The spare room is the most cluttered in the home, following by cupboards, the garage and bedrooms. Not surprisingly, people living in detached houses had more clutter than people living in townhouses or apartments, and people with kids in the home tend to have more clutter than those without. Victorian homes are the most cluttered, while New South Wales homes are the least cluttered. Four in ten Australians said they feel anxious, guilty or depressed about the clutter in their homes’.
Josh Fear wrote an extensive paper on the subject, entitled ‘Stuff Happens – Unused Things Cluttering Up our Homes’ and goes on to document the research methods used to conducts the study, the nature of clutter, how clutter affects people and what people think about clutter, amongst other fascinating reading.
Even if talking on the subject of clutter fills you with dread or you just want to hear how the other 90% of people live, this short and highly informative article is worth a read. It is well-written, engaging and not just a little incredible, and is a must-read for anyone who thinks that they are alone in the fight with the irrepressible clutter-monster.
Probably one of the more interesting parts of the study (which we always impress upon our clients but is often regarded with scepticism) is how the reality of living with clutter has a significant psychological impact which, when cleared, results in tremendous feelings of well-being and freedom.
Many people just see it as mess, and don’t give credence to the possibility that those out-of-control cupboards, however well-hidden, carry with them a tangible weight of guilt, depression, stress and frustration. Time for action, we say!
So, have a look and learn some salient truths about the ever-increasing problem of too many possessions. And, take heart, you are not alone…