The Acclimation to Accumulation

Hoarding Cleanup – Florida on Flickr by Advanced Bio Treatment

Professional organizers. Storage units. Closet designers. PODS. The Container Store.

There is a whole industry that caters towards people who accumulate stuff. And both Discovery Channel and A&E have television programs to capture these extreme circumstances.

These programs help to normalize the behavior of everyone else. Yes, it is normal to buy things. But as viewers, who couldn’t find the remote to turn the TV on, watch a team of psychologists and junk haulers converge on a nearly-condemned home, they think “well, that’s not me.”

I’m not removing myself from the groups of onlookers. Plenty of people watch “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” get disgusted, and have the sudden urge to clean and organize. I’m in this group of people. Yet, the motivation is fleeting. And soon everything is back to normal.

If I didn’t have as much ________, it wouldn’t be this way.

I know that I am one of those people who likes to go shopping to make myself happy. I know that new shoes will put a smile on my face and make me feel good. But then I take the new shoes home, and I don’t have space in my closet. The new shoes sit in the floor in the box on top of other boxes of shoes. The cycle starts all over again, and I’m used to it.

A recent article by Time called “Here’s Proof Buying More Stuff Actually Makes You Miserable” says: when people become more materialistic, their emotional well-being takes a dive. I would say this is true because I have experienced the high and low of a purchase.

I don’t know of a specific way to tell someone to stop buying things. It has to be the individual’s own decision, and the person must recognize there is a problem.

I guess it’s just like an addiction. You can only help people who want to help themselves.

Again, it is normal to buy things, but it’s time to recognize that less is more.

You could be spending less time cleaning and more time with your family.

You could be less frustrated about the laundry basket full of clean clothes and happier that each clothing item as a drawer to go in.

You could have fewer “organized” piles of random crap and more space in general.

The decision is yours.


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