First in a five-part series
We are drowning in stuff. Living in a consumer-driven culture means we are inundated with new and improved products that we “can’t live without” on a daily basis. The most common complaint from potential clients is “I am completely overwhelmed!”
Ads once relegated to newspapers and magazines spread exponentially. We are manipulated from every corner of our life. A simple trip through the grocery store can feel like an assault on the senses. Coupons jut out from the shelves, large graphics stare up at us from the floor, carts need maneuvering around displays sitting in the middle of the aisle. For several years, we were treated to movie previews at the cinema but now they’ve included ads for TV shows, video games and cosmetics.
Have you seen any ads on the internet lately? How about that billboard you see on your daily commute? Once fixed, many of the billboards now rotate electronically to double or triple your ad saturation while you sit idle in your car.
Is it any wonder we’re overwhelmed?
The old adage, less is more, is true. Streamlining our lives and letting go of the non-essentials is critical to our physical and mental health. It requires a two part approach: reducing what we consume in the first place, and sorting, purging and organizing what we already have.
According to Dr. David S. Kantra:
Clutter has seemingly become a national epidemic. During the last 30 years the size of the average American home has grown 53%, from 1500 square feet to a little over 2300 square feet. With 800 extra square feet of space in our homes, one would think we would have more than enough room to spread out and be better organized. Not so. During this same span of time, self-storage facilities were originated and have, according to the Self Storage Association (yes, there is an association devoted to storage units), grown to over 35,000 facilities nationwide. Obviously, we have begun to buy and hold on to items so much that we’re requiring more and more space to accommodate our clutter.
In his article Chronic Clutter Syndrome, Kantra explains his theories behind our need to consume. It’s an important first step to understand why we allow clutter to gather around us. In part two of this series, I’ll address some of the ways in which we can all learn to stem the tide.