As you know, I’m a fan of the book that’s making the rounds Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The BBC recently had a couple of pieces about clutter, stuff, the general detritus around the home.
I also love watching the shows like Hoarders or A&E’s Obsessed. It’s a fascination, and not just the morbid kind. Seeing people speak about why they seek things out to bring back home to keep until their home is untenable is an insight that I really love having. The shows nearly always have a happy ending to them where help is gained from a qualified mental health professional and progress is being made if success cannot be completely declared. Sometimes the shows are fair and show that no progress had been made or perhaps things have gone even worse.
The converse of things is the fetishization of minimalism. Marie Kondo strikes a bit of a balance between “these things are weighing you down spiritually” and “would you just look at this messy place”.
From the first BBC link:
When Courtney Carver was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, she took a long, hard look at her life and decided to focus on only the things that were really important. And that meant reducing the amount of “stuff” cluttering her space and her time.
“At first it seemed completely overwhelming and not manageable,” she recalls. “Even the thought of decluttering my closet felt like this huge accomplishment, and paying off tens of thousands of dollars of debt felt impossible.”
But Carver persevered and discovered that casting off her possessions also reduced her stress levels and she began to feel better.
This is my favorite take on things. Someone that evaluates the things around them. Neuroplasticity is what allows humans to use tools. Where does “me” end and “not me” begin? It’s a fuzzy area as far as our brains are concerned and I have to believe that having that get haphazardly too blurred is unhealthy. However there is an extreme to it that seems to come up with more regularity. The same article quotes Bev Hitchins of Align, “a professional decluttering service”. From her website:
I use the Tarot in clutter consultations as well as in my classes. Once the cards have been drawn, I ask my clients what they see. The images trigger ideas, insights and “ah-ha” moments. Clients can view the future with a perspective based on what has transpired up to the present.
The value of using divination tools to inspire clients may or may not have value, but it’s the pairing of decluttering or minimalism to pseudo-science, alternative healing, or some sort of cosmic reality seems to be needlessly common.
Careful and regular consideration of the continued needs and wants with the physical things around a person are something I’d highly suggest to anyone, however- it’s just stuff.