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When Stuff Turns into Clutter

Submitted by on November 24, 2010 – 4:20 pm

A baby is born, pure and naked, owns nothing. Then she gets her first nappy, body suit, pants, hat, booties, THINGS to keep her dry & warm.
When she is a few months old she already has few sets of clothes, shoes, bottles, cuddly toys, rattles, mobiles, books, a push-chair, nappies, creams
and so on – things that her parents think that she needs to keep her healthy and content.
The baby becomes a toddler and then a kid (lets call her Lisa), every year that goes by Lisa gets more STUFF from family and friends, for her
birthdays and for Christmas and for no special reason other than being loved. She has her own room with her toys, books, clothes, she also has a
bike and beach toys and a kite and dress-ups and…
When she’s a teenager she owns clothes, jewelry, make-up, a collection of shells and stamps, books, diaries, cd’s, an ipod, a mobile phone and
more THINGS of interest. After a few years in University and maybe some traveling she moves her bed, wardrobe, desk, computer, stereo, TV, rug
from Peru, wooden Ganesh from India, a few photo albums and most of her belongings into a room in a flat that she shares with two flat-mates. The
trophies she won at a swimming competition when she was nine plus her favorite teddy-bear from when she was four and few other personal items
are stored at her parents house for a while…
She meets a guy, they move in together, he brings the sofa, and she brings the table and chairs. They get married and receive a bread maker, two
juicers, three sets of dining plates, a glass bowl and other gadgets and ornaments from family and friends who love them and want them to have
everything they need to be happy. When she’s pregnant with her first child her parents feel that now it’s probably time for her to accommodate the
trophies and other childhood memorabilia in her own house.
After three kids, a dog, a cat and a few goldfish, Lisa is surrounded with a lifetime of purchased furniture, gadgets, electronics and clothes.
Everywhere she looks around her there’s a gift from someone, a souvenir, paper, magazines, books, toys. Her cupboards are full of unused items, the
garage is full of camping gear, sports gear, gardening tools… Lisa feels that she can’t breath easily in her own home, she has no control of her house
and of her belongings, Lisa wonders when did her stuff turn into clutter.
Do we own our stuff or does it own us?

What is clutter anyway?

Stay tuned till next time when Galit will discuss the meaning of ‘stuff’ and how to manage it.

Galit Maxwell – Professional Organiser – Wellington

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