How We Love Our Stuff

As we know, so many of us love to shop, own, trade or give away our stuff. Our things mean something to us, for reasons that are practical and/or emotional. This is something that so many of my clients say “I don’t understand why I care so much about my stuff. I’m overly sentimental and have a hard time getting rid of things, but I don’t understand why?” Or they might say “My mother/father/grandmother, etc. were collectors. So, I love to shop and collect things, and I’m not able to get rid of anything, cause I love everything.”

In this 2014 article about the gathering of possessions, Dr. Randy Frost, a professor at Smith College, in Northampton, Mass., who has studied and written about hoarding and is the author of “Stuff” says “Our possessions all have magical qualities. Many, if not most, of the things we keep have an essence that goes beyond the physical character of the object.”

Statistics have been cited that the average U.S. household has 300,000 things, from paper clips to ironing boards. U.S. children make up 3.7% of children on the planet but have 47% of all toys and children’s books.

I have had more clients that can’t park their cars in their garage then those that could. Stuff spills from one room to the other, moving to all areas of the house. What does this say about our need to continue consuming? Understand that I’m not talking about the average amount of consumption, but an amount that leaves a person deep in emotional turmoil and debt.

How do we battle the urge to over-consume to the point of ruination? As your humble organizer, one suggestion I have is to consider the help of a mental health provider who can help you make significant changes in your life.