I have had it with this. I like my
crappy old stuff. I have spent time and money collecting my crappy old stuff. Indeed, I take pride in my collection of crappy old stuff– and new stuff, too!
If you have to move things around in order to accomplish a task in your home or at your office or you feel overwhelmed by all your “things,” it’s a strong signal that clutter has prevailed. And it might be stressing you out more than you realize.
“Clutter is an overabundance of possessions that collectively create chaotic and disorderly living spaces,” said Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago who studies the causes of clutter and its impact on emotional well-being. And a cluttered home, researchers are learning, can be a stressful home.
Set aside who is deciding what an “overabundance” is. Let us begin with the obvious from the NYT blurb on the “research”: “…using a five-point scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree.” And from the paper’s abstract:
Hierarchical linear regression revealed that behavioral procrastination contributed significantly to an increasingly larger percentage of explained variance in clutter problems across the generational cohorts in a series of separate analyses.Delaying Disposing: Examining the Relationship between Procrastination and Clutter across Generations
You cannot do regression analysis of any sort whatsoever on ordinal data. PERIOD. END OF STORY. So the whole freaking study is BULLS*^T. Period.
Let us note a couple of real-life things. First, it’s the beginning of the year. Nothing much is happening. Not many people are able to go on a nice walk through their pastures on a 60 degree Sunday afternoon. (Missing sheep mystery solved.) Most are shut in. It’s natural at this time of the year that people’s thoughts turn to getting organized, cleaning up, turning a new leaf. So it’s not particularly surprising the the NYT would dig up a paper that’s been online for over a year.
That said, there is more going on here.
Dr. Saxbe agreed that a good way to declutter is to keep items out of the house in the first place. She urged shoppers to consider whether they truly need an item or if it will add to their home’s sense of dysfunction. “Once it’s in the house, it’s really hard to deal with. You get attached to the things you own,” she said.Saxbe is lead author on two other equally stupid studies cited in the NYT article.
Have you noticed a trend in the last few years– maybe longer? Declutter. Throw away anything you haven’t used within some time frame. Do you really need two of these? It used to be rent-to-own. Now it’s do not own. See that green bike? Swipe your phone and it’s yours to ride and dump off. No need to care for it as an owned item. Someone recently speculated that there would be no more private car ownership in the future. (Try selling that outside the city.)
“You get attached to the things you own.” No kidding. There’s a reason for that. They are yours. You do not have to share if you do not want to. But what happens when an individual loses her sense of ownership? She loses her sense of self.
So pardon me while me, myself, & I go move a few things that have piled up on the breakfast table.