A friend recently shared an interesting article from the New York Times entitled “The Way We Live: Drowning in Stuff.” This article raises a number of interesting issues about family dynamics, many of which I explored in blog posts earlier this week.
The article discusses a new book coming out next week called, “Life at Home in the 21st Century.” This book is the result of a study in which anthropologists followed families with at least two small children in the home to document how these families handle their “stuff.”
One of the findings of the study which made me chuckle was this one:
There was a direct relationship between the amount of magnets on refrigerators and the amount of stuff in a household.
When I married my husband, he and I both knew – in fact, anyone who ever has known me for any period of time probably knew, that “stuff” would be our marital conflict. I like my stuff. My husband prefers a space that resembles a zen meditation center – without the meditation.
I come from a long line of pack rats. I feel a certain comfort when surrounded by things that remind me of people and places I love. My husband, on the other hand, feels comfort when surrounded by clean, flat surfaces without piles.
Having just faced the concept of having to pack only what would fit in my car to flee a wildfire, I was forced to think about all the stuff that surrounds me.
Somehow, when faced with the possibility of losing everything, I was not as panicked as I expected.
I think that was because I knew that I would be able to get myself, my husband and my teenage pup to safety and that we would all be fine, no matter what happened. Apparently, that is the stuff that matters.
What do you think? Are you a pack rat or a minimalist? Do you have emotional issues about your stuff? Do you regret having eliminated something that you thought was clutter, only to realize later that you needed that item? Have you had to work through these issues with an aging parent? Do you have any advice for those of us who like to hold on to things? And why does it seem that when I come back from a long trip, I feel much more willing to get rid of things that were not needed and used in whatever bag I took? That seems to be the best time for my husband to discuss this issue with me, when I am most open to changing. Finally, how many refrigerator magnets are on your refrigerator?
I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.