Overstuffed: Clutter, consumption and the study that shows how possessions shape us

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  • raybies Layton, UT
    Oct. 18, 2012 6:48 a.m.

    Books and movies are a huge source of clutter in our home. I've found that Kindle and Netflix are a great service in that I no longer buy physical objects, though I do wonder if someday we'll be making the same commentary about digital clutter.

    Interesting read. My family goes on these huge "clean the house for charity" drives in which we go through all our stuff and donate a lot of it. A household of seven generated over 200 pairs of shoes that none of us were wearing. Not all of them were totally worn out either. And we'd not bought most of them. People saw that I had four girls and just liked giving us stuff...

    One great way to declutter is to move into a smaller house. You're then forced to get rid of things. :)

  • Most Truthful and Patriotic Layton, UT
    Oct. 15, 2012 3:21 p.m.

    Madden, how about this: Tell everyone in the family that they have to put five "keepsakes" from their own personal space, into a box. Put the box in the basement, sealed up tight. Put the date on it. I'll be no one misses those "keepsakes" when you open the box up a year later..

    Is anyone else having problems posting here?
    I have to press the "submit" button about 15 times before it works .... and it's the same on all three computers.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    Oct. 15, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    We just shuffled kids around in our house and as we moved people from one bedroom to another all could think was "how much stuff can we possibly have?!?" It seemed like every shelf and corner had some piece of memorabilia. A lot of it are keepsakes, something made or drawn, but plenty of it was junk that was money wasted. It really would be liberating to have much less clutter, at least to me. I can't be alone in that battle...I just want to toss it, but the rest of the family isn't so keen on that.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Oct. 14, 2012 8:35 a.m.

    To Roland K & LValfre

    Nothing wrong with books or hoarding info. But, that is why the internet, Libraries systems, & "just browsing" @ bookstores are so wonderful.

    Re: Reasonable Person

    Agreed. Its funny to see how alot of people get so OCD about keeping up w/ the Jones' .

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Oct. 13, 2012 2:05 p.m.

    What causes this?
    Shopping "just to go shopping", gifting for silly occasions, and the false need to have a roomful of toys for every child.

    All you have to do, is go to any Deseret Industries and see the aisles full of last year's Christmas and Halloween "junk" (and I do mean junk). ....as well as the unwanted gifts in the knick-knacks, home decor and housewares sections.

    In a society that has to have the latest iPhone every year (a $200 status symbol?), we need to look at what we are doing. When the Dollar Store or Walmart junk moves quickly to the thrift stores, what good did that money do? Why buy a McMansion just to hold more junk? All it did was create jobs in China.

    Turn things over and look at where they're made. Then, don't bring it home if it says "China". Only we consumers can improve our own economy. We need to stop buying throwaway clutter, and buying top-quality US-made goods!

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 12, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    Clutter drives me nuts. Besides, it feels so great to give stuff away, knowing that it might actually be useful to someone else.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 12, 2012 4:54 p.m.

    @Roland Kayser

    "To Hutterite: My wife is always complaining about our house being jammed to rafters with all my books. I know it's illogical, but I just can't part with them."

    My girlfriend and soon to be wife helped me with that during my last move. Made me pick out my favorite books and get rid of the rest. I'm an information hoarder ... what can I say. And I take pride in building a fountain of knowledge to display.

    But nothing's better than the peace of mind and focus that comes with minimalism.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 12, 2012 12:46 p.m.

    To Hutterite: My wife is always complaining about our house being jammed to rafters with all my books. I know it's illogical, but I just can't part with them.

  • Michael De Groote
    Oct. 11, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    My 11-year-old daughter looked through the book that reported this study. After viewing pictures of clutter and messy bedrooms, etc., she said she was glad we were not that bad.

    I took my camera and shot a few photos of our house and showed it to her. She was not happy to see that in some parts of our home, at least, we were no better and had some room for improvement.

    That was part of the value of writing this story. It helped to see how we live and examine why. I think I am going to go home and get rid of a few things...

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Oct. 10, 2012 2:28 p.m.

    I can't stand clutter. You might say I am an anti-hoarder. If I don't see a use for it within the next 12 months it's gone. I can't stand piles of papers, boxes, and knickknacks occupying every square inch of my home. Their is beauty and peace in minimalism, not to mention the fact that you require a much smaller house as an anti-hoarder.

    That said my anti-hoarding tendencies don't always go over well with my wife, who has a tendency to want to hold on to everything, it's definitively been a source of some contention.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    I just spent a week cleaning out my junk preparing for a move. It made me sick to see how much money I have spent over the years on stuff that got put somewhere and hardly, if ever, used.
    We do tend to shop too much. And have too much.
    I think I need one of those tiny houses so I can't collect so much stuff!
    This was an interesting article.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    I am amazed and a little ashamed at how well this article resembles our home of the last 50 years.

    Not only do we have much of our own “stuff”, our home is an overflow warehouse for several of our kids and grandkids. And it’s not just the house, it’s the garage, the patio and even the old child play house.

  • Vince Clortho S_SPRINGS, UT
    Oct. 9, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    I think the article communicated the most important point, that we define ourselves by what we consume. I think as a society we would be healthier if we produce more than we collect.

    I'm not saying we have to produce goods. For example, a child's imagination can be exercised when playing with toys. The toys are a means and not an end. That hoarding impulse can often serve itself only. When the greatest memory associated with a purchase is the actual moment of purchase then that might be a flag indicating unnecessary consumption.

    I think for many that shopping is an addiction.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 8, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be great if people brought more books into the home, especially those with children, and less figurines? Maybe we wouldn't have to blame the teachers anymore.