Jul 13, 2010
At first I wasn’t going to write a post about Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things but I found something I wanted to share 262 pages into the book.
As has been apparent to us from studying hoarding, we may own the things in our homes, but they own us as well. Objects carry the burden of responsibilities that include acquisition, use, care, storage, and disposal. The magnitude of these responsibilities for each of us has exploded the expanding number of items in our homes during the past fifty years. Having all these possessions has caused a shift in our behavior away from human interaction to interaction with inanimate objects. Kids now spend more time online, playing video games, or watching TV alone in their rooms than interacting with family or friends. Possessions originally sold on the promise that they would make life easier and increase leisure time have done just the opposite. Often both parents work longer hours to support an ever-increasing array of new conveniences that lead to spending less and less time together.
For as long as I can remember things have always interested me. People’s living quarters and their belongings have the ability to distract. After watching a few episodes of the show “Hoarders” it was facinating the see the way people can live their lives having so much crap.
Never was I the extent to the cases in the book but I think most have some of the traits of even extreme hoarders. Only up till recently I was able to part with many things I’ve held and moved with me since college that I haven’t used in years. It wasn’t difficult to part with the items but part of me still wonders if it was the right thing to do. Though rougher parts of my life I’m sure still today at times find comfort being surrounded with things and things I truly value.
Regardless I wanted to write something to bring attention to a book and topic I found extraordinarily interesting. Rather then even attempt to summarize something better the review from the New York Times does the job perfectly.
To those who need to understand hoarders, perhaps in their own family, “Stuff” offers perspective. For general readers, it is likely to provide useful stimulus for examining how we form and justify our own attachments to objects.