Holding Your Family Hostage (A Letter I Received)
Hello. I am writing to inform you that I have taken your family hostage. Some may consider me a kidnapper but you welcomed me into your home. You allowed me to get a hold on your family and eventually gain the position I now hold…the position of captor. I go by several names: Things, Stuff, Possessions, but my preferred title is Clutter. It’s true. I, Clutter, have taken your family hostage. Don’t believe me? Well…
- I have successfully taken over large sections of your home, confining you to a smaller and smaller area. You no longer keep your car in the garage because I fill it up. You are not alone. Three out of four American families cannot use their garage because I, Clutter, have filled it with my presence(Today’s Families are Prisoners of Their Own Clutter). You have one less bedroom, because I, Clutter, sleep in the spare room. I limit what rooms you use and where you sit. You and your family are my hostage.
- I have also limited your use of time. Remember last week when you spent two hours looking for one piece of paper hidden in me, Clutter? I robbed you of that time. Remember how proud you were of your back yard and deck? But you still don’t use it because you have no time. Your time is taken up accruing money to get more Stuff…Clutter. Once again, you are not alone. I have successfully carried out this time and space limiting plan in myriads of family homes. In a study done by UCLA at the beginning of the 21st Century 50 of 64 adults observed never went outside in the course of a week (Today’s Families are Prisoners of Their Own Clutter). They were too busy. And, when they did have time to go outside, they sat down amidst their stuff to watch TV or “engage” their computer. Basically, I, Clutter, have filled their life and your life. There is no time for the open spaces of outside. No time for family.
- I have captured your children, too. They have “mountains” of toys. In fact, the United States has “3.1% of the world’s children but they own 40% of the Little Tykes Easy Score basketball hoops and other toys” (Today’s Families are Prisoners of Their Own Clutter) Still, I have taught your children to prefer watching TV so I can entice them with more toys they will rarely play with. If not the TV, I prefer they sit amidst their stuff and play video games. Clutter their minds so they can’t enjoy the open spaces of new experiences and adventures that await them in the creative recesses of their mind. I, Clutter, do not allow that creativity to rise and shine.
- I shape your priorities. I keep your mind on all your stuff. I direct your energies toward stuff. I suck up your resources for stuff. I keep your focus on me. No need to have people over and build relationships. Clutter is in the way. No time to go out and enjoy time with family. Clutter calls for you to clean first…and that is too daunting a task. No money to share with others or extra cash to enjoy time as a family. Clutter needs your money to acquire more of the same…Clutter.
As you can see, I, Clutter, have taken your family captive. You are my hostage. You have no time or space for anything but me. I limit your mental resources. I keep you cooped up. I increase your frustration levels. In fact, managing all these possessions has been shown to increase the level of stress hormones in mothers.
So, welcome to the reign of Clutter. Signed,
I wrote back immediately. After finding a pen and paper amidst the clutter of my desk, I penned a very brief letter explaining my plan to escape the clutches of Clutter. I simply wrote, “Time to declutter….” And, I did. Will you do the same?