We are at the center of an orgy of consumption, and many are now seeing that this need to own so much comes with a heavy price: Kids so overstimulated by the sheer volume of stuff in their home that they lose the ability to concentrate and focus. Financial strain caused by misplaced bills or overpurchasing. Constant fighting because neither partner is prepared to let go of their possessions. The embarrassment of living in a house that long ago became more of a storage facility than a home.
This clutter doesn't just come in the form of the physical items that crowd our homes. We are bombarded every day with dire predictions of disaster and face many uncertainties—some real and many manufactured. Think about the perils that we've been warned about in the last decade alone—killer bees, Y2K, SARS, anthrax, mad cow disease, avian flu, flesh-eating bacteria... the list goes on and on. We are also faced daily with reports of war, an unstable economy, and global terrorism coming very close to home. Surprisingly, this endless barrage (its own kind of clutter) inspires many of the families with whom I work to finally take control of their own clutter. In an unpredictable, dangerous world that is out of their control, they look to their homes for stability—to get some degree of organization back into their closets, their garages, their home offices, their lives. This quest for organization is a deeply personal response to the feeling that the rest of the world is out of control.