Wed 28 Dec 2005
In her piece “Citizen Consumer”, Cynthia Peters writes about the Boston Sunday Globe in what she calls the “corporate press”:
Speaking of stuff, that is the main focus of the front page of the other city section of the paper, “City Weekly.” The graphic shows a figure-stick man attempting to shut his closet door. But he can’t. There’s too much stuff. Not to worry, though. You can pay a “personal organizer” ($25-$90 per hour) to help you “declutter.” There is no mention of buying less — only of buying more. If a shopping trip to The Container Store won’t get you sorted out (and the article does mention this store by name, along with several other retailers that offer solutions to the problem of over-consuming and hoarding stuff), then you can pay for the services of “Clutter Clarity.”
I’m reminded of an exercise back in medical school, where our family medicine department shared the idea of “motivational interviewing” with us. We partnered up, and then shared with each other our goals, short and long-term, and barriers to achieving them. Each person assisted the other, using this motivational interviewing technique, in helping to “achieve” the short-term goal(s) mentioned, by breaking down the barriers. Then we shared with the group. One student stated that he receives numerous medical journals in the mail and prints out other articles to read. He ends up having piles of unread materials all over his bedroom floor, and feels quite overwhelmed. His solution, decided upon by both he and his partner, was to organizing the piles, and present one at a time near his desk to go through. At this point, a good friend of mine who could take it no longer jumped up from her desk, exasperated, almost shouting “how can you not see the fallacy in what you’re doing? You’re just piling up! there’s no way you’re going to get to all your reading materials, you’ve gotta let some go!”
A little clutter clarity for all of us, void of corporate sponsors.
And a thanks to my friend Noa’a for sharing her exasperation :>