A quick jaunt through the internet’s collection of blogs reveals a sometimes startling trend toward the spartan life; any number of sites dedicated to ridding one’s self of extraneous detritus like so many folds of fat. While I’m not entirely sure that it is singular to the generation of web connected, chic geek types it does seem to have embedded itself deeply in the collective conscious.

One is inundated with a myriad of ways to de-clutter one’s workspace, thereby improving productivity. How-Tos on creating furniture within furniture can be found in innumerable permutations; helping you create Russian nesting doll contraptions that can transform and unfold from bed to sofa to kitchen sink. Thousands of words are dedicated to hollowing out everything you own to mask, disguise, and camouflage the embarrassing traces of your unsightly possessions. Pages and pages and pages dedicated to those wishing to live in vacuous, tidy, Ikea showrooms; their work-spaces lone laptops seated upon vast expanses of desk.

No doubt this is an admirable pursuit, and I have gleaned very helpful information from such laser-like studies of militant organization. Yet, I am much closer to the other end of the spectrum. That is to say that I am more of a hoarder. I collect; I accumulate. Like Pigpen, my very existence draws stuff to it. My dream domicile is almost the antithesis of the sterile, productive space; lined from wall to wall with items and objects. A familial trait, passed down through a successive line of hoarders on both sides, it is firmly entrenched; oblivious to any and all attempts at change.

In that regard I can watch this short film by Martin Hampton and see some of myself in it. These people, surrounded by their things whose meaning and importance is only known and understood by them, is at once comforting and heart wrenching. The most startling realization may be that these individuals know that something is not quite right. They are aware that this is not “normal” and they are trapped by it. It is the idea of the things you own owning you made real.

7 Responses to “Possessed”

  1. Laurian Says:

    Reminds me of this book: “Tokyo Style” By Katsuhiro Kinoshita. Pictures of creatively crowded Tokyo apartments.

  2. Jerem Morrow Says:

    Dear goat in asgard, I understand this feeling. Purged several times in my life, but I still seem to hang on to some unexplained pack rat roots.

  3. Lars Says:

    I see no problem with having tons of stuff, provided it is kept clean and easy to get about.

  4. David Forbes Says:

    I think George Carlin hit the nail on the head in this department a long, long time ago.

    It’s interesting to read this coming on the heels of Nadya’s home decorating post. Personally, while occasionally letting go of accumulated stuff is a good idea, I’ve found a better process is to find a way to make as much of it work as possible and accept some chaos.

  5. Beth Says:

    My mother is a PHN, + she does home visits. She has to kick her way through the debris in houses like this (or worse) all the time. A man who went to our church died, and some of us volunteered to help clean his house. We filled three full size roll-off dumpsters (think 16′ x 6′) with stuff. Just stuff. Old magazines, report cards, toys, junk. The place was a firehazard.

  6. j03l Says:

    Accurately categorized as Horror.. I grew up in a house almost equally cluttered (if not a bit more organized.) Both my brother and I cling to the “clean/uncluttered” decor as a violent reaction to being trapped in an antique house full of antique junk everywhere. I wonder if there’s a sort of generational tidal alternation between cluttered and non-cluttered folks, or if I’m REALLY reaching for order to the chaos here? ;)

  7. Natasha Says:

    I honestly hate having lots of stuff. I hate the question ‘what do you want?’ when it comes to holidays and birthdays. I am always telling people that if I cannot use it in some way, I dont want or need it. I have to be able to use it, wear it, eat it, read it, etc or on the fine line, it can be a piece of artwork from that person of which I will proudly display on my proclaimed ‘wall of other peoples’ art’. I clear out and give away various belongings one-two times per year. My rule of thumb is that if I cant easily pack everything I own in less than two days worth of packing (just over 24 hours) then I have too much stuff. Books however, are one item of which I don’t think anyone can own too many. I refuse to be owned by my possessions and used be fiercely sentimental. Over the years I have become less of a pack rat, and more logical in the reasons I hold onto things. And if I don’t end up using it? I find someone who CAN, and pass it along. I also hate throwing things away. If it can still be used or is still in great shape, I sell or donate it. If not, I recycle it. Did I mention that both my aunts and even my father and grandfather are like, serial packrats? Literally garages and storage units full of STUFF. My father’s garage was dubbed ‘junk mountain’, because you literally had to climb it to see the other side.