Thursday, November 4, 2010

Accumulation and its Discontents

With all these shows coming out recently about hoarding, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has taken a look around their apartment and wondered where they fall on the scale of "chronic disorganization."

After having lived in a new space each year for 3 years during college, moving out of my childhood home into a new house during my first year of college, and then moving out of that house and into an apartment with my boyfriend just after graduating, I think I have become pretty adept at keeping my possessions pared down to things that I really need, love, or cherish. I clean out my closet at least four times a year, and I try not to buy new books until I've read and donated or sold a bunch of my old ones. I used to only buy DVDs once I had seen a movie and knew it was a new favorite. And I haven't bought a DVD in at least 3 years. I pared down my CD collection years ago and it now barely occupies two short shelves in a cabinet in my living room.

Perhaps I am a perpetual anti-hoarder. I am constantly getting rid of things (and some of my boyfriend's things, oops!). I also carefully plan the things I am going to buy, considering where it will go and how it will be used and how often. Oftentimes I decide I want something and don't end up buying it until months later, even if it is not expensive, that is how much consideration goes into the things I acquire.

So when I stumbled upon this article on the New York Times website about an artist exploring our obsession with "stuff" and the comforts and anxiety it can give us, I was fascinated. The article explains her ideas much better than I can here, but she has interesting things to say about agoraphobes, the urge to collect things, and the emotion tied into simple objects. Plus, the photos of her own apartment are beautiful.

See it all here.


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