True confession—this is what my outer chaos looks like most days.
Ever since I started this blog a year ago, I’ve been drowning in books, papers, and sticky notes. I find myself researching a wide array of sources and don’t want to lose track of important thoughts. My aim is to pull ideas together in new ways. That seems to mean I have to amass a of ideas before I can recombine and distill them. It’s a messy process, but that’s how I work.
Recently I became aware that the volume of idea clutter had become overwhelming. It was no longer helpful. It was causing me stress.
In a BBC viewpoint article about the hazards of too much stuff, trend forecaster James Wallman describes an American study documenting what most of us already know—that we have a lot of things in our houses.
According to Wallman, 2 out of 3 people wish they had less stuff. These people are experiencing what he calls stuffocation—an intriguing word that describes the feeling of drowning in stuff. Not surprisingly, the resulting clutter crisis leads to mental stress, which causes physiological symptoms such as elevated cortisol levels. In this way, the mental stress of excess damages our physical health.
I’m with him until he proposes that we solve the problem of excess stuff by spending our money on experiences instead of things. Continue reading →