EXCERPT: 'It's All Too Much, So Get It Together'

Why, sometimes even the shows themselves are all about the stuff you should buy. Like the one that comes on late at night where that guy tells you that you should definitely invest in some of his giant felt napkins, because they are just so absorbent and are going to make your life easier and less liquidy. Or that one where the lady tells you all about how you must, you must, buy this special plastic tube in which a person can cook spaghetti very easily and quickly (since it's, y'know, so time-consuming and labor-intensive otherwise?).

Stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff,

Well, no wonder you might feel a little cluttered. It's no wonder so many of us do. Wherever we look, we are told that acquiring new stuff is going to make our lives easier, happier, more exciting, and more fun. That acquiring new stuff will make us smell better and look better, will make our skin softer and our hair shinier. That we will be perfectly in shape and smiling big, bright, white-toothed smiles all the time if we just buy the right combination of appropriate products that will help us achieve all of our goals. But it's not just about getting the right products; it's about buying the right number of products. And more is always, always better. If one TV is good, then two TVs are better. And if two TVs are good, then two GIANT TVs are better. More bigger. More better. It's no surprise that we're running out of room!

But what happens when we find that we have too much stuff and begin to feel overwhelmed by it? We're told that if we just buy the right plastic boxes, or filing systems, or closet organizers, or special vacuum-bags that will enable us to pump the air out of our sweaters—or better yet a bigger closet in which to keep our sweaters!—then all our problems will be solved. And then we will all drift off into a magical dreamland where unicorns do our laundry and flying kittens make our beds. And we all live happily ever after.

The problem is that unicorns can't do laundry. Oh, yeah, and that this dream is not reality.

If having more stuff were the answer, then we'd all be thrilled already! There wouldn't be so many people suffering from anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by their clutter. But what if all the stuff is in fact causing some of the crazy problems we're trying to solve with it? What if the answer lies not in having more stuff, or even less stuff, but in having a different relationship with our stuff? What if the stuff isn't even about the stuff?

Confused? Excited? Dubious? Well then, let's get started. . . .

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