If you felt a deep, nauseous tug in your guts when you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up*, perhaps you're teetering on the brink of a tidying compulsion.
I know that there's a part of me that wishes that the shipping container with all our stuff in it (currently wending the roads of America from NYC to Los Angeles) had sunk and let me start over without all those burdensome THINGS, but at least I never lived in perpetual semi-darkness because I'd "decluttered" all my lights.
Living on her own in her twenties, Charbit, now 41, continued her spartan ways, eschewing even lamps. "I would be in semi-darkness," she says.
Currently a neuroscience researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, Charbit was obsessively decluttering before the word really existed in popular culture. Google Ngram, which charts the use of certain words in book titles, shows that "declutter" first came into use in the 1970s, its popularity shooting up through the '80s, '90s, and the first decade of the 21st century. According to Oxford University Press, the term was only added to the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary in June 2015. Today, women's magazines routinely urge readers to purge; personal organizers offer to coach clients in their pursuit of minimalist perfection; earlier this year, Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which promises to help people achieve "the unique magic of a tidy home," became a bestseller. But for some people, the cultural embrace of decluttering can provide cover for more problematic behavior.
The Opposite of Hoarding [Leslie Garrett/Atlantic]
(via Unfuck Your Habitat)
*I only got as far as the part where she advises masking the words on the labels of the cleaning products in your cupboards so they won't "shout" at you
(Image: Empty Room – rework, Ian Burt, CC-BY)