Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Joy and Pain of Things

By Randy Frost

Our world is one dominated by possessions. For most of us, possessions are a source of comfort, convenience, and pleasure. But for Irene, one of the main characters in Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, they have also become a living hell. Fifteen years ago, Irene called me desperate for help. Her husband told her to clear the clutter from their home or he would leave her. She couldn't. Now she feared he would take away her children because of the state of their home. Irene was tormented by her problem. She wept as she told me her story. A bright and enthusiastic child, Irene excelled at college. She went on to complete a graduate degree and start a family with her college sweetheart. But there were signs along the way of the trouble to come. In graduate school her tendency to carry things around with her led her classmates to call her "bag lady". The clutter in her room completely hid most of the furniture. During the first few years of their marriage, the house was cluttered, but livable. Things slowly got worse, however, and after 15 years, her husband had had enough..." More

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