The voice of clutter

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: February 7th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If the words “might need someday” have ever stopped you from trashing a household relic, you are listening to a voice influenced by a hundred-thousand years of hard knocks.

It’s a voice born when people had to eat everything in sight because the next hunt might not be successful.

It’s a voice that matured because our ancestors had to save anything remotely useful to survive.

Today, it’s the voice of clutter.

Old mail, forgotten books and archaic clothing clog many of our lives.

For some folks, it’s a problem rooted in biology.

Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles have used advanced imaging techniques to show that people who obsessively hoard show lower activity in the part of the brain that helps govern decision-making.

But for most people, clutter is a private problem swept under the bed when the doorbell rings.

One association of professional organizers rates household clutter on a scale of one to five. At Level Two there is a slight narrowing of household pathways.

At Level Three, T-V sets and sofas can be found outdoors.

At Level Four, people are storing paper in the oven.

Level Five means your house is uninhabitable.

If your household overflows with modern inconveniences, take heart in the knowledge that you’re not alone.

As for that inner voice that urges you to save the empty yogurt containers? It could be a sign clutter is about to enter your life. That’s just a little friendly advice, in case you need it someday.