One Bag Nation

Blog Action Day: Reflecting on Affluence & Clutter

Posted on: October 14, 2008

Today is Blog Action Day 2008, and many thousands of bloggers all around the world will be writing about this year’s topic: poverty. I guess I’ve sort of turned the topic around here at One Bag Nation, as my post title suggests.

An enormous number of bloggers and websites are devoted to decluttering, simplifying and downsizing. It seems that many of us are overwhelmed by our stuff, so much so that it feels suffocating and paralyzing and interferes with daily life. We get to a place where we can’t stand it anymore, and the Great Decluttering begins. We have so much stuff we can throw it away!

Today, on Blog Action Day, I’m reflecting on this excess we call clutter – and reminding myself that clutter is a luxury; clutter comes with affluence; and ironically, for some, clutter tries to meet a need that stuff can never meet.

Those whose unmet needs are much more basic – clean water, adequate food, and shelter – to name a few, can’t even imagine having too much, just as it’s nearly impossible for me to imagine not knowing if I’ll have enough food for my family today.

Stress and anxiety about too much stuff seems obscene in the context of dire poverty and need, yet our stress and anxiety are real, and the consumerism that dominates our culture does nothing to help us gain perspective.

The simplicity movement gives me hope that we are waking up to another way of living, where joy and satisfaction come from what we do and whom we love and not from what we own.

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2 Responses to "Blog Action Day: Reflecting on Affluence & Clutter"

Hi Ann: Everything you say here is so true. There are people practically “drowning” in clutter while others don’t even have a roof over their heads. It also makes me think of the obesity epidemic: half of the world is dying from eating too much and the other half is dying from not having enough to eat.

It’s true. Clutter is luxury. While we’re trying to get rid of unnecessary stuff, there are people who have absolutely nothing.

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