There is a story about a man who needed time out from his extremely busy life to seek spiritual comfort. He entered a monastery for a few days and, as one of the monks showed him into his rather spartan cell, the monk said, 'If you need anything, let us know and we'll teach you how to live without it'.
This is probably my favourite quote of the week and comes from Philip Yancey's book Prayer.
What is it with us that we need all this stuff? We are positively suffocated by it and it seems to be winning the space war. Some interesting from The Australia Institute's website (www.tai.org.au) are below. Of course, they all refer specificially to Australia.
88% of all homes have at least 1 cluttered room
the average is 3+ cluttered rooms
the spare room is the most cluttered
Victoria has the most cluttered homes
houses are worse than units
4/10 Australians are anxious, guilty or depressed about their clutter
1/3 are embarrased by it
older people have the most clutter but care the least about
many buy stuff to deal with their stuff and add on extra rooms to fit it in
1/8 have moved house to accommodate the extra stuff they do not need
In 2004 the average Australian household wasted $1226 on purchases they never used. This equates to $10.5 billion across Australia – more than the Australian government expenditure on universities and roads at the time. Cutting this would protect mortgagees against against a .75% rise in interest rates.
Why do we do it to ourselves? No doubt there many individual reasons but I wonder if one reason is that we are not very balanced people. It is as if we have a gap at the centre of our beings which we are constantly trying to fill.