Maniacs Book Club ~ Junk ~ Alison Stewart
Report by Jennifer Sheller
You may remember Alison Stewart from MTV News in the 90’s, but recently the award winning journalist decided to take a fascinating look into “Junk: America’s Love Affair with Stuff.”
Her journey begins when her mother passes away. She and her sister take on the task of sorting through her stuff. She quickly realizes a few key concepts that we at Organizing Maniacs have heard and seen many times with our clients:
- Underestimating the time it will take to organize. Stewart recounts the 8 months it took to finish the job. A process she was confident she would be able to complete in a fraction of that time.
- The cycle of emotions that are uncovered during the organizing process. Anger, frustration, nostalgia, sadness, and hopelessness are all common during the organizing process.
- The need for help from trained professionals. Stewart relied on the expertise of a junk removal company and man she refers to as Zephyr (who was somewhere between a professional organizer and a junk expert) to help her tackle an overwhelming job.
The entire process left Stewart with questions that she now had a burning desire to answer. She put on her reporter hat and began an investigation that would take her across America as she took a deeper look into the trillion dollar junk industry and all the different perspectives surrounding it.
#1 Trash vs. Junk – Junk is something that may be useless to one person, but valuable to another.
# 2 Endowment Effect – Term coined by Richard Thaler, an idea that people attribute more value to something that they own.
#3 How to know if it’s junk – Top 10
- 10. You’ve bought a new version of it
- 9. You haven’t used it in over a year
- 8. It’s getting in the way
- 7. It’s broken and can’t be fixed
- 6. You’re embarrassed by it
- 5. You can’t remember what its purpose it
- 4. The cost of the space it takes up is more than its value to you
- 3. It has developed a strange smell, leak, or color
- 2. It is now home to woodland animals
- 1. The sight of it scares small children
#4 The key to combating junk is mindfulness – Give yourself a moment to reflect on the value of something, can really help you organize and maintain a home that you love and enjoy.