Yet where nature creates a problem, the market provides a solution. What Ritalin is to ADHD, and liposuction is to obesity, the personal-organisation industry can be to clutter. These professionals offer not just order, but also sympathy. America’s National Association for Professional Organisers speaks of ” Chronic Disorganisation”; hoarders everywhere will take comfort from those capital letters. You can imagine the advice that follows; ” Go home, take this remote-control caddy, watch an entire series of ” House Doctor”, and you should feel better in the morning”.
The clutter industry feeds the fastest-growing part of America’s commercial-property business in the past 30 years. There are now almost seven square feet of self-storage for every American. Paying more to store something than it is worth may seem doubly irrational. But it enables people to reconcile caveman clutter with modern minimalism, and allows companies to benefit from a huge business opportunity that includes inflatable salad bars, over door baseball cap organisers and motion- activated paper-towel dispensers. Since the urge to accumulate stuff is limitless, so is the scope for selling people stuff to keep it in.