By: Dr. Frank McGeorge, Channel 4 WDIV-TV local news
Friday, August 07, 2009
Local 4's Dr. Frank McGeorge Confronts Clutter Experts Explain Why We Hold Onto Items, How To Let Go
Local 4's Dr. Frank McGeorge made surprise visits to several families in Royal Oak and asked them to show him their clutter.
Tom Mervak and wife have two cars in their driveway that have never seen the inside of their two-car garage.
"I couldn't tell you when we ever parked a car in this garage. The garage was built for storage," said Mervak.
The Mervak's garage is filled with clutter from their six grown children and a few "antiques" of their own, including their first television from 1973.
"It still works, why get rid of it?" said Mervak.
Diane LaBuda and her husband Brian have two kids and an overwhelming amount of stuff to go along with them. They said dealing with clutter does add stress.
"Seeing it all the time is a bit exhausting. Overwhelming. You don't know what to do after a while. How to stay on top of it and how to get rid of it," said Diane LaBuda.
So why do we hang onto so much stuff? Experts said the urge to hold onto material goods begins deep in our brain.
"There's actually a lot of research showing that emotional effects are a primary reason why people hold on to items. So anxiety is a major one," said Dr. Stephanie Preston, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.
Preston has done extensive research into human and animal decision-making and said humans actually have a lot in common with squirrels.
To read the article, see the Channel 4 WDIV-TV local news website at