When you hear the word hook what do you immediately think of? Okay, in addition to fish what word comes to mind? What about seize, fasten, or hold? Hook implies getting stuck or drawn into something. In literature, a hook is what draws you to pick up the book or read a story. In advertising it is what causes you to purchase a product or service. Given these examples it is reasonable to assume that if we have lots of stuff, there are lots of hooks in us. Here are some examples:
- The seductive store display that says “Buy two, get one free.” (even though you only intended to buy one)
- A friend who gives us a gift with the words, “When I saw this I thought of you.” (and you think that it is hideous)
- A relative that brings us a piece of furniture and says “I don’t have room for this but it should stay in the family.” (you don’t have space for it either)
- A colleague who gives us a desktop sorter and states “This is a lifesaver in keeping my desk organized.” (your desk is functional for your needs)
So would you keep the stuff or delete it from your space? In most cases, the person feels compelled to keep the item because it was a great deal or they are afraid to offend someone.
Visualize the following: a fishhook in your body for every time you have bought or received an item that you couldn’t use or didn’t like. How many hooks? How many more hooks do you think you will have if you maintain your current habits? I’m thinking things are getting pretty uncomfortable! So are you ready to get unhooked? Dictionary.com defines unhook in several ways: to unfasten or open by undoing or to detach by or as if releasing a hook. Whew, if you are covered by stuff hooks, I would think that unfastening or detaching would be quite a relief! Melody Beattie asks the following question: “What are the words, the signs, the looks, the hints, the cues that hook us into a predictable, and often self-defeating behavior?” I challenge you to ask yourself that question and then detach yourself from one such behavior today!
Need help changing some of your stuff accumulation habits? Find out how Minding Your Matters can help!