Clutter saved their home

As a tornado ripped through a small town in Tennessee, one man’s cluttered trailer was credited with saving the home in which his family sought shelter. From the WSMV-TV article:

A Lawrenceburg man who has saved everything for years said his clutter may have saved his life.

Several homes were destroyed and many more were damaged in Friday’s tornadoes in Lawrence and Giles counties, but Bobby Massey’s family is crediting his bad habit of being a pack rat with saving their house.

I find it hard to believe that a trailer full of clutter withstood the awesome power of a tornado, but the Massey family may argue the contrary.

When the Masseys walked outside, they said the trailer packed with Bobby Massey’s stuff had stood fast and protected the house.

“That thing is loaded down with heavy stuff,” he said.”Had that trailer not been there, what do you think would have happened?” Dorsey asked. “I guarantee you, it would have leveled the house,” he said.

This is one of the first times I can admit to reading a clutter-is-good story. It definitely isn’t persuading me to change my uncluttered ways, but it is interesting. Honestly, I’d be more afraid of what would happen to all that stuff if it were directly hit by a tornado — I’d be terrified of all of the flying projectiles. What do you think? Did clutter save this man’s home?

21 Comments for “Clutter saved their home”

  1. posted by Dream Mom DBA on

    The real issue isn’t whether clutter saved his home but rather, why would anyone keep all of that stuff on the “outside” chance that if a tornado came through, it “might” save him. Kind of like saving clothes in your closet on the chance you might wear them someday or saving things in your house because you might need them someday.

    I would think more about what is happening in his life because of all of that clutter meaning, how does it impact his life on a daily basis? Is he avoiding having family and friends over because of the clutter or because they have no place to sit down? Does he get up every day energized by the clutter or depressed and overwhelmed when he sees that every day. Seems like that would be a heavier burden.

  2. posted by Jaye on

    Clutter will not prevent a tornado from ripping the roof off of a home.
    This family’s home simply was jumped by the tornado, and tornadoes do that all the time.

  3. posted by Sonia on

    I live in Tornado Alley and have lived thru many tornado seasons. Tornadoes can rip thru anything, including clutter, I have a hard time believing that when I’ve seen entire buildings picked up and put down elsewhere, including barns. It is much more likely that the tornado simply changed course more so than it “couldn’t” destroy his residence because it was so “heavy” from the clutter.

  4. posted by Ian on

    The clutter may have helped save his home, but it’s akin to the few people that are saved in car crashes by not wearing seat belts and being thrown clear of the wreckage. It happens but it’s so rare that it doesn’t even matter.

  5. posted by meg on

    still not worth it!

  6. posted by David on

    Nope, it wasn’t the clutter. It was {insert name of your diety/dieties of choice here}, luck, fate, chance, happenstance, etc.

    I wonder how much the dorms at Union University weighed?

  7. posted by Mike on

    Correlation is not causation. It was happenstance.

  8. posted by Christine on

    Pure dumb luck. That’s all it was. Like Jaye said, tornadoes jump houses all the time. There are plenty of stories out there about the one house left standing in an entire neighborhood.

  9. posted by Sarah on

    *off to start my stockpile*

  10. posted by Crystal on

    You know – I know someone who had a car accident and his car was pushed into a light pole. THe light pole ended up right in the middle of the driver’s seat area. The only reason my friend survived is because he didn’t have a seat belt on and he was thrown into the back seat before landing by the pole. It was a fluck thing, and he’s a lucky guy: but I still wear my seat belt.

    Did the clutter save the house? Who knows? But if it did, it’s just a chance happening and I am still gonna keep uncluttering my house, lol

  11. posted by karen on

    I think I’m on board with this being dumb luck. But even if the clutter did happen to save them, it would be an example of, “even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”

  12. posted by Sue on

    In Indiana, we refer to trailer parks as “Tornado Buffets”; this miss was pure luck. If the trailer had taken a direct hit, the tornado would have decluttered his life fairly effectively.

  13. posted by John of Indiana on

    Well, it’s better than hearing about somebody’s imaginary friend in the sky who spared them and their single-wide but let a mom and her 2 kids get wrapped around a utility pole in their car 1/2 a mile away…

    “I got so much crap in my trailer the teraynda couldn’t move it!”

    Uh, yeah, right. Excuse me, I have to go shovel out a closet now in the Never-Ending Job….

  14. posted by Sheryl on

    I think it’s just a way to rationalize keeping all that crap.

    “SEE! If I hadn’t kept all that stuff, the tornado would’ve gotten the trailer!”

    Please. The dearth of logic sometimes is truly incredible…

  15. posted by Dr. Nicole Sundene on

    Still clutter is just not healthy for the body! Have you posted about Chinese Medicine philosophies on clutter and Feng Shui? If not let me know and I would be happy to write about it for you.

    Healthy Home= Healthy Body

    Hurricane or no hurricane!

  16. posted by loriborealis on

    Okay – the more I watch that video, the more confused I get! I now realize that the trailer was separate from the house, they live in the house and the trailer only has clutter in it. What I STILL don’t understand is HOW did the trailer “save” the house by acting as a “fortress”?? At the beginning of the video the reporter said that they thought the trailer kept debris (ie, tree branches, etc) from flying into their home, which I guess is possible, but I still don’t know how they think it kept their house from being “leveled” as the father claimed.

    I don’t believe the weight of the clutter in the trailer would save it. And I don’t believe that a cluttered down trailer could save a house from a tornado. Like others have said, I think it was just the tornado skipping.

    Okay – I watched it AGAIN and am now wondering if they think the weight of the clutter in the trailer kept the trailer from becoming a MISSILE and leveling the house.

    I’m more confused. I give up. lol

    I still don’t think a cluttered trailer could not be picked up by a tornado, though.

  17. posted by Cliff on

    What I’m trying to figure out is if this was a good or bad thing that happened. Sure, they guys still has his trailer, but he still has all his clutter.

  18. posted by tipper lorry on

    My father-in-law’s office was destroyed by a tornado. The walls were ripped apart, and a telephone pole was driven through the remaining walls of the building horizontally, so that it looked like a ceiling beam. But his desk was untouched, with stacks of papers still on it as he had left them. My point? Tornadoes do truly strange things. So do people, including rationalizing keeping too much stuff based on the unpredictable behavior of weather phenomena.

  19. posted by lionel on

    Frome fate to providence to idiotic rationalization….
    I LOVE these comments!

  20. posted by Babs on

    I remember an article in “The Journal of Irreproducible Results” about the effect on the North American continent (it’s sinking) of all the National Geographics stashed in garages. So, yeah, I think if he had enough of the magazines he might have defied the tornadic fury.

  21. posted by Jacque on

    Love the absolute lack of “investigative” in that piece of puff journalism. As almost every other commentor has said – that was just the same kind of weird luck that you hear about EVERY time a tornado hits. Tornadoes skip, and bounce over things, trailers full of stuff or no.

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