Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Maybe it's a sign of tough economic times, but I see more and more ads for people offering to help me de-clutter my house and/or my life. I think this is the hip new occupation of the post-employment era.

But why on earth would I want that? Clutter keeps me grounded ... literally. If I got rid of the clutter, my house would surely float away. More importantly, clutter is my life. It is the embodiment of memories ... the tangible reminder of every trade show booth I ever paused at, every fast food joint and paid parking lot I ever patronized, every napkin I ever re-purposed as a notepad (or a Kleenex.) I'm not sentimental, but those 1987 menthol cough drops still pack a punch, and you never know when some computer museum is going to need access to TOPS-10 manuals.  Old business cards make great note paper. And who doesn't reuse paper clips and zip lock bags?

But it's not just the professional organizers. There are whole workshops and courses for those who want to be educated in the art of minimalism. For some reason, clutter has become a crime in the eyes of society. It's up there with smoking and public cell phone use as anti-social behavior. Lengthy newspaper articles are written about the pathology of hoarders, and whole books have been published about strategies for dealing with clutter (of course, after first overcoming the psychological resistance.) Why don't people understand? I LIKE STUFF!!

There. I said it. I'm an unrepentant hoarder. It broke my heart to have 1-800-GOT-JUNK haul away decades of treasures from my boyhood home (especially having to pay them $1500 to do it!) There were a lot of memories in that house, even if most of them were better left undisturbed. Fossilized tubes of Clearasil and orthodontic rubber bands. My driving manual. Band-Aids signed by friends. (I never broke anything, so I never had a cast.) Closets full of bell-bottoms and Nehru shirts that will be back in fashion any day now (though I'd need some amputations to fit in them.)


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