The Curse of Clutter

by J.D. Roth

While Mom was in the hospital, Kris and I spent several hours at her house cleaning. I’ve noticed before that it’s easy to see the clutter in another person’s house, and this time was no different.

The trouble is that it’s difficult to see the clutter in your own house. Coming home from our cleaning trips, I could look around and see that there was too much Stuff around us. I could see that there was lots of stuff I could sell or give away. But I don’t know how to start.

I’ve spent the past year or so working to thin the amount of Stuff I own, and after each session, I feel like I’m down to bare bones. I know I’m not, but that’s how it feels.

Now, looking around my office, I wonder what I could part with. My personal finance books? My comic strip compilations? My comic book compilations? My music collection? I don’t know. I’m paralyzed by indecision, so I never start.

The workshop is worse. That’s my staging ground for the Stuff I’ve decided to get rid of, but which I haven’t actually been able to act upon. There are piles of books and records and who-knows-what-else sitting out there. Cleaning experts say that if you haven’t used something in a year, you should get rid of it. There are lots of things like that in the workshop, and yet I cannot pull the trigger.

Sometimes I feel like I should hire a “cleaning consultant” to come in and purge for me. Maybe Andrew or Pam would do the job for me. I’ve seen both of them ruthlessly purge clutter in the past.

Meanwhile, I’ll just sit around looking at all my Stuff.

Updated: 24 August 2008

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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