When Bad Clutter Happens to Good People



     People who live in clutter get a lot of bad—and misinformed—press.  Contrary to the “experts,” we do not suffer from insecurity, deprived childhoods, or (yikes!) obsessive-compulsive disorder.  After extensive research, involving the homes of myself and a couple of friends, I can demonstrate that it’s actually individuals possessing the most admirable traits who end up with clutter.  I list some of those sterling qualities here.

     A zest for life:  Clutter often is the result of an overwhelming desire to experience all that life has to offer--to do, read, see, know everything and go everywhere, to be the best cook, handyman, hobbyist, friend and relative.  The result is an overload of books, magazines, videos, CD’s, travel brochures, recipes, a pantry bristling with ingredients like jaggery and kala jeera, and closets and a garage full of craft projects, sports equipment, musical instruments, power tools and gardening supplies, most of them well-used.  Okay, some of them well-used.  Or on the verge of being used.  Soon.  We do, sadly, flit from on interest to another.  But that’s what makes life fun. 

     Frugality:  We buy necessities when they’re on sale—every time they’re on sale.  Sure, sometimes they pile up.  But cheaply.

     Boundless love for humankind—and their pets:  We hang on to every card, letter, gift, photo or other memento ever sent to us.  We would never take a chance on hurting anyone’s feelings by throwing out even one Las Vegas refrigerator magnet.  To reciprocate, we need stationery, thank-you notes, post cards, a birthday and anniversary tickler file, decorative stamps and address labels to nourish all these cherished 

Bad Clutter, page 2

connections.  We’ve now added a selection of condolence cards for the deaths of various pets.  For gerbils and hamsters, we need a whole box.

     Concern for the environment:  We plan to recycle everything.  Plastic bags and bottles and cans start to accumulate, not to mention old paint, insecticides and electronics.  Unfortunately, we misplaced the flyer with the date of the hazardous waste roundup.  

     Charity:  Perfectly good clothing, outgrown toys and older appliances need to go to the needy, as soon as we decide who needs them the most.

     Emergency preparedness:  We’re prepared for storms, earthquakes, and for sending guests home with leftovers in Tupperware.  We have extra batteries, flashlights, raincoats, not to mention nighties and toiletries for unexpected overnight guests, a few children’s books and toys--and we don’t even have children.  

     Propriety:  We may not be Emily Post, but we can still have both cream soup spoons and clear soup spoons plus bone dishes for the fish course (no home should be without them!).  We have sachets in the linen closet and antimacassars on the furniture.  No flies on us, nossir.

     So, if you’re beset by clutter, take heart.  You’re not a bad person.  You’re interesting, dynamic and attractive.  People love to be around you.  I know, because I exhibit the same qualities myself.  Now, don’t we all feel better?