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Reading about a new book by E. L. Doctorow, “Homer & Langley,” got me thinking about the clutter in my life. homer and langley

Whenever my room or my sister’s room looked particularly messy to her, my mother would stand in the doorway and say, “This place looks like the Collyer brothers.”

That was her hint the room looked pretty cluttered with books, clothes, shoes, sneakers, records (yes, I know this dates me!) and various stuff I found or collected. It was time, according to my mother, to get it put away or throw it out.

The more  my room was cluttered the harder it was to get started. It was an effort even to decide where to begin.

Accumulation creeps up even on the neatest person, as anyone will attest as they pack up an apartment or house for a move. Where did all this stuff come from?   Pick up an object that you have completely forgotten about, but holding it brings back memories of people, places and events of the past. “Should I put it in the box or get rid of it?” sometimes becomes a very hard decision if we reconnect with a strong  emotional attachment or memory.

Some people, myself included, need to create in the middle of a mess, with papers and objects strewn all over close by for reference and ideas.

But when does “good clutter” become overwhelming, debilitating, isolating? Does cluttered time mirror a cluttered space, or can the two be separate in a person’s life?

3 thoughts on “Clutter

  1. I just had a good clearing out of my house, yet again, and find that making space in my physical environment, makes room in my mental and spiritual psyche. For some reason, an uncluttered and serene environment makes me more productive in my writing.

    Some may be a holdover from watching dementia take a member of my family. Her overstuffed space physically reflected the disordered state of her psyche. In conjunction with the doctors and caregivers, we found that decluttering and clearly organizing the simple space resulting, made it possible for her struggling brain to deal with her surroundings that much longer.

    I strongly recommend the Flylady website, books, and system for anyone finding themselves overwhelmed with their belongings. Her “fling boogies” are useful for those of us overwhelmed and unsure of what needs to be kept and what doesn’t.

    Most of us have far more than we truly need. So long as you have the memories, must you really clutter your life with the reminders of the past? Let them go to make room for the future!

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