Simplifying, Or How My Clutter Owns Me

Assistant Village Idiot has a short post on simplifying possessions. It’s really no more than a note of how one task has inspired him to another.

But for me, it’s an emotional issue. He speaks of getting rid of perhaps 50-100 books, and how his children will not curse him for this decision. He is implying they will be grateful.

I left a comment there, expressing the comfort that being surrounded by books gives me… and expressing the discomfort I’ve felt after having sold books I wish I still had. I acknowledge obliquely that I am a packrat.

Whether I am the blessed recipient or helpless victim of items beloved deceased individuals have put into my possession… I’m not sure. I certainly can’t quite keep up with them even if they are so small as snapshots. When the items are furniture, machines, keepsakes, collections… there’s a space problem as well.

Books are a special problem for me. I have, without doubt, absolutely worthless books on my numerous bookshelves and in piles in various not-so-out-of-the-way places.

My fondness, love, attraction, addiction to these printed and physical items might be related to my love/hate relationship with digital everything.

While I have physical prints of my children and grandchildren worthy of framing that have been framed and which I cherish, there are those snapshots not necessarily worthy of framing which mean so much to me. There are the “action” shots where personality shines, but the composition isn’t ‘artistic’ or even pleasing. Yet, the expression on the child’s or adult’s face is timeless and worthy of remembrance.

Sometimes that snapshot captures an essence that ‘art’ does not.

So… where am I going with this post? Mostly, it’s that my children and grandchildren are going to have to deal with a lot of junk to get a 3-dimensional image of who I am. And… that while it may not be easy, it will be – I hope – enlightening in some way.

5 thoughts on “Simplifying, Or How My Clutter Owns Me

  1. I can relate…Now imagine an entire family of packrats. Most of the guides on decluttering are written for women’s magazines to benefit their advertisers: ie: get rid of soemthing you haven’t worn in a year. This ensures that you will keep buying clothes, etc. I use the stuff I keep. My daughters wear (and pounce with glee on) clothes I saved from when I was younger and thinner. I collect stuff like cookbooks and cookware and camera equipment. And the books….

    Not enough space tho.

    And I do wiish there was a way to get rid of all the papers without sorting thru them…:) I also wish that the US Postal Service didn’t survive on junk mail. THe mountain of garbage I get every day. I routinely lose bills and important mail amidst the junk.

  2. oh yeah… an entire family of packrats. My children are much older than yours I think, but… they have left things here that I cannot bear to discard. Nutcracker videos! Boyfriends that oh so did not make the cut. Will their children have the ability to view them? How much should I spend transferring 8 mm movies of their grandparents when they were young?

    Does it matter?

    Junk mail, now that could be an entirely separate post. Some of it is just strange. For the past 20 years, we’ve been throwing away AARP ads addressed to one daughter who is not even close to old enough to even think about joining.

    Bottom line is that I am comforted by my clutter… photos, books, trinkets, cards…

  3. Well I suppose your children can put up with it… :-) It’ll be a trip down memory lane! Or as far as those boyfriends go, a trip down “aren’t you glad you didn’t keep dating him….”

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