Is America the most cluttered country in history?

Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash

Alas, spring is in the air, and with the season comes the awakening desire to tackle all that clutter we’ve stowed in the garage and in drawers and under desks and in closets. It’s a never ending battle. If you don’t deal with it, clutter gathers like dust.

There must be more clutter in America than in any country in history. While driving to the re-cycle center I began thinking how clutter is really a luxury. It’s a symbol of our wealth and success. Think of the efficiencies required for impoverished people to raise a family in a two room house. There is simply no room for all this baggage we store.

Our refrigerators and freezers are so large that as much food often goes bad as gets eaten. This simply doesn’t happen in rural Mexico, Haiti or Pakistan.

As a writer I’ve developed the bad habit of believing “someday I will use that article” or that folder of notes, doodles, ketchup labels, or whatever. As an artist, too, it gets difficult to let go of the rest of this debris, because it does glisten and glitter so, and might be useful in some creative construct somewhere down the road. And these rocks, wires, pens, notebooks…

Worse still, my mother is a clutterbug and my brothers share the trait, so the battle appears to have potentially deep genetic origins. Whether by nature or nurture, a case could be made that I should be excused for these tendencies.

Let it be known I am not excusing myself. The battle cry has been raised, and I’ve taken my stand. To the wonder of many my desktop at work made an appearance one day and remained partially cleared for several weeks. There were no mags on the floor and amazingly the cleaner office did not hinder my productivity.

On the home front, well… I don’t have old eight-track tapes tucked away. Little by little I’ll chip away, and occasionally get my gumption up to fling a few things into the trash. If it feels good, I’ll do it again. Like shedding pounds, it’s not the binge diet that wins but the lifestyle change that makes a difference.

Sometimes you find things you hadn’t seen in a while.

In the end, if we don’t deal with it, someone else will have to. As we know all too well, you can’t take it with you.

Recommended Readings

Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
Interview with Eddy Gilmore, author of Emancipation of a Buried Man

Or simply do your own Google search and fire up your motivation with whatever stokes you.

Originally published at a couple springtimes ago.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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