DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jul 19 2010

In Defense of Clutterbugs

by Veronica W

I know your little secret. I know it because it’s mine too. In every home, on every block, in every hamlet, village and town, there is a drawer devoted to delicious clutter. Some houses have two or three drawers and the unashamed may even have closets full of accumulated “stuff.”

When I was around 10 or 11, one of my older sisters got her own apartment. Having a serious case  of hero worship, I thought she was wonderful, especially when she took me shopping or out to eat. However, I enjoyed nothing more than going through “the drawer.” This was a slim top drawer in her dresser and it was an unending source of delight. It was full of perfume samples, assorted domestic and foreign coins, hair accessories, half empty nail polish bottles, rejected lipsticks, cough drops and mints (which tasted like the perfume samples). Mysterious tubes and tools, funny-shaped bandaids, discarded costume jewelry and countless other treasures kept me happily rummaging and experimenting for hours. Only much later did I learn  this particular sibling was a packrat and I could just as easily have rummaged in her shoe closet, her handbag closet or her kitchen pantry.  She was a devotee of clutter.

While I have not followed in her footsteps totally, I do have one of those drawers in the bathroom vanity and one in the kitchen. The vanity drawer is very much like my sister’s and the kitchen drawer defies inventory. Things you want to keep but are too small to have their own place must be put somewhere, right? Where else can you put extra soy and duck sauce packets, those plastic encased eating utensils from Wendy’s, boxes of toothpicks, egg timers, stray corn-on-the-cob holders, collapsible cups and other things too many (or trivial) to count?  Where, I ask you, where?

By now the uber organized are yelling “I’ll tell you where!” as they race through their homes, checking on the pristine order of their own drawers and closets. However all that angst is not necessary. Those folks who want to make a fresh and uncluttered start can find help. The neatly organized shelves in the library have books for anyone who wants to de-stuff their lives.  Here are just a few (in no particular order, of course):

Clutter’s Last Stand – Don Aslett

Clutter Control: Put Your Home on a DietJeff Campbell

Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff – Lori Baird (Ed.)

Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life – Gail Blanke

The Everything Organize Your Home Book: Eliminate Clutter, Maximize Storage Space and Make Every Square Foot Count -Jenny Schroedel

With all  this help, you’ll be an “uber” in no time.  You can call me if you need one of those twisty things that wrap around the plastic top of  the bread. I have bunches.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Alison W July 19, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Right before I had my twins-3.5 years ago–I went through all the junk drawers in my house (and closets and spare bedroom) to thoroughly de-junkify them, I think it’s called the nesting instinct. In any case, I have recently reached my breaking point with all the post-kid clutter and will be spending my summer vacation sorting through the accumulations of the past 3 years and restoring some order to my home!

Nolan R July 21, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Must be something about twins, because although I have spent what seems like hours ridding my house of clutter and junk, both before and since my twins were born, it just seems to accumulate in different ways and in different places. But I think having a junk drawer in the first place is a sign of hope–it beats having it all in piles on the countertop, right?

We have two junk drawers in the kitchen. One is tiny and is for the miscellaneous things that don’t fit anywhere else like leftover nails and bolts, instruction sheets, adhesive hooks, and the cheese-shredder plate for the food processor (yeah, I don’t know why that’s in there, either). The other drawer is larger and holds things we use frequently, like scissors, pens, twist-ties, etc. Both drawers contain items that would probably cause harm to my kids, so now that they are walking I really need to clean them out and find real homes for their belongings.

Thanks for the nudge to get to work.

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