If there ever comes a day when clutter becomes an art form, I’ll be considered a pioneer. My home will win awards. I’ll be part of the clutterati and may even make the cover of Better Homes and Garbage.
It’s not food that I leave around. Food is always put away and the dishes are done before bedtime. No, edibles are not my medium of choice. I prefer to work in paper.
Bills, magazines, junk mail, coupons, notebooks, notebook paper, and pens. Lots of pens. I buy them by the pound. I don’t want to give the impression that in order to cross the room I have to carve out canyons between mountains of old newspapers and Fingerhut catalogues. That’s hoarding. Clutter means I’ve accumulated at least the bare minimum amount of paper “stuff” to cause me to trip over things a lot.
The thing about paper is that in order to keep it under control you have to handle each and every single piece and make a decision whether to throw it away, shred it, save it or make an airplane out of it. Three of those four require the additional effort of having to file what I keep, an exercise I enjoy about as much as scraping my teeth on the sidewalk.
To my credit, the majority of the clutter has been confined to one specific area, the one formerly known as the dining room table. Even though I can’t actually see the top of it anymore, I know it’s there. The six chairs that came with it still outline the location where it was last seen.
While the table has been re-purposed, the chairs have not fallen into disuse, however. I now use them to catch any papers that fall off the table. When they reach their full capacity and the overflow lands on the floor, I take immediate action. I pick up the runaways and put them back on the table where they belong, taking great pains to make sure that the pile is stable and won’t slide off the table should I happen to wink.
Supermarket receipts are an inexpensive, yet plentiful source of my favorite medium. I don’t have to buy much, either, to get a lot. I just go to the Day Old shelf, buy a half-eaten croissant and head home with a receipt longer than my inseam. I hang onto these receipts because on the back are coupons—in color—for products I’ll never use, but think I might. If only I could remember to bring them with me before they expire. This collection is on display in the kitchen in an area that was at one time the counter.
Magazines, of course, are in the living room library. On the floor. This makes them easily accessible for anyone who is sitting down, whether they want to read or just feel like tossing more kindling into the fireplace. I love spending time in here.
Yes, I’ve learned to accept and embrace my clutter. It’s now my art. My life. I’ve insured my hands for tens of dollars. Tours of my home are available Thursday, Friday and Saturday running from 10am to 4pm. And please, don’t forget to stop at the gift shop.