All That Clutters is Not Gold
At a birthday party last week, I met a professional unclutterer. I didn’t know there was such a thing, but as an antiques dealer for the past two decades, I should have guessed. I am, as is my ilk, a professional accumulator; clutter is our métier. You read about us when we pass on, usually intestate, and a back hoe is brought in to remove 40 years of newspapers from the living room. If there is any clarity or order in our living spaces, it is because we possess (or rent) vast amounts of storage space. This is our secret, and we regard these areas with a mixture of awe and dread, like an archeologist would an ancient tomb. A trip to storage, for me at least, is a bit of an Indiana Jones-like adventure. Large crates must be moved to uncover the doors to the unit, followed by climbing around, through, and over obstacles to gain access to the inner reaches and upper levels. Removing a desired object often requires bringing an object of approximately equal weight and putting it down just so, then running like hell to avoid falling debris. This is an exaggeration, of course, but not a fabrication, and I have the scars to prove it.
So, back to the professional unclutterer. The woman I saw at the party was tall and statuesque, as well she should be, with a deep and sonorous voice. I see her as a cross between Hazel and Van Helsing, and I imagine her skill set including psychoanalysis, Zen Buddhism, weightlifting, and exorcism. Merely cleaning out the offending apartment or storage unit is not enough, we would fill it back up again in short order. No, the root problem is internal, deep in our collective collecting unconscious–hence the need for professional assistance. In the spirit of purging, and, not incidentally, paying rent, I have been digging through storage for the past few weeks, without the aid of an unclutterer. I’ve even unearthed some treasures, such as a trove of photos and photo-cards, which will be the subject of two future posts. I’ve made significant headway in sorting, organizing, and disposing of the stuff I’ve encountered. Maybe I’ll take a trip down to Strand tomorrow. What’s the harm in one or two books? I can stop whenever I want.