The Clutter Conundrum

Or, The Packrat Problem

I oscillate between clutter and anti-clutter. I am particularly inclined to do this with cameras, scanners, and computers, but I seem to do it in most aspects of my life. It works like this…

I dig around in a box of something. In this example, it’s a box of chargers for camera batteries. I discover that I have lots of extras, and figure that since I have them, I should use them. So I get them out and organize them, then find a place for them. Time passes, maybe a month or three. One day I look up and see a clutter of battery chargers. So I police them all up and throw them back in their box. Ah. Much better. Time passes, maybe a month or three…

You get the idea. At the moment, I am in the anti-clutter point in the cycle. But by the end of summer, I’ll pull out a box of whatever, figure that since I have them, I should use them. And so on.

Sometimes I think the whole cycle is brought about by a certain personal boredom.

This is a cluster of cologne my wife gave me over the years. At the moment, I have them all out on the counter so I'll remember to use them, but soon the clutter will annoy me and I'll put them away in the cabinet. Then the cycle repeats.
This is a cluster of cologne my wife gave me over the years. At the moment, I have them all out on the counter so I’ll remember to use them, but soon the clutter will annoy me and I’ll put them away in the cabinet. Then the cycle repeats.
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1 Comment

  1. For me, it’s less of a cycle than a jagged but mostly upward climb from packrat to neat-and-tidy.

    Packratting is in my genetics. All of my known ancestors — perhaps due to stark poverty — kept everything they ever had, even after it was completely useless, but often found ways to repurpose broken and worn things.

    My wife — perhaps due to always living in tiny New York City apartments — has never had room to store old things for long. Unused items were always thrown out or given away. Thanks to her influence, I’m getting better about buying only what I need and sifting through the old stuff to clear it out.

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