Friday, September 24, 2010

Clutter's Last Stand

Fly Lady is helping me with how to de-clutter and Don Aslett in Clutter's Last Stand is radically altering my thinking on what I need to not have. You can order a used copy from Amazon for under $3 plus shipping. Or, instead of buying it, you can read a little here. He talks about junkees who have junk bunkers for their stuff. Here are a few quotes from Aslett:

  • Why wait until clutter has choked you to death before casting it off?
  • "But these things are valuable," you say? What about the value of the life and time to store, to clean, to insure, to transport, to protect--what does that cost?
  • Remember, it's not just "Is it faster or neater?" but "How often will I use it?"
  • School teachers, too, are right in the running for the Junk World Series. (LOL, I'm a retired teacher who substitutes and thinks I might need some of my junk when I sub.)
  • Junk doesn't generate self-esteem or fulfill our ambitions--only we can do that. "Owning" is like theory, totally worthless if not put to use.
  • The secret is to assemble the most meaningful documents and materials, prune them down [into scrapbooks or write a book as I did].                                     
  • Leaving junk to a family is often more an act of revenge than of love. It's pathetic how families are broken apart, divided into a mass of quarreling maniacs squabbling and suing over dead people's junk. . . Don't burden someone else with your junk. Spend it, give it away, sell-it--don't leave for heaven with it. Cash in your clutter before you crash--start at age forty-five just to be safe.
  • Most of us wear only about 20 percent of the clothes in our closets.
  • Anything that crowds the life out of you is junk. Anything that builds, edifies, enriches our spirit--that makes us truly happy, regardless of how worthless it may be in cash terms--isn't junk.
  • De-junking is a true miracle that will happen to you; and I guarantee it's the best anti-depressant going.
In the last chapter Asletts quotes Matthew 6:25, 28-29; Ecclesiastes 5:10  and Ecclesiastes 3:1-6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

I have a poem from chapter nine in my book that I rap for good classes when I subsititute and last week in one class the students who knew I was working on a humorous speech on clutter (but clutter's not funny) suggested I write a new rap on the clutter of us old people. Mind you, some of them have cluttered bedrooms, they say, but our generation introduced houses with more storage and holds on to old technology. Yesterday the high school students enjoyed it. It is in draft form here, and I have yet to memorize it and polish it for the rap. It is written from the viewpoint of a young person.

Grandma and Grandpa
Mom and Dad
Can we have this discussion
Without repercussion?
We know you might be busy
But some of your junk might be risky
And you are stuck
With the junk
In the trunk
Bins, baskets and boxes galore
Mucho papers might ignite
A horrible eye sore
Get it out and take a peek
We know this will take
More than just a week
No more shoulder pad
Move to a new fad
And all the vests you had
Junk just makes us mad
The world is now digital
No more rigid you all
Slides no longer square and small
Slides on Power Point that’s all
Put your books on Kindle
Just make DVDs a rental
No more overhead projector
An Elmo we expect director.
Old technology is all junk
Old technology smells like a skunk
Get you some spunk
Get rid of that junk
Get rid of that mail
Have a garage sale
To fund our education
So we can help the nation
Call yourself mature?
Saving stuff is not a cure
Want less to dust for sure?
Junk is like manure
All this clutter
Makes us sputter
But, if we can help you
Make the house look new
Then no more clutter
Will make us sputter
Grandma and Grandpa
Mom and Dad
Can we have this discussion
Without repercussion?


  1. Love it!!
    I know what you mean about passing on the junk. I helped clean house with an elderly friend when his wife passed away and everything was neat and clutter free such a breeze to sort out. Now me, if I die any day soon will leave a night mare for my darlings!

  2. Yes, de-cluttering is better than medication. It makes for a healthier mind and easier to clean and find things in the home.....
    Actually, it becomes addictive.....which is a good thing, I think.

    Hoping all is well in your home today!

  3. Love the rap!

    I'm going to have to read that book. You've got lots of good quotes here! I'm working on decluttering clothing now. It's is amazing how my husband and I wear the same things over and over, but have an overstuffed closet.

  4. I hear you Beth! My clothing to go in the garage sale is on the pool table, actually on the pool table cover. The clothes that are left in the closet, if I don't wear them in a year are out the door and any new clothing to come in means something has to go. The students again today when I substituted liked this rap. Now I have to refine and memorize it so I do a good job of rapping.