Monday, March 18, 2013

Lived in, or cluttered

While on vacation we spent some time in the evening watching cable television. This is a rare thing for us, since we don't have it at home. Wipeout is even funnier on the big screen. I nearly peed myself a couple times, restraining myself that there must be some major injuries coming out of that show. Still, they signed up for it.

The major part of the TV diet was HGTV. We got a big kick out of the Property Brothers, and international house hunters. Love it or List it was fun a few times, then got tiresome. There were a few others that were more of the same.

As some of you know, I'm a big fan of the lived in look. We live in our homes. The stuff we use daily should be close to hand. Things like the several books on the go, mobile devices, wine, cookies, that sort of thing. Art on the walls and elsewhere helps make a home comfortable. Cats especially make a home more comfortable, and cat toys make cats happy.

The one thing that became clear from HGTV is that trying to sell a home means being death on clutter. Every show said it, get rid of the clutter. Some of the homes that I thought were nicely lived in, or maybe trending a bit to the clutter side were castigated as being just this side of a catastrophe. Or a dump, which it was in a few cases. I reassure myself that all of it is staged.

Still, I've been looking around our house. The upstairs I think would be termed lived in, more or less, depending on what day of the week it is. Downstairs I've been saying is clutter. Out and out clutter. I've had to wade through it, move it, stack it, try to find stuff in it and otherwise face it. Where, exactly, is the line between lived in and cluttered? I thought most of the for sale homes on the shows, or even the new look to be unbearably sterile. That's just gross.

Our whole society is based around things. Getting more of them. Better things. Bigger things. Meaning we also need bigger houses to put stuff in. Bigger garages to store extra stuff in. Rental storage facilities for even more stuff. Our society is drowning in stuff. Clutter, most of it. I'm struggling with what to do with the pieces of it that are technologically driven. Specifically, books. We have a ton of them. Probably a metric ton. Seriously. If you gave me a few minutes to look some stuff up, I could tell you about how many, but I don't really want to know. I'me guessing on the order of 4000 books down in the basement. Some of the oldest are nearly 100 years old, and falling apart, the pages oxidizing. I doubt they're actually worth anything.

Tell me, what does one do with a complete Encyclopedia Brittanica? This is probably 5 cubic feet of high quality paper that will never be looked at again while it's in my basement. Why would I? Why would anyone? Seriously, what do people do with them?

When we had to tidy up for house painting, I moved all the CD's downstairs. I don't know how many there are. Hundreds, maybe a thousand. I don't know. Most of them are in the computer, and unless I get screwed over on some digital rights thing, those CD's will never see laser light again. It's the digital rights thing that worries me, so I'm not in a rush to get rid of them. However, in the mean time it's just clutter.

Trip souvenirs are a good source of clutter. I brought home a couple T shirts, a hat to keep the sun off my ears, a glass octopus to replace the one Celina broke. There was no end of stuff I could have brought home. At least digital photos take up no space.

My first day back to the office entailed finding it. I was moved during vacation, and I move again on Friday. Sigh. I like this office very much, and I know unless something dramatic changes, I will not like my next office much at all.

My heel and knee are very cranky today. I stretched them yesterday and did a good core workout in the evening. If I was ambitious, I'd do that tonight, but don't go holding your breath waiting for me.

It was suggested to me that the reason Curtis likes to "help" me type is that he wants to start a blog. I'm not so sure about this, and he's being coy upon being put to the question. He undoubtedly has opinions, just not sure a blog is the right forum.


  1. Maybe Curtis just wants to be your editor.

    I find my sister's home looks like a hotel suite. Really nice and stylish, but the only room that looks properly lived in is the office. My sister and her husband like the clean look. I on the other hand couldn't wait to get artwork on the walls and showcase my books and craft stuff on bookcases and shelves. I don't like clutter, but I definitely want my place to have personality.

    1. Sounds like you are walking the same line as me. I have been talking to Curtis about doing a blog, and asked him about editing. He naturally thinks that anything a human can that doesn't involve opposable thumbs, a cat can do better. I'm not sure where this goes.

  2. I love Wipeout - and kill myself laughing every.time.

    We are probably what others would consider minamilists - we've moved so many times that we know to add to our 'stuff' just means that at some time we'll have to either pack it or sell it. You get used to not having clutter around - so much so that when there is a pile of papers on the dining room table, I get antsy to pick up/tidy up! A far cry from my younger years!!!

    1. The last time I moved was the fall of 1984. It was an empty house then, and it's full now. I am trying to come to grips with what exactly is meant by clutter. Linda calls it spoor sometimes.

  3. I find that the clutter/lived in line is highly personal. Unfortunately, I'm much more comfortable with clutter than my husband and it stresses me a little when he starts throwing things away. I don't think I'm a hoarder particularly, but I do tend to want to hold on to things more than he. I think our house would be "sterile" if he had his way. Somewhere in the middle we meet most of the time.

    1. Neither of us think we are hoarders, or clutterers, but it makes both of us nervous when the other person wants to throw things away. We have evolved a system where stuff goes into a pile to be recycled or put into the garbage, and the other person gets to review it. So far so good.


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