Hoarder Than It Looks: Four Types of Clutter to Get Rid ofNow


Portland author Rick Emerson definitely does not have hoarding issues. The Portland author stopped by to share four types of clutter to clear right now.

Hoarder Than It Looks: Four Types of Clutter You Should Get Rid ofNow

1) Things You Somehow Acquired in Bulk

Let’s be clear about something: I am not a sommelier. (I don’t even really know what that word means. I assume it’s the guy who comes around and says, “would monsieur prefer white or red with his tater tots?”, but I’m not sure.)

One thing I do know: There’s a limit to how many corkscrews one man actually needs. I have five (count themfive) of these things, and I have no idea why. (Fun Fact: I don’t drink. At all.)

It’s possible that I’ve discovered some new form of alien life, and my drink-related cutlery is reproducing when I’m out weeding the garden or whatever, but that seemsunlikely.

(And this isn’t an isolated incident. At one point, I discovered that I owned three separate ice-cream scoops.)

The best and/or worst part? All of this stuff was actually just sitting on my utensil shelf, which is mounted on the kitchen wallmeaning that I saw it, like, fifty times a day. And yet, I never noticed it until last week. That’s both weird and vaguely unnerving, especially when you consider that the state allows me to drive a car.

Take a moment, try to see your house as a place you’ve never been, and there’s no telling what will turn up.

2) Things You’re Never Actually Going to Fix

See if this sounds familiar: “No, nokeep that. I’m going to fix it.”

This is a lie. This is always a lie. The only time this isn’t a lie is when your name is followed by the words “Depression-Era Grandfather”.

I have two fully-functional printers in my home office. They work. They work without any issue. And yetI had this broken (as in, useless) printer sitting in my kitchen (right underneath the corkscrews, actually) for at least a year.

Why? Because the guy across the street was selling it for five dollars, and I somehow confused myself with Thomas Edison.

Here’s an even better example: A watch I’ve been keeping so I can “work on it”:

You don’t have to be a Swiss engineer to assess the odds that I will ever, ever do more than curse at this pile of metal shards.

I can’t speak for women, but I think that for a lot of men, this is the same instinct that leads us to keep a box of stale Mallomarsor two cans of bacon-flavored kale (or whatever). The idea that someday, the stores will be gone, and my Mallomars and a broken printer will keep me alive. (Or that someone is bound to give me a soldering gun at some point, so I should keep as many broken appliances on hand as possible.)

Give yourself a deadline: If something is still here (and not repaired) within two weeksit goes away. Somebody will want itespecially if you throw in the kale.

3) Things You Forgot You Even Owned

Here’s something I actually said out loud the last time I went into my garage: “Oh, right – I have more couches.” (Not even a couch.but “more couches”, as in, multiples.) This is especially impressive when you consider that couches are, you knowlarge.

Again, I’m not sure why I’ve got two extra couches, especially when I’ve got two couches already. It’s not like I’m going to build a bed-and-breakfast on the roof of my house.

There’s no photo of the additional couches because they’re largely hidden by a wall of other stuff.

As with the multiple corkscrews, this is mainly unnerving because it makes you wonder “what else have I forgotten about?” For all I know, I’ve got another car in there somewhere. (Sometimes, I think the phrase, “this is why they hate us” should be modified to, “I’m why they hate us.”)

So, on my agenda for June: Get rid of the extra couches, no matter what.

Keep this rule in mind: If you’ve forgotten you even own something, you might not actually need it. Act accordingly.

4) Things You Actually Denied Owning

Within the past month, I have told two different people, including you [Helen], “Well, I’m not really much of a shoe guy.”

Here is a partial photo of my shoe collection:

This is only the Chuck-Taylor portion of my (apparent) shoe problem. I could show you the rest, but it would just be embarrassing.

In my own (very limited) defense, I don’t think I actually purchased the day-glow violet pair, but that’s not much of an excuse. And it gets worse: I actually found two more pairs of shoes that I had purchased, brought home, put in the closetand then completely erased from my own memory.

So: either Ambien has opened a late-night shoe store near my home, or I was in total denial about my own possessions. Either way, somebody (probably multiple somebodies) needs another pair of shoes more than I do, so that’s on the clean-out list.

Variations on this syndrome include the Simpson/Flanders dynamic, in which large portions of your stuff turn out to be things you’ve actually borrowed from other people.

The moral of the story: It’s easy to lose track of what you own, so set aside some time to check. (Also: Apparently nothing I say can be trusted.)