Coping with the Clutter Crisis


From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal 24.

With the rapidly swelling population of people 65 or over, you can bet that the Clutter Crisis will intensify as elderly people strive to simplify their lives, which might include living in a smaller home. There’s been  quite a spate of stuff in the news media lately about the anti-clutter industry, probably because of the flood of new retirees.  The industry causes some clutter itself with its innumerable books, consultants and anti-clutter plastic boxes for sale.

Years ago, as my children were going off to college, I wrote a piece whose title I’ve long since forgotten for The Providence Journal about trying to get rid of stuff that had piled up over the decades. Flotsam and jetsam.

We’ve made some progress but of course more stuff has flowed into the house in the intervening years. Now we have resumed the clearing out process.

It’s mostly tedious but coming across old pictures, toys, kids’ books, etc., raises pangs of nostalgia  and regret. And you always think that a child or grandchild might be interested in keeping such items. But that’s rarely so. It’s just more stuff for the dumpster or the Salvation Army. Perhaps a few nice or at least very old pieces of furniture, a couple of pictures, especially an old oil painting or two, and a family Bible might be acceptable to the next generation but that’s about it.

So  do them a favor and get rid of as much as you can before your demise. As the song from the Thirties, says “It’s later than you think.’’