Archive for September 19th, 2014

Take a picture, it’ll last longer: Notes toward a system for reducing personal clutter

September 19, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 19, 2014

If my life — particularly my history of housekeeping — were conceived of as a battle between order and entropy, then entropy would be the undisputed champion.

Still, I’m attracted to the idea of an orderly home. Lately, I’ve even been flirting with the concept of discarding books that have taken up space in my home for years. Some of them are ones that I have read; others are unread.

I seem to attach a lot of emotions to objects, in part because I tie them to memories. When I dine alone at a bar or restaurant, if I’ve been watching a particular sporting event, I’ll sometimes write the names of the teams (and the result, if I stay until the end) on the receipt. When I pay my tab after some friendly competition, I’ll note the place I finish in the tournament. If I’ve eaten a meal with a relative or friends, I’ll jot down the relevant name or names on the receipt. The sight of these slips of paper often summon fragments of conversation, memories of what the weather was like or some other recollection about that time of my life.

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