A Good Home, Humour - Kinda

The Art of Clutter

It’s been a hectic time in our family, and a bout of decluttering hasn’t helped. So, early this morning, husband, older daughter, son-in-law and I mused about Marie Kondo and the current decluttering fad she’s part of. 

We concluded that there’s another way to see this – a kind of anti-Marie Kondo system. So we created it. Useful? I’m not sure. But it should make you smile, perhaps in recognition. We call it:


Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea pink cup and saucer

1) Acquire a space. You’ll need it.

2) Location, location, location. The space must be located where you will visit it often.

3) Easy access is essential to collecting stuff. Don’t block your path to success — er, excess. Remember, your plan is to fill the space with stuff. And remember also that you’re playing a long game — over-accumulation takes time. 

Blog Photo - Old Blanket

4) Start collecting stuff NOW. It’s important to take that first step. As we’re heading into Christmas, surely you need some more Christmas plates to add to the several sets you already have. 


5) Identify sources of stuff. The Shopping Network, eBay, Etsy, Kijiji, Costco, Homesense, Dollarama, garage sales, antiques shops and auctions are great sources of stuff.  So are friends, by the way. When they declutter their homes, it’s an opportunity to further clutter yours. Cultivate and nurture these relationships.

6) Identify other things you’d like. It could be everything. But be sure to identify them. You don’t want to forget and miss an opportunity to acquire more stuff that you don’t need.

7) Think bigger. You may think because the horizontal spaces — shelves, floors, and surfaces of furniture — are full, that you’ve run out of space. Do not be fooled! Think vertical. Pile things on top of things, boxes on top of boxes. Look for bare spots too. A bare spot is an exciting new opportunity. 

8) Do not give away your stuff. Treasure your treasures. You never know when you — or your children or grandchildren or great-grands, or friends — will need them.

9) Defend your stash. Fend off all comers and detractors. People who want your stuff or criticize your accumulative instincts are the enemy. And remember #4: you are collecting what you like. It’s your shield and your sword.

10) Recognize that this is an important part of your legacy, and the bigger the legacy to your loved ones, the better.  So, when the current space is verifiably, absolutely, full and cannot take another sliver of anything, be sure to acquire more space and fill it with stuff. It’s your gift to your heirs and to the world.

Of course, if I followed all that advice above, my own family would kill me! Happy day, everyone. Hope we made you smile.

57 thoughts on “The Art of Clutter”

      1. I have the same excuse on my end, but I am getting to the age where the road ahead is shorter than the one behind me, and it is a fine line between the useful junk pile and plain clutter that those down the road will have to clean up. I keep waking up on the correct side of the ground though, so I have felt no hurry to decide the fate of my junk pile, just yet. 🙂

  1. Oh, Cynthia, I am not a collector, but I still do a clear out every now and again and I’m surprised how much stuff even I can collect. It’s appalling, and your blog has made me want to get at the big closet again. BTW, this isn’t judgmental; enjoy your space!

      1. Recently, I read an article in the Washington Post about a couple who opened up their house to all their friends and neighbors one day and asked them to take something they liked. They had to downsize from a house to an apartment and it worked wonderfully. Of course, you’d only have things out you were willing to part with! In between reading your blog and answering this comment, I have cleaned out the closet again…Not sure what I would do if I had more space, but so often now, I see something and then I think, “Where would you put that? What will you get rid of to make room?” or if it’s seasonal, “where will you store that?” I might have been different given, oh, say an attic…

  2. Pack it, stack it, rack it. Or not. To each his/her own. As I tell my kids, “You do you.” Enjoyed this as I sit surrounded by far too many books, papers, files, and organizers. But, it’s all good.

  3. Thanks for the laughs and sage advice Cynthia. If I ever go over to the dark side, I know who to call. I’ve always been a neat nut who loves to declutter. Long before Marie made it popular, I was helping friends declutter. Maybe we can have a clutter contest with you accumulating and me purging! Happy Hoarding! 🙂

  4. Laughing pretty hard, Cynthia. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! May your clutters grow to immense proportions. –Curt

  5. Oh thank you for the grins and chuckles! I severely downsized five years ago and thought I was doing well! Never minimalist but pretty neat and tidy. However…it’s about books. They sneak into my purse; they must slide in under the door. There are small stacks on the dresser and the coffee table. The bookcases are full. It must be time to do the Kondo exercise, but I’m not sure I can! Maybe next week.

  6. I downsized about sixteen years ago. I was moving cross country and had a serious but funny conversation with my daughter and realized all that stuff I’d saved over the years was not nearly as important to her as I had thought. 🙂 Once, I got rid of it, if I add something I try to get rid of something. Yesterday, I hauled an SUV full of bags of clothes I haven’t worn in years to Goodwill. I always feel relieved when I drop stuff off because the reality is a lot of adult children aren’t enamored with their parents ‘stuff.’ Hard to believe but true. 🙂

  7. I like your thinking! Move over Marie Kondo, there’s a new sage in town. I must have sensed your wonderful method when I bought yet another vintage oven dish last week to add to the stack already in the cupboard.

  8. I did giggle a lot reading this post, Cynthia! We are trying to de-clutter and it is SO DIFFICULT! Fortunately I really don’t like ornaments and knick-knacks and love to see clear, easy-to-dust shelves. However……. don’t dare open any cupboard door because you could be engulfed by heaps of ‘stuff’ just waiting to ooze out all over the place!
    I cannot give away anything that someone has gifted me no matter how much I hate it. I would feel so guilty! I cannot get rid of lots of books that are special to me – and so many of them are! I have loads of things that could ‘come in useful one day’. Ugh!
    Mum has told me she has thought about getting rid of a lot of her hoarded things but she feels tired just thinking about it. She has decided to leave it all to me to deal with after she has gone. How generous is that!

  9. I also have definite packrat tendencies, inherited from my grandpa, so I can relate! I recently moved and told myself I was going to use it as an opportunity to have less cluttered shelves…and then bought a bookcase to exclusively fill with knickknacks (in addition to my four bookcases full of books!). Old habits die hard.

  10. You are hilarious!;) Yes, every surface here is covered I invite people over so I have to move and uncover things so we can sit and see each other over the mounds. Totes are stacked in closets and walls and to tops of all cupboards are holding some treasure. I have been trying for 5 years to let go of things and somehow, with each person in my family coming to stay a short time or longer, I wind up with more than I purged in the first place. I know it grows in the night with gremlins borrowing from somewhere to make it even more cluttered. I loved Marie Kondo. So sweet, but who is she kidding. It never stays nice because life is full, just like my closets. Thanks for the giggle. I’ll keep trying with the purging too.

  11. It’s a challenge when you actually really like so much of your stuff, isn’t it? I have begun to “divest” here myself … a challenge to be sure – but I think I’ve already taken your advice somewhere in my past (at least here and there). 🙂 Sigh.

  12. There’s so much pretty stuff in the world it’s a challenge not to collect it!!! I do practice an element of de-cluttering, I do like a good tidy up, but I still have far too many things….

  13. Cynthia, your post has me smiling away and I love how it’s against the current trend of minimalism! Even if you’re writing slightly tongue in cheek there is a lot of truth in it. Particularly about keeping things that make one smile, holds special meaning, memories. Having spent a few months this summer helping a friend downsize from a large house to a smaller one I am more than aware of the heartache of giving away, throwing away yet she moved with all her most precious items, found space for them. Not cluttered rather a warm and most interesting new home! Oh, I love the Christmas plates – what a great idea!

  14. Your post gave me such a laugh because I can so relate to it. You might want to add that a basement, attic, shed and barn with a loft are important to consider when you start your collection of clutter, no they really are treasures. Unfortunately my husband had me leave most of my stuff, things and treasures behind when we moved to Florida to a house that had none of the above. ☺️

  15. I love your different attitude to clutter – a self-help book and TV show to rival Marie Kondo are a necessity I think!

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