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San Francisco Chronicle: Control Your Clutter in Six Weeks

July 29, 2009


By Kyran Pittman

It’s Friday afternoon when my phone rings. Good Housekeeping is looking for a writer for a piece about clutter.

Do we have any problems on that front? Can I send photos?

We do, and I can — once our Internet service is back on. Seems our bill was buried by the drift of paper that covers our dining room buffet like snow on a high mountain, and it never got paid.

“I’m your gal,” I tell the editor. “I’ll e-mail you some pictures on Monday.”

Over the weekend, I take snapshots. It’s handy to have three sons to blame for the toys and clothes that roam freely. However, it doesn’t explain the cardboard boxes, stacked two and three deep, in the bedroom, mudroom, and living and dining areas.

We’ve been in our house six months and unpacked the necessities, but the leftover boxes are full of photos, memorabilia: things from our past that we aren’t sure belong in our present. Worse, we keep piling on other homeless items — from old electronics to wall art, sleeping bags, you name it — that we haven’t found a place for yet. It’s the clutter of indecision.

The editor is convinced by my photos, which is a mixed honor, like being chosen for a makeover. I’m excited about getting to “after” but embarrassed to have qualified for “before.”


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