Firefly Books, 2010, $39.95
The title is slightly misleading. It’s not so much about how to de-clutter or how to deal with clutter as it is about storage options in modern design. It’s a beautiful book, very thick at 799 pages, with gorgeous, full-colour photos on every page. It’s organized in useful sections on kitchens, home offices, bedrooms, hallways and more.
Looking through this book of “practical storage solutions for reducing annoying clutter” makes me agree that they’re possible if you have a million dollars and can renovate your whole house. It also made me realize that the real problem with clutter is not a lack of storage. We already know about all the wonderful possibilities. There are boxes and bookcases and open and closed storage pillars to put your stuff in! Units on wheels! Doors and sliding panels to shut on the clutter! Surfaces and furniture that can do double duty! Built-in, concealable desks!
This book shows clean, streamlined built-ins and furniture of modern design with not a single thing on any surface. One kitchen island unit with sink and faucet, I swear looks like a place to perform an autopsy. I couldn’t live in this kind of environment. It’s too sterile, cold and hostile for me. It’s full of show rooms, not living rooms. Some clutter or objects in a room are cosy.
The problem with too much clutter, the kind that junks up your space, makes it difficult to do things or embarrasses you when people visit, is the emotional reasons that make it hard to deal with. First, it’s overwhelming. You don’t know where to start. You’re attached to too many things. You have too many different collections, and too many items in those collections. Some things could be valuable some time. You might need or want them some time.
Then there’s the domino effect, of how clutter is connected and linked together and backed up somehow. You can’t clear this tabletop without clearing the cupboard that the table things should go in, and you can’t clear out the cupboard because those things have to go in boxes for your yard sale or the reuse centre, but you don’t have storage space for the boxes…
So because there’s no point in starting, I’ll just look at this beautiful book of modern design solutions for people with three white shirts and two pairs of black slacks that can hang elegantly in their huge walk-in dressing room…
Are you trapped by clutter? If not, what’s your secret?