html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Clutter is my enemy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Clutter is my enemy.

Amy and I were talking at lunch yesterday. Our branch is raffling off baskets to raise money for the holiday party. That would be the winter holiday party, and I am dreading a whole year of this. The baskets are huge, three or four feet tall, wrapped in cellophane and full of things. The kind secretaries have stopped asking me if I want to buy a ticket. I do not want to buy a ticket. I would, in fact, pay money to make sure I never get a basket. I don't think they understand my lifestyle. How would I get a four foot basket home? What would I do with the crap in the basket? How would it leave my house again? What would I do with the basket, after I'd lifted out each piece of crap and made an incredulous face? My house is little and I value empty space in it.

Amy and I got to wondering what would go in the perfect basket of crap we don't want. First and foremost has to be a cheap scented candle. I like some expensive scents, subtle citrus or cucumber. Amy thought the scented candle for the basket would be "chocolate chip cookie" flavor, but I say it has got to be "rose" or "jasmine" floral. Then probably cloth flowers of some sort. I love plants and I look at them really hard. Cloth flowers are invariably wrong in big or small ways; they would be a small, constant dose of wrongness. Surely a figurine comes next, perhaps with a child and an animal. Perhaps something I almost like... a flowerpot that is almost painted right, but is in the wrong shades and will only hang around the house reminding me that I don't have the discipline to throw it out. A New Age CD of monotonous tinkly music. OH! Pieces of sugary, grainy milk chocolate. And a sampler pack of flavored coffees. The list can go on and on, but would have to include something that requires constant maintenance, like a hamster. All of this is wrapped in a ton of packaging, of course. With kitch-y pictures on it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hamster would be a clever touch, but PETA surely would disapprove.
Do they still sell Tamagotchis, or whatever they're called?

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'd hate my apartment then. Lots of clutter.

My 2 bikes in the living room with 2 sleeping bags draped over them. 3 sleeping pads stuffed behind the sofa. A big box of climbing gear on the floor, 2 more big boxes of camping gear on the living room floor. All my skis are stacked up in the corner of the living room, along with a bunch of my jackets on a coat rack in the same corner, along with some weights, and my laundry detergent.

Books, maps, and papers all over my bedroom. I've got a dirty laundry basket, and a clean laundry basket, but those are in my closet. All of my athletic clothes, then stuff I wear again and again before washing, are in a pile on the floor in one of my closets. And, all the climbing gear I use on a daily basis is in a pile at the end of my bed.

I've got a pile of backpacks in my other closet. I forget, 9 or 12 bottles of wine stacked on one of the kitchen counters, then another 50? in a little fridge in my dining room.

And, since I just got back from camping, there's a tent spread out in my living room, and all the dishes, and pots and pans we used are all over the counter in the kitchen.

It's wonderful, nothing is ever lost, because everything is out right in plain view.

I should find the picture of my college apartment, it was in a much worse state, and it was smaller.


1:27 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Gear isn't as bad as clutter.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

No, silly, not rose or jasmine. Those are legitimate fragrance options actually derived from actual flowers.

I think it would be "french vanilla" or "coconut frappe."
There would probably be a trio of candles, in fact. There would also be "peaches and cream."

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, my g/f calls it clutter. Or, actually, she calls it garbage.

Oh well.

Check it out, custom topo maps! You can get, as best as I can tell, a map of any location in the US in 1:24,000 scale! Or, any of the other major scales, in several sizes, printed on waterproof, tear resistant paper, and either folded or unfolded!


2:34 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

What if it is some sort of "Summertime Rose" something?

My sister says lavendar hand lotion.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this gift basket full of things that only a woman might enjoy?

Why aren't there any things in there for men?

And, isn't running a raffle like this illegal? It sounds like gambling to me.


3:50 PM  
Anonymous Witt said...

Eh, I say don't worry about it. If you win, just stop in at a hospital or nursing home on your way back to your place. Somebody else will feel joyful and surprised, and you won't inherit a bunch of junk/clutter/interesting-but-not-to-you stuff.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

You'd need some bath stuff that you'll never use too. And some shite gadgets - a keyboard vacuum cleaner perhaps.

Weirdest scented candle I ever had was wrought iron.

My dad recently bribed me with £22 of book tokens to also take away a shrew skeleton in a jar. That would be an odd addition to a basket.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clutter is my friend.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this gift basket full of things that only a woman might enjoy?
Why aren't there any things in there for men?

I'd say the male equivalents are those food gift baskets from Hickory Farms. Sausages, cheese, crackers, stuff like that, mostly of mediocre quality.

Iron Rails & Iron Weights

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

America is gradually drowning in a tidal wave of crap. Little islands of humanity in a sea of junk.


9:08 PM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

Yes, useless bath items. That is why we have sea weed foot rub taking up space in our bathtub shampoo holder. Every morning when I take I shower I wonder why it's there.

Similarly, my company sometimes sends around announcements for useless charity "opportunities." A recent one was some sort of St. Patrick's Day-related event where participants were to shave their heads, thus "showing solidarity to those children with cancer who typically lose all of their hair during chemotherapy." If I were a kid with cancer, some stranger shaving his head would make no difference to me whatsoever.

There is nothing that has contributed more to the crapification of our culture than bureaucracies trying to show they care.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, tell me about it. I keep a box in the cupboard in the hall, for unwanted things that are en route to charity shops. I have never not had a gift-wrapped trio of scented candles in it.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Capella said...

Obviously there is something wrong with me, but I like candles.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


Honestly, I like some scented candles. Sadly, the ones I like, the ones with very pure wax and a faint subtle scent and a nice thick wick, are freakishly expensive. I am torn between being pleased that I can tell high quality stuff from cheap crap and being dismayed that my tastes are becoming expensive. I don't indulge them much. But it makes me happy when I do.

9:54 AM  
Blogger bryn said...

the modern day equivalent of louis XVI courtiers giving each other extravagance to play the social game?

I'd definitely include shite gadgets that break right away, just about anything from skymall, and a tea candle holder made of glass with a beach scene of sand and shells inside.

2:39 PM  

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