During my years in my former city, where she still lives, I didn't give it more than occasional thought; we lived at opposite ends of a metropolis, and often met halfway, after work or on Saturday morning for breakfast. But now, newly empty-nested, she invited me to stay.
And I learned why her home has been off limits.
She quoted her mother: "Everything is all over everywhere!" Rachel had to come out of the bulging closet; she's a Clutter Queen, with emphasis on books, papers, CDs, file folders. Beauty products, kitchen gear, clothes.
|Rachel's desk (facsimile)|
Rachel's possessions decorate her like the ribbons the birds draped around Wendy in Disney's "Peter Pan". I admit that on the first night, while trying to fall asleep in a bedroom festooned with a daughter's left-behind hats, vertiginous heels, and more makeup than a Sephora warehouse (is this hereditary?) I mentally shopped the Ikea catalog for a massive Billy System injection. Then I realized this 'muchness' matches Rachel's exuberant, generous nature.
She says one reason why she has amassed so much is to heal the effects of a childhood of frequent moves, in which she was often forced to abandon her toys and books.
|My desk (actual)|
You Have to Keep on Top of It is the motto of the clutter-averse.
If you're unhappy about your plenitude, purge mercilessly, arrange what's left in spruce containers (I like Semikolon), and request that your loved ones give gifts you can use up.
Rachel's home was no less welcoming for its genial jumble; on my return journey I reflected on why some of us yearn for the spare and orderly while others embrace an overflowing bounty.
Which are you? Are you happy that way?