C is for Clutter

C is for Clutter

Did I mention I have magical powers? I didn’t? Oh, well, I have magical powers. Any time I decide to like something, it suddenly becomes popular. When I think of someone, they will usually call or email. If I need money, somehow it shows up just in the nick of time. Some people call it law of attraction, other people call it God, and other people call it damn lucky. Don’t be fooled; it’s magic. Abracadabra!

Exhibit A:

In 1986, I thought it might be cool to wear leggings under a skirt. I was a bit chicken to do something so fashion forward, but I convinced Kara to do it with me. Next thing we know, all of California is doing it.

Exhibit B:

In 2003, I think I might love the color aqua. That’s how analytical I can be, by the way. I construct decision matrices to determine whether a color should get promoted. I make them in my head but, still, it’s weird. Anyway, I decide (via matrix) that I am not willing to part with chocolate-brown, despite my new love for aqua. I decide to love them equally, and then get the great idea to shop for chocolate-brown and aqua accessories for the house. I stop by Crate and Barrel and ask if they have any rugs in this colorway (fancy!) and the salesperson says she’s never seen those two colors combined (i.e., it sucks). Joke’s on you, sister. 2005, if you recall, became the year of brown and aqua. It’s all good, because yellow stole my heart in 2007.

Exhibit C:

In 2010 (okay, two weeks ago) I’m worried about cash. Specifically, I need cash to buy a writing tablet at Mikey’s school. They don’t accept ATM cards and I know I’m going to forget to go to the bank. (I’m magical, not perfect.) I’m on the phone with my sister in-law when I put on an old pair of jeans. In the back pocket is $5.

I could go on, but I don’t want to show off. Also, I don’t want to draw attention to the fact that I haven’t been able to make my student loans magically disappear. My theory is that I am magical on a small scale.

The point–and there is one–is that six months ago I decided (again with the decisions) to simplify my life a bit, and that maybe suffocating under a pile of meaningless possessions wasn’t the way to go. Coincidentally, this is also the time we get rid of our cleaning service. Two weeks into putting things in their proper place on top of cleaning toilets and mopping floors I conclude, “This blows.”  I also conclude that the less clutter I have, the less I have to clean. I’m intrigued.

I turn to my lover, Google. I read well known blogs like mnmlist, Zen Habits and Unclutterer, and then move on to newer blogs like Becoming Minimalist. Finally, I bring on the big guns: books I own but have never read. Specifically, The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs. A few months go by and I am actually doing a darn fine job at keeping the house clean without the threat of company coming. I decide that, yes, living simply is the way to go.

That’s when my magic kicked in. I swear, I can’t control it.

Abbey wrote about uncluttering in the spring. Amy Beth wrote about the Slow Home Movement over the summer around the time Lydia wondered how much is enough. I would link to many more bloggers but I’m sure you get the picture. I’m not alone and, if my magical powers are doing their job, you’ve been feeling the urge to simplify your life, too.

Because I don’t have enough uncluttering to do at my house, I volunteered to clear out and empty my parents’s storage unit once and for all. That’s where Japan Girl, the lovely lady at the top of this post, comes in. Her name is Japan Girl because that is where she was made. She has a friend I call Japan Girl Wearing a Red Kerchief. I have no idea where they came from. Maybe my grandmother? My mom says my grandmother bought them for me because she knew I collected dolls.

I’ve never collected dolls. Talky Tina made sure of that, thanks.

So Japan Girl and Japan Girl Wearing a Red Kerchief are off to the mother of all garages sales, along with a Sports Illustrated shoe phone, a step aerobics platform, clothing for an army of toddler boys, and a clock hat.

I can’t wait to show you the clock hat.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. says

    Dolls kinda creep me out. Don’t get me wrong–I had my two Cabbage patch dolls and Ugly Babe whom I simply ADORED … but for the most part … eeh … I don’t really love ’em.

    And a clock hat? Every introvert’s dream (before the invention of cell phones, I’m sure) … that way when someone asks the time you have only to point to the top of your head. Nice.

  2. says

    You ARE magic!!!

    I think however that you and I might be split apart sisters at birth because I too have had very similar experiences to you — making magic happen. For instance: In 2003 I printed up my business card in tiffany blue (ie: aqua) and dark chocolate brown. Needless to say, I was horribly annoyed when I felt like it had become contrived and tired before I handed out the last of my 1000 cards that I had I printed up. BTW: I am thinking lavender and chocolate brown will be the next combo once I am ‘over’ this whole black and gold thing… kidding ; )

    Anywhoo… thanks a bunch for linking to my slow home movement post. Perhaps we were pushed into this mindset because of the economy, or maybe it’s a fear that no one in America makes anything anymore? What happened to the days of buying it ONCE and having it for a lifetime? The problem is that nothing is made to last a lifetime anymore. It scares me how many of our items are being shipped over from China and how willing people are to buy everything that is ‘disposable’ with the mindset of planned obsolescence in a few years.

    I hope that the internet does good in spreading this idea to the masses. I want people to consider the slow home movement and what they can do to take part. Thanks for helping to spread the word.


  3. roni says

    you ARE magical! i read in zen habits or zen family habits one sentence a few months back – “don’t organize, simplify.” what freeing advice! it felt like rebelling against all my issues of real simple and container store catalogs. buying more things to organize my things felt depressing. so i kept culling through stuff and realized i love clear counters, no stacks of paper on the dining room table, etc. and when it does come time to clean, it doesn’t take the whole weekend. i’m just waiting for the right time to go through my mother-in-law’s basement…

  4. says

    I told you I was magical. 😉

    ABCD–Too funny about the business cards! I would have felt the same way.

    I was just telling my husband that when our NEW (5 years old) dishwasher broke down. Our microwave–also 5 years old–needs repair but we never use it so I’m holding out.

    It used to be things lasted 10 years or so before you worried about repairing something (before that, things seemed to be built to last forever). Now, the new number is 5 years. Shameful. But, I honestly think it goes along with the mentality of most consumers today. I’m not sure people want their toaster to last 10+ years. People nowadays like new things, and often.

  5. says

    I’m magical too! If we combined our super powers, we could be like the Wonder Twins. :) My latest – the return of patent leather accessories, the dill pickle color currently found in PB but on my kitchen walls for the last 4 years…I could go on, but I don’t want to hijack your comments. Unfortunately the magic & my reading skills aren’t proving to be very lucrative. I wish I had your cash finding mojo.
    Loving the linky loos to simple home posts. I need them. Now more than ever.
    How’s the reading coming along? I am in some serious weeds reading Anna K.

    • says

      My reading was going really well. I burned through the Stackhouse novels (of course) and read two books that aren’t on the list but I already owned. Now I’m reading Eckhart Tolle.


  6. says

    oh this was a good one. how did I miss it? “jokes, on you sister.” Classic. I by the way, had a very early fascination with the light blue/chocolate brown combo as well. So much so that even to this day, my husband remembers that fascination and does a little mocking impersonation of me saying “blue and brown are my favorite colors.” Really, he does. Weird.

  7. says

    I think I share some of your powers. Things really do become popular, or even RE-popular when I decide to like them, but my favorite power, is when I decide I need or want something (A size 6 Lilly Pulitzer dress, a brand new pair of Paige jeans, or Stuart Wietzman heels) the magically materialize at our local Goodwill for mere DOLLARS.

  8. says

    Japan girl is awfully pretty!

    We just moved across the country and I think we got rid of approximately 3/4 of our possessions. We took only what we loved. And then went from having one bedroom to four. Things are feeling awfully simple in this house, and I’m in no hurry at all to change it!

  9. says

    I love your magical powers :)

    For the last five years at least I’ve been in serious “exfoliation mode”. For the very first time in my life I am able to look around my bedroom and realize that everything in it is actually something that I WANT to have – well, at least the things that belong to me (I could name a few things of my husband’s that could probably go.. Ha ha ha). And for the very first time EVER, get ready for this, I do not have anything AT ALL under my bed. It feels magical, really. I can’t explain the smile it brings. I know that some people may see that as a waste of good space, but it’s been supremely freeing.

    I hope your garage sale goes splendidly and that earn a ton of cash to put to good use.

    Hugs, Susan

    P.S. I have been LOVING your ABC photo commentaries. LOVING!

  10. deebo says

    our ac window unit went out a couple weeks ago. this is our second unit in 5 years.. the only other unit i remember having had lasted most of my life, 27 years. durring the time we were on the hunt for a new one, an ac man told me that they make them expendable now days rather than being built to last. they used to make them where you could oil the fan motor, but not anymore.. not stock at least. the fan inside our unit got so tight that it wouldnt even turn anymore.. now if only i was able to oil the dang thing i could have saved myself a few hundred dollars. :/

  11. Gina says

    I have no idea how Google found this blog while I was searching for “Nick & Nora jar”, but I gotta say, I LOVE THAT DOLL! Had I seen this back when it was posted I would have offered my first born for Japan Girl & her sister. Why can’t I ever find yard sales with these types of dolls?!

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