By Don Aslett
Publication Date: March 15, 2005; Adams Media, a division of
F+W Publications Company
US$9.95 – US$13.95
CAN Trade paperback; ISBN: 1593373295
Don Aslett has long been my personal hero. In fact, I’ve heard firsthand that his no-maintenance home in Hawaii is a modern marvel. Here’s a man who truly practices what he preaches. This is a guy who understands completely that there is “life beyond junk”, and that decluttering truly frees one to do the things in life which really matter. But, ultimately his sense of humor shines over a very serious problem…junk.
Consider his definition of “Knickknacks”: “Humankind, deep
in its secret heart, has always wanted to create and control its own world. To do so on a big scale like the Lord did is a little out of reach, so we mortals settled on a lesser approach. We created little wood, plastic, china and metal models and miniatures of every creature and structure ever devised, rounded them up, and put them on a shelf so we could rule over them. And we named our scaled-down universe Knickknacks….The only time our interest is aroused much is when one of them gets knocked off and broken; then we wail and sob like a wounded packrat (we’d glue it back together but can’t remember if it was a Mayan warrior or Pluto the
Or this gem: “Remember that storage costs money:…Not only is up to 33 percent – that’s one-third – of our homes today devoted to storage, but we have to seek ways and means beyond that to store the overflow. We stick it under beds, under stairs, in wall units; stow it in attics, basements,furnace rooms, “spare” rooms; fill the garage with it; then migrate to the yard and get little sheds. When they fill, we head for the local rental unit. Clutter also serves a an enticement for burglary and fodder for accidents, and it takes nice fuel for fires… Storage units are the ghost towns of clutter, a testimony of shame. Why do people store things in another place? Because they aren’t using them!”
If you’re not sure whether or not to read this book, I suggest you answer the questions on the “Junkee Entrance Exam”. You can score yourself from 1-5, here are some sample questions:
“I have more-than-a-year-old magazines stored/lying around.
I own clothes that won’t fit or are ugly or hopelessly out of style.
I have old games/puzzles/patterns with pieces missing.
I keep unread junk mail, lapsed driver’s licenses, and expired policies.
My medicine chest holds bottles of ancient vitamins and antique prescriptions.
I hoard odd socks or pantyhose with one ruined leg.
I have old curtains or blinds stashed away that I’ve dragged from past residences.”
This a funny, helpful and hopeful MUST READ for clutterbugs.
As Don so profoundly states: “Life doesn’t begin at forty, sixty-five, twenty, thirty, when you get married, when you get promoted, or when you have grandkids–life truly begins when you discover how flexible and free you are without clutter.” I couldn’t agree more.