Managing Clutter (Part Two)


When we last discussed this topic I shared my husband’s unique method of cleaning the kitchen.  (Click here to read that story). His habit of hiding clutter eventually rubbed off on me, with one difference, I don’t hide dirty dishes in the oven.

When I got up this morning the thought of cleaning the clutter from my kitchen counters had never entered my mind. On our agenda was a visit to one of the local farmers’ markets as well as various other errands.  Eventually we ended up back home.  Staring at me from my kitchen was a mound of dishes from last night’s home-made pizza and that annoying, unorganized pile of clutter.  My husband and I conquered the dishes.  From there it just seemed natural to move on to the pile of papers.

One by one I sorted the heap of unorganized clutter into three piles, trash, recycle and “must read.”  The trash pile and recyclables were easy.  The “must read” stack was more obnoxious. To make it seem less daunting I broke it down even further.  Emerging from the hodge-podge were catalogs, newsletters and magazines.  The mound of catalogs was easy.  Finding more ways to shrink my checkbook balance was not something I wanted to do.  The obvious solution for the towering stack of catalogs was to drop them into the recycle bin.  One pile down and two to go.

I breezed through the smaller pile of newsletters then dropped them into the waste basket.  The last and largest stack was the magazines.  Those things seem to accumulate like dust on my furniture.  About the time you finish reading one, two more arrive in the mail.  I really dreaded this project.  I could have just picked up the entire stash and tossed it as well, but since I had paid for that mound of paper it only seemed right that I at least glance at the contents inside.

I really get annoyed at the superfluous subscription cards they stash inside magazines.  You know which ones I mean.  The ones that make it impossible to quickly flip through the pages.  It seems like each month the volume of cards as well as the other advertisements grows larger while the quantity of articles declines.  The subscription cards were the first thing I removed.  From there I was tempted to tear out the rest of the pages of advertising but then realized that if I did there wouldn’t be much left.  Instead I decided it would be much easier to simply remove the articles I was interested in.  Filing away a few recipes would take less time and take up less room than if I had kept the entire magazine.

By the time I had flipped through and filtered out the things I found worth saving, instead of a towering pile of magazines, I had an itty bitty pile of papers.  The skeletal remains of my magazines were swiftly deposited in the recycle bin.  Many of the magazines had reached the end of their subscription.  Having read through and filed them in the circular file it would be the last time I would see them.  They were gone for ever, and I mean forever.  You see, if you read the very fine print, on those renewal notices you receive, you will note that by returning that card you are giving them permission to enroll you in the automatic renewal program.  This means that your magazine will continue to come your way for ever and ever.  Well, at least until you manage to figure out how to remove yourself from their list.  I absolutely refuse to allow them that privilege.  I want total control over which magazines I receive and for how long.  Because I don’t want to play their game I am no longer renewing my subscriptions.  If, and I mean if, I decide it’s worth renewing a magazine I will decide when and where I will do it.  No publisher is going to take that control away from me.

Well, that’s it.  The dirty dishes are done and the kitchen counter clutter is gone for now.  I am absolutely certain once I turn my back the pile will begin to accumulate once more.  It’s a never-ending cycle you know.  On to the next challenge.

4 thoughts on “Managing Clutter (Part Two)

  1. I so agree with you about the magazines….first thing I do is remove all the cards, also the little advertising/coupon booklets that are popping up more frequently. Last week I got a notice from one of my favorite magazines that said ‘you agreed to be a part of our automatic renewal program….’ Years ago I started keeping a list of when I sent in renewals because the notices were coming so frequently, so I checked my list and this subscription doesn’t expire until November! On the invoice I wrote them a note to remove me from their program and send me a notice when my subscription was due. Hated spending a stamp on it, but wanted to make my point!

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    1. I hate the auto renewal system. I also am not fond of the non-stop renewal notices. On more that one occassion I accidentally renewed a magazine more than once because I wasn’t keeping track. Imagine my anger at the discovery. I keep very close track of my magazine renewals now.

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