Phyllis keeps Bob's clutter in check by Bob Karolevitz Now they�ve got people who make big bucks by telling you what to keep and what to throw away.
They�re called Clutter Consultants, and they help you get rid of stuff that supposedly is messing up your life.
Frankly, I like my stuff, and I don�t want some stranger pawing through my outdated financial records, the stacks of magazines and newspapers I�m going to read �some day,� and all the other things I�m saving for one reason or another.
Take the pile of clippings, for instance. Somewhere in those disorganized hoards might just be the piece of information I�m looking for at the moment. The fact that I find it days after I need it is no excuse for a Clutter Consultant to be hired at gosh-awful prices.
I�ve always believed in the old adage: �One man�s junk is another man�s treasure� � and my stuff is a treasure which doesn�t need an outsider to tell me that I should pitch it.
How do you become a consultant anyhow?
Nowadays there�s one for just about everything. They are so-called experts who can organize your bureau drawers, help you pick the right vacation, give you religious solace and tell you to buy stocks like Enron and Worldcom.
In this political season consultants come out from under rocks everywhere. They tell candidates what to wear, how to speak and what to be for or against. Some are good and worth their fees; others are just opportunists who see a chance to get in on a gravy train.
Columnist Meg Greenfield � before she died � wrote that �consultant� is often another word for �unemployed.� She may have had something there.
Consultants don�t need a license or even an office. There is no consultant school to give them a B.S., which is an appropriate pair of initials which doesn�t mean bachelor of science. All they have to do is say they are one, and they are.
But I digress!
I was talking about the hired gurus who concentrate on clutter. It could be that there are folks out there who really can�t manage their stuff without professional assistance. That�s where the Clutter Consultants come in.
I feel sorry for people who need somebody else to instruct them on how to deal with their accumulations. Oh, I have a consultant of sorts; I married her!
She may nag, cajole and call my office a �boar�s nest,� but she doesn�t lean on me to dispense with anything (in the house, that is). I appreciate her for that. The Clutter Consultants apparently aren�t that easy to get along with.
They want you to bag up anything that isn�t of value NOW, and hie it off to the recyclers. They want the shredders to chew up all cancelled checks which have passed the statute of limitations without considering that they trace a lifetime of memories: a daughter�s wedding dress, a house-remodeling after a fire, an expenditure for an appendectomy, etc.
Needless to say, I�m anti-Clutter Consultant. I�m for the status quo of junk.
I suppose I�ll think differently when I�m buried under the stuff I�ve amassed. But even then I won�t turn to a paid specialist to dig me out.
Phyllis won�t let it come to that!
� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz