The other day, when I discovered that we have, in our house, 16 flower vases although I am allergic to flowers, I realized it was time to de-clutter.

This is a difficult thing to do, mainly because I like clutter. We’ve been close ever since high school, sometimes going to the beach together, other times just hanging out in piles of old newspapers. Clutter is comforting and a good way to avoid seeing what’s under the bed.

Nevertheless, I knew de-cluttering was something that had to be done because I could no longer find the bed since it was obscured under a mountain of Post-it notes.

So my wife and I spent last weekend working on it — going from room to room trying to find room. While we didn’t actually accomplish anything other than moving the vases to a different corner of the breakfast nook, we have now accumulated a pile of de-cluttering ideas.

So I have some advice for those of you swimming under a sea of gas station receipts you accumulated that one summer in Cincinnati. Here are the six steps you can take to de-clutter the house:

— Get rid of the hundreds of packets of sugar, salt and pepper you have saved in a plastic bag in case the world suddenly has a sugar, salt and pepper drought.

According to Wall St. analysts who follow seasonings, the packet reserve is quite healthy and we are no longer having to import foreign packets from unstable authoritarian countries.

— You really don’t need that three-piece green velvet suit or the jeans that fit you in college.

For one thing, the jeans are flared. For another thing, they’re flared. Also, you’re not in college anymore and are unlikely to be able to wear the three-piece green velvet suit to a mixer.

If you get rid of the jeans and the suit, you will have more room in the closet for seasoning packets.

— Any T-shirts you have filling your closet that advertise Al’s Garage in Camden, Maine, which has been out of business since 1983, can go. Also, any T-shirts that have been washed so many times you can no longer read that they were from a 5K race you never ran are probably T-shirts you can get rid of.

They’re also probably flared.

— If you’ve had a book on your bookshelves since 1957 and still haven’t read it, chances are you won’t.

This means you can finally get rid of “Silas Marner” without guilt as well as that copy of “The Scarlet Letter” that you were going to read in 10th grade but did the Cliff’s Notes thing instead.

— Every household needs to have a limit on how many egg poachers it needs.

The rule also applies to grapefruit knives, bagel slicers and tea-bag caddies. Exceptions can be made for shot-glass measuring cups and coozies, mainly because I really don’t want to get rid of my shot-glass measuring cups and I really like being able to say coozies.

— You can always move.

Advertisements