THE BLOG

A Simple Way to Get Rid of Clutter (OK, They're Treasures, Not Clutter)

04/07/2014 03:55 pm ET | Updated Jun 07, 2014
John M. Simmons

What is the situation at your house? Do you have crates, boxes, baskets, bags and shelves stuffed with school assignments and even projects like clay ashtrays (though no one in your family has smoked for over a decade)? How old is the most senior crayon drawing stuck on the bottom layer of pages that your fridge magnets can barely hold up anymore? Or are you the bad parent, like I am? Would you rather crush your child's soul by throwing away the letters "A" through "G" written in shaky capital and lower case letters on an alphabet practice sheet? Yeah, that's me. Let the kid learn to deal with disappointment. Get used to it, Junior, there's more rejection where that came from! I'm throwing it away. I need to make room for your high school diploma.

My wife is an architect and builder. Her work has been seen on four continents and I wish I could tell you without boasting how impressive it is. Amy is a stay-at-home mom. She's a people builder. And you don't build the towering creations that she is primarily responsible for by crushing souls, no matter how much your practical husband throws a fit because only one car fits in a three-car garage.

We had reached a limit, though. I had already flown over with the bomber, dropping warning leaflets. Anything left within a given set of coordinates was going to burn if it remained within that perimeter in another two weeks.

Denney, who is 10, is our youngest. He could have picked a better time to walk in with five poster board creations that he wanted his mother to preserve for posterity. Two of the drawings were of castles, representing the castle motif of the home of our family business; White Knight. I think Denney believed he might apply to my own sentiments by use of a representation to the company that I started. It wasn't going to work. In my mind, I could already see the flames burning through one of the other poster boards, a collage of his wild-haired hero Albert Einstein.

Denney's mother was a step ahead of me. After 26 years of marriage and 25 years of children, she finally had a peaceful solution. Even if I did drop the bombs (and it wouldn't be the first time), there would be no harm and no foul.

Within minutes, my son's creations were preserved. Each was individually zoomed to fit perfectly in the screen of a smartphone and its digital image was snapped onto the virtual film. Then there were several more of him with the five posters spread out on a table. My son's soul was spared with a couple of clicks of a camera and a flash drive. When those 16 gigabytes are used up, we'll simply give him another flash drive. Hey, he might even be able to find those things one day when he wants to prove to his children that he really did do his homework, unlike what would have been the case had those poster boards been stuffed into the next available crate while forcing the last vehicle out of the garage.

Buy a couple of flash drives, put your smartphone to work and take back your home. As a bonus, you won't need to crush your child in the process. (That's always a plus.)

Follow John M Simmons on his blog.

YOU MAY LIKE

YOU MAY LIKE