| March 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

Have you read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”? I could’ve written that book. I should’ve. But Marie Kondo beat me to it. Unbelievable, since I, closely related to the Empress of Clutter and the Emperor of Neatness, am about as close to an expert as one could get.

It’s hard to imagine how my sister, the Empress, knows where anything is and/or gets anything done. In my last visit, I actually found the invitation to my nephew’s bar-mitzvah – he’s now 54 – in the four-foot stack that lives on one kitchen chair.  I also found an ad for a “Peter, Paul and Mary” concert. “But,” she protests, ‘I loved ‘Peter, Paul & Mary.’” Oh.

Then, there are the charitable solicitations. Yes, yes, we would all like to donate to all who need the help. We have our favorites, we choose. We send a check. We wish we could do more, but in any case, with a possible pang of regret, we toss the rest. Okay, at least I do.

But the Empress suffers from excruciating humanistic responsibility: someday, she imagines, she will donate – and the good news is when that day comes, she will conveniently have in hand all their mail of the past decade – which, not having been discarded, assuages her guilt.

Author Marie Kondo makes the case that if you’re not living up to your potential, clutter is probably the problem. I might argue that. The Empress is also a nationally-renowned early childhood educator; she’s written many books and penned dozens of inspiring articles, poems, letters, presentations and more. So what if all the drafts are on the chair?

Somehow, I don’t think she’ll inspire the Emperor of Neatness. I can’t reveal the Emperor’s relationship to me, lest he lose his job, which requires keeping superb records of all transactions.

How does he manage that, given his obsession for a stack-less existence? It’s common for his family to scramble maniacally to hide the items – paper, socks, jewelry, homework, mitts, whatever – that they actually need, lest – via his anxious hand and eagle eye – they wind up in the garbage.

He often wins; sad.

Yet, even he does not conform to Ms. Kondo’s case. As a successful and satisfied professional, I’m pretty sure he’s living up to his potential. At least he never asks me for money.

I don’t know what the Empress and the Emperor are doing about the technological clutter with which we’re newly beset. Unsolicited emails, exhortations the minute the screen lights up, the proliferation of competing websites we (really) don’t need, the dozens of Facebook photos of the minute-to-minute developments of new babies.

I, of course, share no Empress nor Emperor genes. I do not have clutter problems, and that’s why I should have written that book. All it takes around here is surreptitiously moving stuff from one very shallow stack…to another. That way, nobody will ever know the difference.

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