Category Archives: Clutter Busting

January 20, 2012, 6:40 pm

When In Transition, You Can Use the Washing Machine as an Extra Closet

Changing jobs has reminded me that there are lots of things I am not good at.  I am obviously a good enough scholar to get another job, which is nice. I am also a good ordinary housekeeper: I cook (well); I do laundry (frequently); I cut the grass just often enough that we don’t have to make haystacks out of it afterwards; I would rather make the bed than not (and view a well-made bed as the key to an orderly frame of mind); I dash out to shovel snow before someone falls and sues the bejesus out of us; I manage to take (my) car in for regular maintenance; I get my teeth cleaned twice a year; and I occasionally whirl through my study and to put it into spic and span order after I complete the writing projects that cause it turn into a Salvation Army bargain bin. (more…)

March 18, 2011, 1:10 pm

Take My Phone. Please.

“Why don’t you try two Dixie Cups and a string!?”

A couple years ago I began to receive e-mails from a dear friend in the University of California system; in the signature line, the e-mails said: “ACADEMIC OFFICE PHONE DISCONNECTED DUE TO BUDGET CRISIS.”  The first time I got this message the initial, draconian cuts had just been announced. Students and faculty were in the streets in California.  Many of us at private institutions were waiting for the ax to fall.  Later, we were accepting the news that there would be no raises the following year, and that by doing this our institutions might be able to avoid the layoffs of adjuncts and staff that many of the public unis were enduring.

Fast forward three years to where we are at Zenith, as far as I can tell.  We ended up laying off lots of those people, and allowing other positions to go unfilled. At street level, things are horrendously…

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February 13, 2011, 5:39 pm

Deep Cleaning, And Other Cosmic Issues: A Review of “Clutter Busting”

Brooks Palmer, Clutter Busting:  Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back (Novato, California:  New World Library, 2009).  219 pp. $13.95, paper.

One of the reasons that self-help books are so successful is that they introduce complex thinking to people who aren’t normally exposed to it, or who are made uncomfortable by it.  Conversely, self-help books introduce simple thinking to people who spend most of their time thinking, or at least acting, complexly.  The formula for a successful self-help book, as far as I can tell, is a title that invites the potential reader into the utopian possibility of relieving the stress of the modern condition, and simultaneously becoming modern in a far more successful way.

Take the slow food movement, as it has manifested itself in the United States.  Inspired by former commune resident, and now Chez Panisse chef, Alice Waters, slow food ideology argues that…

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