Clutter nonsense

It's a well-known fact that clutter serves as an essential prop to anyone with a creative soul

Peter Edgerton
PETER EDGERTON

Time zips by so speedily these days that I've no idea if it was just a couple of years ago or ten, but I do remember that it became quite fashionable at one point for people to talk incessantly about 'decluttering'. For the uninitiated, this is what used to be known as throwing stuff away.

Anyway, somebody wrote a tome about it which sold by the shedload, somewhat ironically cluttering up many-a-bookshelf across the world. As far as I recall, the principal objective to this rather odd philosophy was to clear out all non-essential debris from your life, leaving only the things that bring you joy. It was quite clearly wrong on so many levels and it's about time we put the record straight.

First of all, it's a well-known fact that clutter serves as an essential prop to anyone with a creative soul. For proof of this, we only need to look at old photos of Einstein's desk, Roald Dahl's writing shed or Francis Bacon's art studio. It's obvious, really - if there's nothing useless left lying around there'll be nothing to stimulate the mind. By contrast, a week-old, half-eaten ginger nut might bear a remarkable resemblance to a profile silhouette of Ed Sheeran, thus causing the onlooker to leap up, grab his guitar and compose a ditty which, by definition, would have to be better than any of Ed's.

Next, let's look at this 'joy' thing. Every bloke in the universe has drawers full of cables and screws and football ticket stubs and oddly shaped pieces of plastic which, admittedly, might not be inspiring much joy in the short term but the day one of these gems actually proves to be useful always brings an adrenaline rush and a sense of sheer exhilaration that declutterers can only dream of.

"Look, love! That bit of plastic shaped like Abraham Lincoln's beard fits perfectly into the gap in the cat flap that the postman left when he was kicking the dog! I told you in 1983 it would come in handy!"

And what about grandma? According do the declutterers, the old photos of your favourite nan on the mantlepiece - the ones that make you weep at the merest memory of the gobstoppers she used to give you - would have to go. Presumably, these would be replaced by snaps of your current boyfriend/girlfriend who might be bringing you joy now but just wait until Christmas.

No, this was yet another shallow, transient fashion, the force of which, fortunately, seems to have abated. So, now's the perfect time to write a book arguing for the exact opposite. I've even got a title for it - Clutterly Marvellous.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find my pen.