Monday, August 17, 2015

Decluttering, Or Getting Rid Of The Dead Weight

Today's guest blogger, author Jennifer Allis Provost, tackles the random junk in the kitchen.

Decluttering, Or Getting Rid Of The Dead Weight
Jennifer Allis Provost

As writers we tend to hold on to odd bits of minutia, whether it's a notebook of story prompts, a feather we found in the yard, or a souvenir from a trip we took twenty or so years ago.  Memorabilia's nice and all, but if we're not careful we'll end up with a house full of random junk— which is exactly what happened to me.

I've been working on my kitchen for the past few months, and anyone who's ever been in my kitchen will understand why. It's been half done for about six years, being that having twins is the single best way to lose time, funds, and motivation for home improvement projects. A few weeks ago I said to myself, "Self, this is it. By the end of 2015, I will have a kitchen I'm proud of." However, before I could tackle things like my atrocious ceiling and the half-tiled back splash, I had to deal with the clutter.

What sort of clutter, you ask? Daily progress reports from the Wonder Twins' pre-K teachers, assorted birthday cards and invitations, and enough receipts to evidence a truly debilitating shopping addiction (shoes...I needs all the shoes). But the mecca of clutter, in my kitchen at least, was the wine cabinet.

This wine cabinet was given to me by a less-than-favored in-law about ten years ago, with the explanation, "I know how much you like wine, and it was on clearance at Target." At that time I think I'd had all of three glasses of wine in my life, and hadn't liked any of them. Anyway, I accepted the gift, stuck it in my kitchen and filled it with all sorts of junk. Ironically, no bottles of wine ever made it into the cabinet, but it has housed Limoncello.

Mmm, Limoncello.

So instead of housing the intended wine, said wine cabinet ended up as the resting place of many oddities I accumulated over the course of my writing career. Within the bowels of the cabinet I found a Russian phrasebook (I took Russian in high school, along with French and Italian) that was used to assist a fellow author, a Gaelic dictionary (I taught myself Gaelic for a different project), random name tags and program booklets for 10+ years of writing conventions, and enough bookmarks to choke a horse.

Non-writerly stuff included mismatched tablecloths and placemats, keychains, half-burned candles, a crap ton of office supplies, and an assortment of odd-shaped glasses.

Yeah. Basically, it was a heap of junk.

Here's how it all shook out: I washed the glasses, and put them with...wait for it...the other glasses. I put the books on the bookshelf, the candles in the candle drawer, and recycled the program books and name tags; seriously, if I need to know who the Arisia GOH was in 2006 I'll Google it. That's what the Internet's there for. I also threw the tablecloths and placemats in the wash and then the linen closet, and added the bookmarks to my swag box. Then came the most awesome part of this project:

My husband and I destroyed the cabinet and dumped it in the trash.

The moral of this story is that not only was I holding on to things I didn't need to (for example the program books), I was also being lazy and dumping things in the cabinet rather than putting them away properly. If you want to be a successful writer, or artist of any type, a modicum of organization is necessary. And keeping a heap of junk in your kitchen is not conducive to anything but accumulating dust.

Besides, if you're going to add furniture shouldn't it be a bookcase? Now that's my kind of clutter.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. Her latest release, Heir to the Sun, was released June 1, 2015 by Bellatrix Press. Her next release, Changing Teams, will release November 10, 2015 from Limitless Publishing. Find her on the web at


  1. Poor wine cabinet was axed to death! :) But now you have more room in your kitchen, so that's a very good thing. :)


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