New study: Clutter collecting hereditary |

I am not skilled at very many activities, but I must put aside modesty to claim that I am very good at accumulating clutter.

If you think my basement, closets, garage and desk are cluttered, you should see the useless stuff that is filling up my mind.

(Actually, you’re better off not seeing all the mental thingamabobs and doohickeys that are cluttering up my brain. I’m used to them and they’re still pretty scary.)

I try to look at my knack at collecting knick-knacks philosophically, but my wife Jo Ann probably would not agree with that viewpoint.

My rationale is that we can only disagree over what temperature the thermostat should be set at four to five months a year — in cold weather.

Jo Ann would be happier if the temperature was at least 3 or 4 degrees higher than our thermostat is set. She gets tired of having her shoulders get stuck in doorways because is wearing four or five sweaters and a couple more coats to keep warm.

By contrast, I wouldn’t mind dropping the temperature a few more degrees because I don’t want to have a scurry of squirrels hypnotized by watching our electric meter spinning around.

We don’t have to squabble over the thermostat the rest of the year since we both have about the same coolness threshold. By contrast, clutter is something we can debate every season of the year.

Jo Ann is much tidier and more organized than I am, but I do have a good reason for my ability to acquire items that I have virtually no chance of using again — if I even used them at all.

My talent in this area is hereditary. Dad was a master of clutter collecting.

Granted, he had a very good reason for not being willing to get rid of something for fear he might need it one day. He grew up during the Great Depression.

In our home, we had what could be considered a “perfect storm” of accumulated stuff. Dad enjoyed going to auctions and yard sales, and we had a big basement and four-car garage and only one car.

When we were kids, my two brothers and I did our best at losing baseballs, Wiffle balls and old tennis balls that we used to play baseball. But Dad still managed to stay well ahead of us.

We had a…

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