Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

A good time to lose the clutter

Wick's World


“Get rid of the clutter before we list your house,” stated my realtor.

Other words for clutter could include messy, untidiness, or too much litter. However, what she was referring to were the knick-knacks, framed wall pictures and any other personal items left in plain sight that could deter a prospective homebuyer’s ability to picture your house as their house. Fair enough.

However, for some people, their clutter is another man’s bread and butter. Take the popular TV series “American Pickers” for example. Two Iowans and long-time buddies from grade school tend to find those golden treasures and antiques hidden in the junked out yards of America. This show is the visual representation of the saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

What literally blows me away with this TV series is the amount of bucks people are willing to pay for all the rusted out clutter from some obsessive-compulsive, toothless hillbilly’s yard. Before we get too politically incorrect here, let me state for the record that some of my best friends are obsessive-compulsive, toothless hillbillies. I love you guys along with all the ex-hippies, retired gas station sign collectors, and gray-haired bikers who are mostly dedicated to motorcycles named Harley or Indian.

To these fellows, it is as if there were never any other worthwhile motorcycles made. Why, the cute little Honda motorcycle even had a stupid ditty of a song written about her (“Go Little Honda”) and yet, after it was ready to ride, it still went nowhere; and how could you not love a motorcycle named Ducati? However, neither rose to the level of rusty clutter.

Another popular television show dedicated to clutter is currently making the rounds. “Hoarders” could easily be designated “The King or Queen of Clutterers.” These people have a huge obsessive-compulsive disorder which should not be made fun of and by no means am I picking on people with a legitimate illness. However, that won’t stop me from addressing the issue because this is clutter at its finest. I feel that I can legitimately write about hoarders because my uncle was one. He was also, as uncles often are, my mentor in life. He taught me how to laugh and make jokes. He also taught me how to work hard and still laugh and make jokes.

He lived by two mottos, “Never get excited” and “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” It worked for him and the older I get, the more it works for me. He really did learn this secret to a happy life.

It was rather obvious that he never would sweat the small stuff — or the big stuff for that matter — by the condition of his living quarters, a huge old farmhouse. We didn’t call people like him hoarders back in my day. We simply referred to their places as trash houses. Not only was his basement filled to the brim (mostly with leftover materials from his construction business), but his main floor literally had an 18-inch wide trail that led from the couch to the TV to the refrigerator to the toilet and back to the couch. Now how convenient was that?

You could mutter to your mother with your eyes a flutter that his clutter made you shudder. Yes, it was difficult accepting his offer of a bowl of homemade wild mushroom soup. Or he had an honest-to-god head cheese sandwich scraped from the remnants of a hogshead and converted into a form of cheese.

These were always served from containers that led detergent-free lives. At his wake, the stories told about him were 99 percent about how great a care-free life this well-loved man led and how amazingly no person ever died from his offerings of food.

Rewind to the topic of clutter; it ends where it began with the quote from my realtor, “Get rid of the clutter before we list your house.”

Although my house looks immaculate, I now have no clue as to where I packed my (fill in the blank.) If I don’t find my toothbrush soon, I may be toothless. If my two extra houses don’t sell and another housing crisis occurs, I may end up an obsessive-compulsive hillbilly. Also, my junk is not another man’s treasure, it is simply junk. I have no rusted Harley parts.

At least for the next few weeks, when someone walks into Wick Fisher’s house, they can say, “Man, you sure have kept a tidy house since retirement.”


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