Useless Clutter?

I visited a couple of different friends over the course of last weekend, and was struck by the void of personality either of their homes conveyed. (The two don’t even know each other.)

I’m not implying that this is a bad thing, but you walk into their place, and you see a couch, a table with a lamp, and that’s about it. No artwork adorns the walls, there are no book cases filled with books and topped with interesting (or not) artifacts from their lives, there is no kid art on the refrigerator, etc. Nada. Zip. Zero.
You get the idea.

I am not the hopeless pack rat I used to be, but I still enjoy expressing a little bit of myself in the stuff I have hanging around. Sure, it’s basically useless stuff, but it gives anyone who comes to my door a little insight into the type of person that I am.

So how about you, fellows Dopers? Do you surround yourself with artifacts from your life, artwork, books and other “useless clutter”, or is your home devoid of such distractions?

Always wondering…
Chrome Toaster

Having grown up globe trotting as an AF Brat, I try to keep ‘clutter’ to a minimum.
Having said that, there are things that keep from my past:

Books (800+ at last count)
An old piece of ore cart chain retrieved from a mountain stream in Idaho

2 hard to find pieces of interior trim from a '67 MGB-GT (for when I get another one)

And other items, like a razor sharp Katana bequeathed to me by my brother; if an intruder makes it past the dogs…


Remember, you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish!

Hey, I’ve got two kids and my wife is an elementary school teacher. What DON’T I have on my walls?

Seriously, I feel kinda sad for your friends. Decorating your environment, even for your own sake, is what separates us from the lower species. Don’t these people want a little beauty in their lives? We have artwork, knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, tchatchkes, what-nots, odds and ends, and books, books, books all over the place.

The Dave-Guy
“since my daughter’s only half-Jewish, can she go in up to her knees?” J.H. Marx

Movie posters everywhere…

Living room has Reservoir Dogs (imagine that), Pulp Fiction (again), Braveheart, Immortal Beloved, and the Anakin one from Episode I.

Hallway has Life is Beautiful.

Office has Grosse Point Blank, Bullets Over Broadway and The Brothers McMullen.

Bedroom: Seven, Fargo, Aliens, Usual Suspects, and Heat.

Plus, there’s a lot of toys. My entire mantle in my living room (perhaps 15 feet long) is full of Star Wars figures. There’s Woody and his horse from Toy Story 2, a couple of those Taco Bell chihuahuas that say something when you squeeze them, a stuffed Wario from the world of Nintendo, even a Barbie doll a friend gave as a joke a few years back (she’s wearing the ugliest damn green dress I’ve ever seen).

Usually there’s a bunch of magazines thrown about, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, and even a Victoria’s Secret catalogue or two (I swear to God, you order something once from those people, and they keep you constantly updated forever).

And cat toys. Like the mouse with no tail. The ball with the bell in it. The tail with no mouse. The pillow stuffed with catnip.

Nintendo stuff. Lots of books. Oooh… the bust of Tchaikovsky right next to the bust of Jesus Christ. I’m not kidding.

Games and puzzles. A chess set from Egypt. Candles. Nerf guns. (This is sounding more and more like a kids room, isn’t it? Dammit, I am 26.) CD’s and movies, generally filed away neatly, however – some things demand order.

God, my house is a freakin’ mess, now that I think about it. I gotta go.

Hmmm, empty beer bottles and dust mites. Yep, useless clutter.

Geez, what type of personal clutter/crap don’t I have in my room?

Political memorabilia my parents picked up for me when they were into antiques (campaign buttons galore, a Humphrey/Muskie 1968 campaign whiskey bottle, a 1948 Truman poster)
Fantasy art cut out of magazines (my girlfriend’s)
My grandfather’s pipe collection (pretty pathetic, but it was his, dammit)
My Herbert Hoover action figure (I shit you not)
My college diploma (only took me six years)
A framed copy of the program from ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s “Running With Scissors” concert at the Warner Theatre, signed by Al, Ruben, Jay, and Bermuda.

And I won’t even begin to discuss what my housemates have used to decorate the living room…

A house without clutter is not a home. It’s a hotel suite without maid service.


Just confirming that my ass is, in fact, the wisest part of my body.

While I like minimum clutter…less to dust around… I find I keep accumulating treasures from dear friends and far away places I have been that I just can’t part with. If I have to say… I am a 50/50 kinda gal. If it doesn’t mean something to me… I don’t keep it.

I really try to be good but it just isn’t in my nature!

I’ve heard some say that minimalist decor is meant to encourage conversation (“nothing to look at; I guess we better talk to each other”). I say this is pig doots. A home needs to look warm & inviting. My place is small so I keep knicknacks to a minimum or it looks like a flea market. No velvet artwork of any kind.

I’m in agreement w/ PCW but not as good at achieving it. Home is my retreat, so what may be clutter to other people is comfy stuff to me. But I don’t “decorate”; everything is my own eccentric taste.

Examples: books everywhere (bliss!); lithos by Gorey and of Nat’l. Lampoon “Amputee Frog”; assorted funky antiques; quite a bit of kitchen stuff (that I use so it isn’t quite clutter), etc.

The only thing that really strikes me about other people’s homes is if they don’t have books and magazines around. That’s spooky.


i had an antiques business for about 10 yrs & have antique furniture in every room, including a handmade dog cage w/ an added glass top as a coffee table & a handmade icechest & refurbished steamer trunk (filled to the brim w/ family pics) as end tables.

there are paintings in almost every room, generally something that reminds me of all the places i lived, antique mirrors everywhere, & lots of family pics in little antique frames.

i have a 1/2 dozen stained glass windows & old chandelier crystals on the blind pulls.

lots of handmade and/or funky stuff like the occasional table made out of a tree fork & part of the trunk & foot stool made out of a root.

i have several huge chainsaw wood carvings &
all sizes of glass globes & paperweights (glass fascinates me).

telephones in every room but the baths & closets.

pretty funky & sounds cluttered i guess, but the house is big enough that it doesn’t look messy, just interesting. & all that stuff is a much better conversation starter than an empty room for sure.

Obligatory compliment designed to elicit invitation to join the clique (wink wink): “Your homes all sound full of charm and personality; I’d love to visit.” (Too much?)

Okay. Except for the artwork on the refrigerator when the kids were growing up, my houses have been just as boring as your friends’ places.

This was my reaction to the way my mom, um, decorated – every surface in our house (horizontal or vertical) was covered with something.

Doilies, figurines, good and bad art, stuffed animals, dolls, wind chimes (inside), lava lamps, bubbling fountains, aquaspheres, fake parrots, throw rugs, coasters, clocks made from anything, barometers and thermometers, ash trays, drapes-sheers-valances-and-blinds, books, videos, tapes, shelves, lamps, postcards, telephones, bells, etcetera.

Sure, it showed her personality (acquisitive packrat) but it was never, ever comfortable or inviting.

Just recently I looked around and realized that a visitor wouldn’t be able to tell a single thing from our home about what hubby and I were interested in.

I’m gonna keep an eye on this thread and get more ideas from you guys about how to liven this place up a bit. (Slightly less grovelly?

Let’s see, in my room I have:

A crystal globe on a pewter stand
A ceramic dragon
Five lava lamps (I collect them)
Bottles, jars, bowls FULL of marbles (I collect these too)
Three authentic Chinese name stamps (wonderful conversation pieces, worth around $1200)
A 19th-century wood sculpture of the Japanese god of wisdom

And various other things. :slight_smile: I don’t like clutter, per se, and my room is pretty bare in furniture (dresser, desk, bookshelf, bed), but I like adding a personal touch. . .
– Sylence

Another day, another attempt to cross Niagra Falls on a tightrope. . .

We have lots of junk. Lots of colected stuff, pictures, viseos. C Toaster:I would feel uneasy in a home that has no books.

AuntiePam, my house is the same way. I’ve been living in this current house for a little over a year now and the only thing I have hanging on my walls is a Star Wars poster in my son’s room. My walls are bare, I have no knick knacks sitting out on tables, no shelves with little figurines, no nothing. Of course, I don’t have end tables either. My living room consists of a three piece couch, the entertainment cabinet, and one of those tall corner lamps (the ones that are about five feet tall and a bulb on top with a glass lampshade that faces upwards). I just have no sense of design at all. I can never find anything of the knick knack variety that I find appealing. I’ve been thinking about taking my tax return this year and buying some pictures for the walls, just to make it looked a little more “lived in”.

“Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.” - Procrastinator’s motto.

My living room:

Two O’Keeffe prints
A Maxfield Parrish print (Ecstasy)
A bodhrain I painted
A scimitar
Three dragons on the mantlepiece - one my father carved.
A gorgeous candle holder on the mantlepiece.
A vase Mom gave me when I moved in - doesn’t quite match the decor, but what can you do?
A set of candle-holders & various small instruments on the piano, plus music books.
A rain stick.
Some coffee table books.
Sometimes, there’s a very large vase with gladiolas.

Plus a curio cabinet full of dragons, liqueur glasses and miniature liquor bottles ( makes me look like a lush)

Except for the curio cabinet, it’s actually very un-cluttered. I am trying to keep only the things I truly love in there. My library is in another room.

I’m rebuilding after my worldly goods disappeared and its been fun. I have the usual collection of kid stuff in my kitchen, attached to my fridge, etc. I’m going to paint my extra bedroom in a green and make it my angel room. You can pretty much find angels in every room. The walls are kinda sparse yet, but getting there, and I have so many books I dont have shelving to put them all out.

Occasionally we have a pup tent in the living room when we camp out.

But… its home sweet home!

We are, each of us angels with only one wing,and we can only fly by embracing one another

Do I have useless clutter in here? Hmmm…

To start with: about 60 gazillion books. They’re in the bookcase. They’re on top of the dresser. They’re in boxes. They’re on the floor. They’re on the edge of the bed. They’re on the nightstand. There’s a couple peeking out from under the bed. And some in the other rooms of the house also.

Candles and candleholders. Various stuffed animals (including 2 Beanie dragons and 3 Beanie cats). Pewter dragon. Dragon candle. Couple of ceramic dragons. Far Side cartoon-a-day calendar. Potpourri jar. And a couple of semi-neat stacks of magazines on the floor.

I need to get more bookcases.

And that’s just the bedroom.

Your Official Cat Goddess since 10/20/99.

“[A]gainst stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.” --J.C.F.S. as quoted by H.M.

Clutter? Oh yes. Beware of ever setting in my room.

Whenver I’m about to draw something, I pull out a sheaf of paper, and I might draw on about six sheets, but the other five blank sheets will forever be a part of that pile.

I have around fifteen piles of half drawn on sheafs of paper in this room. Argh!

Also, every time I buy something it comes with a shopping bag - I have tons of them all over the floor.

My clothes - the floor is where they hang.

Magazines and books - I have no bookshelf here, so on the floor they go.


Computer CDs, Star Wars figures, newspapers, you name it, I’ve got it.

And yet, it’s still relatively… “ordered” for all that. Kind of.

Anyway, my job for today is to tidy the damn thing. And with that… I bid you adieu…


The Legend Of PigeonMan - By Popular Demand! Enjoy, enjoy!

In my room:

San Jose Sharks poster GO SHARKS!
One of those 3D pictures
Several of my high school photography pictures
Mr White poster from Resevoir Dogs
Thunderbird Ave. street sign
Two carvings my friend brought me from Sri Lanka

We must blame them and cause a fuss before somebody thinks of blaming us.
Sheila Broflofski

My living room features a framed poster of Bob Dylan (the “Think Different” one, a collector’s item), a turtle lamp, and this huge green tapestry that involves elephants.

My bedroom contains the Conch Republic flag I got in Key West and my Swinging Hips Elvis Clock (not Young Attractive Elvis, either–Old Fat Jumpsuited Elvis) from Graceland.

The hallway to the kitchen features my autographed posters of Andy Richter and of Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.

Throughout the house, you’ll find books everywhere you look. Most of them are medical textbooks and study guides from whatever class we’re taking at the time. You’ll also find a deck of cards and some little rubber balls in each room, so I can practice my trick shuffles and sleight of hand while I study.

So yeah, I love my place.

Dr. J