Blame my childhood, but I find it cozy and comforting to be surrounded by stuff.
A confession, first: I love clutter.
The horizontal surfaces in my family room are covered with newspapers, magazines, books I’ve started, books I intend to read, books I want to read but never will, erasable pens, a sweatshirt or two, a soccer ball, a bucket of toy cars, and wayward Legos that gouge my stockinged feet. In addition to a computer, two telephones, and a TV remote, my desk at home is strewn with notebooks, folders, loose papers, birchbark, a modem, scraps of paper with notes to myself, photos of my wife and kids, flash drives, nail clippers, pens, coins, a stapler, a thesaurus, shopping receipts, a hand-grip strengthener, a blood-pressure cuff, two- and three-dimensional likenesses of Abraham Lincoln, four baseballs, three baseball caps, two 1909 baseball cards, two flashlights, a pair of AirPods, a miniature boxing glove my father gave me before I can remember, one Pokémon card, and two Tibetan bowls.
Blame my childhood, if you like, in a small suburban house that was tidy verging on sterile, but I find it cozy and comforting to be surrounded by stuff. Possibly I could part with a flashlight, the coins, and the smaller Tibetan bowl, and yet I can’t. It’s not too fanciful to suggest that the clutter on my desk sketches pretty accurately who I am. I do not make the claim that having a messy desk implies being a genius, à la Edison or Einstein or Steve Jobs. Still, I do know where everything is.
Read the rest on The Atlantic.