Some of you probably read Mike’s recent post about his buckling down and finally cleaning up the boar’s nest that he had amassed at his end of our breakfast table, complete with before and after photos.

Mercifully gone is the teetering tower of unread copies of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal that accumulated when his effort to keep up with the deluge of blog comments curtailed his morning reading. The papers piled up unread and yet the paperboy continued to deliver them; it was like the candy factory scene from I Love Lucy.

Gone, too, is the giant stack of books, threatening to topple onto his plate of eggs and sausage every morning. Gone, the old IBM Think Pad that was recently supplanted by his new love, the Mac Powerbook.

Needless to say, for someone, such as I, who thrives on organization and everything having (and being in) its place, his Herculean effort was greeted with shouts of exultation and joy. I do not wish to downplay the concerted focus, the main force of Will, that it took for a lifelong and inveterate pack rat, such as he, to achieve this worthy goal.

However, for those readers who thought to hold his feat up as an example to their messy spouses to clean up the clutter–and to prevent him from getting a bad case of the big head–I would like to share a truth: the breakfast table was just one of this boar’s nests.

(Granted, it is the one that had the greatest impact on me personally, since it was the one that anyone coming into our home would likely be confronted with and the one that had to be shoved aside to make a place to put a plate of food. And I am deeply appreciative that it is gone!)

In the interest of full disclosure I would like to give a full accounting, but where to begin?

There’s his desk in our (shared) office…

Mike's desk

and the floor beside his desk in our office…

Floor beside Mike's desk
and the spare bedroom beside our office (which contains mainly boxes and stacks of his medical research papers along with the odd box or seven of tailings of excavations of past piles and a few boxes of mail to be sorted into future piles)…

Spare Room Junk
and his bedside table…


which, although covered in teetering stacks of books he’s currently reading, doesn’t look too bad, owing chiefly to the fact that our faithful cleaning lady dutifully moves the stacks, dusts everything, and carefully replaces the stacks each week.

Though the one stack of books is so tall, I couldn’t get it and the floor beside his bedside table all in one photo, so here’s the rest of it…

By way of comparison, here is the other bedside table in the same room…

MD Bedside table

and the other desk on the other side of our shared office…

MD Desk

which as I look at it makes me want once again to crawl under it and bind up all the computer wires into neat little bundles, but that would require unplugging it all and it’s not a view I have to look at routinely or I would have it done long before.

Notwithstanding his yeoman’s work at the breakfast nest, there’s mess aplenty that remains. Thanks to all those who gave him (deserved) kudos; perhaps the praise of others will strengthen his resolve! I nurture a slender hope that having made this first great stride forward in organization with the purging of the breakfast table boar’s nest will engender in him a spirit eager to banish clutter in his other haunts throughout the house.

Though, to draw upon the suggestion of one of his readers …it might take a backhoe and a dumpster…which I’d be happy to arrange.


  1. My husband would surely sympathize with you because he (sometimes just barely) puts up with much the same from me. So would my mother (you should see the piles of “important papers” my dad can make!). My son seems to have the pack rat gene, too. Thank goodness for folks like you who put up with folks like us. 🙂


  2. Years ago, I gave up cleaning out drawers, closets, etc., because each time I did, my husband would fill up the empty area with “stuff”. After 47 years, I admit to being a bit that way myself, so there are always several books, magazines, recipes, and piles of mail at various stages of being read, filed, or put in order of priority. We’ve been in the same house for 23 years and I keep thinking we should clean out everything…….someday.

    COMMENT from MD EADES:  Someday… yeah, me, too!

  3. Thanks for the good laugh!!

    I’m the pack rat here…and my son seems to have inherited it…I did from my dad I think.

    I do get a kick out of men….so many have a favorite spot and it becomes they’re little “nest”! My son (22) is especially a pack rat and I have to make him clean up his areas….you can do that with kids!

    COMMENT from MD EADES:  And, with limited success, with husbands!

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