Clutter: An Untidy History (pre-order)

By Jennifer Howard

"Jennifer Howard has written a brilliant and beautiful meditation on the nature of our attachment to things. Reading Clutter made me long for a life without clutter."—Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author and host of the "Revisionist History" podcast

 

“I’m sitting on the floor in my mother’s house, surrounded by stuff.”

So begins Jennifer Howard’s Clutter, an expansive assessment of our relationship to the things that share and shape our lives. Inspired by the painful two-year process of cleaning out her mother’s house in the wake of a devastating physical and emotional collapse, Howard sets her own personal struggle with clutter against a meticulously researched history of just how the developed world came to drown in material goods.

With sharp prose and an eye for telling detail, she connects the dots between the Industrial Revolution, the Sears & Roebuck catalog, and the Container Store, and shines unsparing light on clutter’s darker connections to environmental devastation and hoarding disorder. In a confounding age when Amazon can deliver anything at the click of a mouse and decluttering guru Marie Kondo can become a reality TV star, Howard’s bracing analysis has never been more timely.

Jennifer Howard is a former contributing editor and columnist for The Washington Post and a former senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education. A frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, she has written for Slate, Bookforum, Fine Books & Collections, and Humanities magazine, among many other publications. Her fiction has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The Collagist, Blue Moon Review, the collection D.C. Noir, and elsewhere. She lives in Washington, DC. 

More praise for Clutter:

"In Clutter, Jennifer Howard offers a fascinating and insightful account of what becomes of the stuff that we accumulate in our homes and lives. It's a powerful reminder of how the deeply personal acts of daily life are shared across families, cultures, economies, and countries, and a moving account of how one author's struggle to manage her family's clutter led to a deeper understanding of what matters most in all of our lives."—Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade and Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale

SEPTEMBER 1, 2020 | ISBN: 9781948742726 | HISTORY | HARDCOVER | 5 X 7.25 | 176 PAGES