Monday, September 6, 2010


"The sheer volume of paper struck me every time. There was always more paper. The entire house felt like it was made of paper; walled, buttressed, and roofed with paper. Drifting against every wall in a storm of cellulose. Grubby stacks of newspapers, junk mail, useless prospectuses, and magazines supported the sagging walls. Old bills, bank statements, and ephemera spilled out of boxes and filing cabinets. Letters, contracts, and certifications filled up every drawer, every cabinet. Every scrap of paper that had ever entered the house remained, heaped and hoarded anywhere space was available.
It was not the first house I had ever emptied; a few years before, we had cleaned out my Grandmother’s house in a few weeks. Carrying over some of her belongings and papers to become part of the strata at our house. It’s hard to know how much a house can store, especially if the same family has lived there awhile. And you don’t realize that, of course, you have to also get rid of the bones: appliances, furniture and soft furnishings, everything. You have to strip it right down to the walls."

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