MARTY RUSSELL: With spring comes the urge to clean



Every year about this time when the trees start to green up, the weather starts to (slowly) warm up and the robins start bobbin,’ I get the urge to throw open the window in my small home office, let in some fresh air and do some spring cleaning. Usually, I just lie down for a little while until it passes, but last week, as I was watching all those workers out there cleaning up all the trash in the Indian Ocean, the urge struck me again, and I realized there’s no room to lie down in my office anymore.

My home office is a converted 10-foot-by-12-foot bedroom with one large window, one small closet, two bookcases, a large file cabinet, a small chest of drawers filled with CDs, an ottoman that opens up with storage inside, a TV, a desk and three desk chairs. Why three desk chairs, you ask? Because the cats have commandeered one each leaving one for me. Otherwise, they’d be in my lap all day, and I’d never get anything done.

Now, I’m not one of those hoarders you see on TV. I don’t have a problem with tossing out a three-day-old pizza box as long as it’s not moving on its on. But it’s amazing how much “stuff” one can accumulate over the years. In addition to the aforementioned furnishings, my office is also home to boxes stacked on top of each other, filled with presumably valuable “stuff,” although Egyptian tombs get opened more often.

And the shelves and basically any flat surface are coated with various knick-knacks collected over the years such as a two-foot-long model of a Tyrannosaurus, a Mr. Potato Head that reminds me of Dan Quayle and a large globe of the planet in case I forget where I am. Even the walls are cluttered, including a neon beer sign so large I don’t dare turn it on in case passersby mistake the place for a bar and pull in for a drink.

In other words, the place is about to reach critical mass. I fully expect one day a black hole will form in the middle of it and suck the entire planet into a new dimension.

But where do I start to reduce the chance of that happening? There’s my 27-volume collection of “Mystery Science Theater” DVDs, each volume containing four movies averaging about an hour and a half each. I calculate it would take an entire week watching 24 hours a day to get through them all. There’s the 352-page book on beer my nephew gave me, each page detailing a different beer from around the world. I once vowed to start on page one and try them all, but that would take a lot longer than a week, especially with bathroom breaks.

Maybe I should just petition the EPA to declare the room a Superfund site. Or invest in a can of gasoline and a match.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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