Why is my House Full of Kipple?


Recently, I re-read and old favourite book of mine: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick.  I read this book back in high school, and watched the cult masterpiece Blade Runner just shortly after. Until recently, I forgot about the term kipple, as it held no relevance in my life in the 80’s.  It was the beginning of consumerism, but nothing like it is today.

The protagonist J.R.Isadore, in the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, refers to kipple as, “useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers….”

My two children have no understanding of consumerism.  They just want to have what they want, when they want it.  Which leads me to my current problem: why is my home so full of crap? Back in my early years, I always prided myself on my lack of clutter.  I had some personal items, and a few pieces of furniture.  This made moving easy in those years, when I was in school, coming back home for the summer, or going off to do summer stock theatre.

After I got married, and then had children, the “stuff” started to collect.  There were wedding gifts, and hand-me-downs from family and our combined items from our single life. Then came the kids, and the shower gifts and more hand-me-downs.  I swore that I would never let my home get bogged down with junk.

But here I am, in January of 2013, living with more kipple than I could ever imagine. Like J.R. Isadore said, I wake up every morning with more stuff in my home than I went to bed with.  Bus transfers and receipts seem to only the tip of the iceberg in my ever growing pile.  I try to keep on top of it by discarding useless items and recycling old newspapers and receipts, shredding sensitive documents and generally sorting out my son’s drawings from the keep to recycle pile (my kids draw a lot, and only use the one side).  It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.

At one point, I made a rule that no old junk was allowed in the house – you know the stuff – a kindly neighbour or friend or teacher thought you might want the stuff that they want to get rid of, in other words, their old crap.  But somehow I failed miserably in that department.  I tried to say no, in fact I sometimes even blatantly refused to accept it, but they would just sneak the clutter in.

Many times, I would put it on the curb long before it even made it into the house, for fear that it might get lost with all of the other kipple.  Reduce, reuse, recycle has become a full time job, one that I wish I could be released from.