Clutter, Crime, and Calculating Coincidence in Hallie Ephron’s CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

“Emily felt as if her life, like a disordered closet, had been suddenly emptied out, assumptions upended. What to toss? What to keep? As if she had choices.”

Emily Harlow is a terrific organizer, starting with her sock drawer. Reorganizing those socks changed her life.

The video-gone-viral of her doing it sparked joy—the only emotion that should support the decision to keep or toss. It made Emily so happy that she and her friend, Becca Jain, started their own decluttering business, with a twist—they take pictures of the discarded items to keep the memory for the owners in a digital archive. Freeze-Frame Clutter Kickers is a huge success.

In keeping with the cardinal rule of decluttering—”You’re only allowed to declutter your own shit”—Emily constantly fights the urge to get rid of her husband Frank’s collections. A compulsive yard-sale shopper, Frank’s incessant second-hand buying has caused a wedge between them. Emily’s mother had advised her to pick her battles in marriage, but “the irony of her upstairs, sorting and culling, and Frank out in the world, hunting and gathering, was not lost on her.”

But life is messy.

Read the rest of my review and interview in THE BIG THRILL magazine.

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