Americans Love Clutter

Each time I go and visit the Amish, I come home with a desire to purge my home of non-essentials. I’ve been going through closets lately, filling up bags for donation. My friend Katrina says that you’re supposed to get rid of anything you haven’t worn in a year. So I took her advice and did! Filled up three bags full…called the donation pick-ups…and away it all went. To homes where things will be used!

John Steinbeck’s Travel with Charley has a funny paragraph on the American love affair with clutter…

“I can never get used to the thousands of antique shops along the roads, all bulging with authentic and attested trash from an earlier time. I believe the population of the thirteen colonies was less than four million souls, and every one of them must have been frantically turning out tables, chairs, china, glass, candle molds, and oddly shaped bits of iron, copper, and brass for future sale to twentieth-century tourists. There are enough antiques for sale along the roads of New England alone to furnish the houses of a population of fifty million.”

A fair amount of those things ended up in my parents’ garage!

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Mocha with Linda says:

    I laughed the first time I went to an antique store when we were newly married. It looked like my mom's kitchen! Half the stuff they had in there, she still had. I told her, "Forget the inheritance, leave me the kitchen!"

    My parents could not throw anything away. I think it stemmed from growing up in the Depression. You would be amazed how much junk we threw out 1) after my dad died, and 2) 6 years later when we moved my mom into assisted living, and 3) 8 years later when she died. My dad had not only kept Every. Single. Bill. He also kept them in their original envelopes, including all the little ad inserts.

  2. An Amish Table says:

    I couldn't agree with you more Suzanne! Since I have read your book Amish Wisdom, I have been ridding my house and life of clutter. I also suggest you check out my friends book "Me Simplified" by Besty Kramer. She lost her house completely to a fire! She learned the hard way what matters most in one's life and the importance of putting first God and family! Check it out here:

  3. Heather Hansen says:

    This is just too funny. Just this morning I was complaining to my dad how cluttered my room is and how I need a couple bookcases. I think I'll rid of some stuff instead…and see what I can donate. Thanks for writing this 🙂