I Want to Fix That Mess Mr. Jonathan Ames

I Want to Fix That Mess Mr. Jonathan Ames

Ethan Hill for The New York Times

Ethan Hill for The New York Times

Jonathan Ames wrote an essay about his living conditions that left me twitchy and excited. Excited to get to work on a project like his apartment. Now here is a mess, a literal and literary mess and one in which the main challenges would be that Mr. Ames hates change and uses his books as armor against the future.

So how would I convince a depressed, self confessed book hoarder to relinquish this sorry state? First, I would, with all the sincerity I possess, reassure him that not one single book would be harmed in the process. He would be pleased to know that I am a professional organizer who loves books and doesn't mind book clutter so long as there is meaning and love in each and every title, tattered or unread.

There would be no kinder thing he could do for his books than to rescue them from their perilous stacks and at the very least, place them in smaller, tidier less dangerous stacks in the appropriate furniture meant for storing books. I'm talking about shelves,  loads of shelves.  All his street furniture could stay and we could even go out and grab a few more bookshelves on the curbs of Brooklyn Heights late at night. This is because I know Mr. Ames is not an Elfa system kind of man.

Ethan Hill for The New York Times

Ethan Hill for The New York Times

Together we could take down his "Shroud of Turin curtains" and replace them with dark blue cordurouy drapes that would offer the right blue-tinted dreary light he needs to maintain his permanent seasonal affective disorder. I'd recommend the sauciest spanish cleaning lady I could find to attend to the serious work of his kitchen, bathroom and the nightstand.

While he trails behind the house cleaner, I'd move kipple around. I'd take out my label maker and bins and do that sorting thing we organizers like to do. There is probably plenty of  kipple he isn't aware of and wouldn't mind getting rid of.

It would be an upheaval, a massive undertaking, and I would be so very in my element, enjoying every moment. Such is the way of all organizing endeavors of this category. But I have stamina and an inhaler. I would persist until the piles were gone. I would take in my work and leave. It would be a pleasure to help a fellow reader, writer and depressive.

No charge, Mr. Ames. This one's on me.

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