There are some days when you curse the invention of scissors. Useful as they may be – in the hands of certain individuals – scissors qualify as menaces to society, particularly when they are in the vicinity of magazines and newspapers.
Speaking as the offspring of inveterate clippers, we count ourselves among the legions of un-medicated survivors of a lifelong onslaught of unwelcome articles, foisted upon us by well-intentioned parents. This makes us all too familiar with the excesses of unrepentant clipping. We know there are many of you out there; never content until your daily newspaper resembles a giant lopsided black and white doily. Never mind that someone else in your household may have wanted to read the scores of last night’s game, letters to the editor or do a crossword. Your passion for surgically extracting and possessing information about a medical breakthrough or the best places for Burmese cuisine far outweighs the mundane need of the others who share your home.
Allow us to elaborate on the logic employed by clippers. Rather than leaving an article intact in the periodical in which it resides, clippers believe the act of clipping elevates an article to a higher status. Their intentions are noble. The plan is to either to read it (when time allows at some future date), put it in a file drawer (the equivalent of burial), or to pass it on to someone else who needs to read it (as in articles about women who marry after 40 that are left surreptitiously for one’s 42-year-old daughter, in hopes she still has time to reproduce). There is also a re-cycling component to this line of thinking which goes like this: “I will just save the clipping and recycle the rest of the magazine.”
Walking into a home rampant with teetering piles of ragged-edged glossy papers and yellowed newsprint is enough to make you want to unleash an outburst of spontaneous combustion. Despite the good intentions, clippings are rarely collected in an organized manner. Clippings are a highly noxious example of C.R.U.D. – as an infestation of silverfish will attest.
Not all clippings are equal. The following are ones we are most apt to find on our organizing expeditions with clients:
Major Historical Events – Examples: The Kennedy Assassination, 9/11, anything to do with Princess Di’s death. People actually save the entire paper when there are six column headlines like these.
Recipes – Placed inside of cookbooks for safe keeping.
Travel Destinations – Articles on romantic hideaways in countries that are on the State Department Travel Warnings list.
Self-Improvement – Topics include diet and fitness fads, face lifts without surgery and how to eke out a living while paying off student loans.
Obituaries – Better them than you.
Try this for a change. If cancelling subscriptions is simply not an option, try subscribing to your favorite publications online. Most news organizations provide similar or identical content on their websites to what they produce in print. Use your ‘favourites’ bar to clip and bookmark irresistible information. Not only will you have all of the knowledge in one location, no bigger than a breadbox, but retrieving articles becomes a snap.
As for the collection you have amassed already? Attempt to whittle it down to what you can digest in a month’s time and recycle the rest. And the scissors? Keep them in your sewing basket or desk drawer. You will still need a pair for cutting up credit cards and fending off intruders.