Navalanche is a portmanteau coined by my wickedly witty son that combines the name Navah (my eBay name) and avalanche ( a sudden rush of great quantity).

A navalanche occurs when clutter that is awkwardly positioned suddenly collapses causing an even greater mess. It most often occurs when my husband bumps into a pile as he lumbers through the house.  It is usually followed by a long string of profanities and then “I’m all right”.  He is not the only person to cause a collapse so now whenever things fall someone yells “navalanche”.

So how does one achieve this extreme level of clutterdom?  I am no great mystery.  I did grow up poor in a little house with few personal possessions.  But many people were raised under similar circumstances without becoming a pack rat.

My sister Lynne believes that there is a genetic component to my affliction.  Our father collected odds and ends and loved repurposing items that were destined for the trash.  He also had coffee cans of nuts, bolts and such but everyone’s father I knew did the same thing.  I am confident my problem is directly linked to my mother.  My mother was an alcoholic, a mean one.  When my sisters and I “misbehaved”, her favorite punishment was to burn our things, literally.  It would start with yelling and then if we did not look contrite enough, she would open the bedroom window and throw whatever she could find onto the burn pile below.  She would then grab a beer and burn, baby, burn.  (Note: my mother didn’t really grasp the idea that having a burn pile within a couple feet of a wood frame house wasn’t really a great idea, but that is another story.)  So when you are young and have few possessions, watching them go up in flames definitely has a negative impact.

So now, I’m all grown up and relatively smart.  My mother and I developed an adult relationship, by which I mean that I continually begged her to stop drinking and she told everyone that I “had a problem with beer”.  (I did have a problem with beer, her drinking it.)  So why isn’t the clutter under control?  I accept that I have a problem but I haven’t learned to control it.

So what does the clutter consist of?  I love utilitarian objects.  My passion is lamps, chairs and sewing machines.  Lamps are the biggest problem.  Floor, table and chandelier, I have them all in unusual quantity.  My husband complains that these objects don’t stack well.  I think he could be satisfied if I kept the lamps and chairs and purged everything else.

So what is it that I hope to accomplish?  The ultimate goal is to reduce the clutter to a point where I can actually display and enjoy the things I love the most.  Deciding what needs to go will be painful.  It’s going to be a long journey.


  1. I have Navalanche’s all the time at my home! My current goal is to get rid of anything in our home that is not essential. It is going to take some time but I’m doing something toward the goal each day.

    • It’s good to know that I am not the only one. And the word “essential” should be my new mantra. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I am amazed there is someone else that lives like me! Everyone else seems so perfect. I have never been in a house “out of order”, which makes me feel even more abnormal. I am working on it a little at a time as well. I have learned that I might not need everything “someday”. Hugs to you and good luck on your continued progress. ~Madeline Siel
    P.S. I was enlighted because you said “husband”. I keep thinking, no one is going to marry me with a house like this!

    • Thanks for commenting! I am surrounded by “perfect”, also. And I have soooo many “someday” items that I cling to. As far as my husband, it is hard for him but he designates “NO Karen Zones” around the house for his own peace of mind. If you have any suggestions or breakthroughs, please let me know! -Karen

  3. I just recently lost 2 hurricane lamps in a fire. I found an image of one on your page. Would you be interested in selling it? If not, can you tell me who the manufacturer is. It’s a 2 piece hurricane. White with blue flowers. Thanks!

    • Sorry, new job and I haven’t checked my blog lately. The hurricane lamp with blue flowers is a Quoizel Abigail Adams, I believe. They come in different sizes and I’m not sure which one I have as it is not easily accessible at this moment. I’ll check and see.

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