Launch 2021 with Jennifer Howard and a discussion of her book, Clutter: An Untidy History, an expansive assessment of our relationship to the things that share and shape our lives, in conversation with Meredith Hindley. Howard sets her own personal struggle with clutter against a meticulously researched history of just how the developed world came to drown in material goods.

PLEASE NOTE: In response to the developing situation in Washington, D.C., and out of respect for the author, moderator, and bookseller, all of whom are located in D.C., we have decided to reschedule this Shelf Life virtual event. This event will now take place on Tuesday, January 12 at 12 PM ET, on Zoom and Facebook Live. If you have already registered through Eventbrite to attend the event on Zoom, the registration link you received in your confirmation email will still work for the later date. If you have any questions, please email us at  

As part of the Virginia Festival of the Book’s ongoing Shelf Life virtual series, this event is FREE to attend and open to the public. To attend, please register below to take part on Zoom or simply make plans to watch the livestream on

“Define use and beauty: Does an object matter because of its associations or because of what it can do? What does possessing it cost in time, money, or mental and environmental health?”

Jennifer Howard, Clutter: An Untidy History

“Jennifer Howard has written a brilliant and beautiful meditation on the nature of our attachment to things. Reading Clutter made me long for a life without clutter.” ―Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times bestselling author

“Howard’s exploration of one dark corner of consumer culture is quick-witted and insightful―and, appropriately for the subject, refreshingly concise. … A keen assessment of one of society’s secret shames and its little-understood consequences.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“In her stern and wide-ranging new manifesto, “Clutter: An Untidy History,” journalist Jennifer Howard takes the anti-clutter message a step further. Howard argues that decluttering is not just a personally liberating ritual, but a moral imperative, a duty we owe both to our children and to the planet.” ―Jennifer Reese, Washington Post


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