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Writer Sloane Crosley on decluttering and the one utensil she can’t live without

At home in New York City with the author Sloane Crosley, on the occasion of her new book, The Clasp

Antony Crook

Essayist-turned-novelist Sloane Crosley has lived in four apartments in her 16 years as a New Yorker. The newly-minted Vanity Fair columnist—whose most recent book, The Clasp, comes out in paperback on June 7— took a breather after her recent book tour (aka "eating Caesar salad at the Doubletree in Houston, Texas") to let us pepper her with questions about her life at home in Manhattan.

What's the object you own that's most loaded with meaning?

That's tough, because I'm a writer and sentimental about inanimate things. I tend to only keep decorative objects if they have meaning. But I'd say its a tie between a pocket compass and a bottle of wine given to me by my first New York neighbor, who died on 9/11.

What's an item you're embarrassed to show guests but could never get rid of?

A massive framed Kula Shaker poster that comes with a story about an all-nighter in Edinburgh. Do you know Kula Shaker? They're a post-Brit pop psychedelic band. There are no words to express how ugly this thing is, but it's come with me to every apartment for 16 years. I also have some framed pieces of my own press, which is gross. They were gifts from people who care about me, but I could always store them in the back of the closet. At least they're in the bathroom. I think it was Tina Brown who once said that you should frame your nice press -- but hang it above the toilet.

What object would people be surprised to find you own?

A hotplate and a pair of driving gloves.

What's the object you use most?

A pair of titanium scissors. They're not fancy, they're just really good scissors. I also have these ice-cream bowls that I eat everything out of. I'll mix up eggs, mozzarella and rosemary and eat it out of an ice-cream bowl. I feel like I'm washing them all the time and if one of them is unavailable because it's being used for leftovers, I notice immediately.

What is the most exotic object in your apartment and where'd you find it?

A wooden mask from a village in Ivory Coast, but I didn't find it—my cousin lived there and he brought it back for me.

Do you have any furniture/items leftover from your college days?

Not a stick, but I also went to a kind of campus-on-a-hill college where most of our furniture was dorm furniture. I guess the last object to fall was a pink lawn flamingo that a friend had turned into a lamp, but the flamingo went the way of the dodo five years ago.

Have you collected anything to the point that you are now A Collector?

In my first book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake, I have an essay about accidentally collecting plastic toy ponies. Those are gone now, but every once in a while, a reader will send me a pony. I'm hoping a similar thing happens with The Clasp because it's about jewelry.

Thunder Round

How often do you use your kitchen? Everyday that I'm home, but "use" could entail opening the fridge and frowning.

Entertain at home or meet friends out? Out.

De-clutterer or packrat (i.e. Kondo or No Kondo)? Ineffective de-clutterer.

Wallpaper or white walls? White walls. Though there's one I painted "Hawaiian breeze."

Night owl or early riser? Both. It's a nightmare.

Apartamento or Architectural Digest? Architectural Digest, in theory.

Name the books on your bedside table. Don DeLilo's Zero K, Jean Stein's West of Eden, E. M. Cioran's The Trouble With Being Born, and the Fall 2015 issue of The Paris Review.

The Clasp is out in paperback on June 7th from Picador. Follow Sloane Crosley on Twitter.