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News Story
Updated: 10/31/2013 08:00:02AM

DeSoto native sets his sights on local pack rats

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY LUKE WILSON

DeSoto County's new answer to local hoarders is native son Lewis Parker, pictured with granddaughter Sydalee Taylor.

By LUKE WILSON

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Running out of room? Too much stuff? Well, Arcadia native Lewis has just the answer for you. Parker has begun a new business here in Desoto County called “Clutter Busters,” and its name defines exactly what it is — relief for pack rats and many others.

We all know someone who has a barn, an outer building, or even just a room that is overflowing with countless items that have turned into clutter that they could live without. Perhaps you’ve inherited the trappings of a hoarder or collector due to the death of a spouse, family member, or friend. Or maybe you’re just fed up with having too much stuff and not enough space for it. Parker’s new endeavor appears to be your answer to it.

Lewis Parker is a descendant of the Parker family who helped settle DeSoto County in the 1800s, and is a 1973 graduate of DeSoto High School. He attended college at the University of South Florida, receiving AA and BA degrees in 1979 and 1980, respectively.

He came home to Arcadia, wondering what to do next, and one day while riding past the jail, Sheriff Frank Cline saw him and motioned him to come with his finger. “What are you doing, boy?” Cline asked.

“Well, I’m looking for a job,” Parker said.

“Come inside, and I’ll give you one,” was the reply. The Parkers and Clines had been friends for generations, and Parker credits this encounter as the thing that got his career started as an EMT/jailer. Cline was adamant about training, and kept his budget low by having employees who could do various jobs. “I think he might’ve hired me just so he could keep an eye on me,” he jokes.

Parker went on to work in Glades and Sarasota counties as a probation officer before moving back to Arcadia around 1983, where he also served as a probation officer until 1986. He then went to work for the Florida Parole Commission. In 2004 he became a correctional officer with the local road camp, overseeing a labor crew of inmates, and retired from the state on January 31, 2013.

Parker had always wanted to work for himself, and after some warehouse auctions caught his attention, he came up with his idea for Clutter Busters. He reasoned that many people collect exceptional amounts of possessions, only to leave it behind to family who have no idea what to do with all of it. That’s where he comes in with his idea and services.

“I’ve heard people say they’ve been people pack-ratting for years,” said Parker, “and they don’t want to put their kids through that” (the disposal of items, after they’re gone).

Clutter Busters is a means to transport items to someone’s storage units or haul items to the landfill, and Parker can assist with an estate sale or yard sale as well. He is licensed and insured, well-versed in state laws and regulations, and willing to even trade off his services for items in some cases, and no money would change hands. He may also be willing to purchase items himself. His consultations are free and he will work by the job or by the hour, depending on the customer’s preference or situation.

Parker, 57, married Stella Parnell in 1979. The couple has two sons and a four-year-old granddaughter. He cares deeply about local history and heritage, and has a passion for old buildings and the old ways of Florida living.

Parker’s business card claims he is the solution to all things hoarded in sheds, barns, storage units, and residential and commercial items, and that he specializes in disposing of unwanted junk. It even has an illustration of the actual pack rat mammal, as well as a definition of it. The second definition is of the two-legged variety, the kind we all know personally, or perhaps the kind we are ourselves.

As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” so pack rats (or family members of pack rats), Clutter Busters may be just the answer to your need to get your space back. Call Parker at 863-990-0273.


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