Identifying Clutter

Identifying Clutter

Things you never use

  • Books you have never read, and never will
  • kitchen gadgets you have only used once or twice and then decided you couldn’t be bothered to get them out again (or they were too difficult to clean)
  • pictures and ornaments in storage that you don’t have room to display
  • electrical equipment that you never use because it has been superseded by a newer version

… yes, all these things are clutter!

Things you don’t like

Even more bizarre is that people possess things that they don’t even like!

Unwanted gifts are a large part of this clutter category: people feel guilty about getting rid of a present from a friend or relative. Other items which fall into the category of unliked possessions are clothes you once bought which you now realise don’t suit you, but for some reason you still keep: shoes which pinch your feet: gadgets which are just to difficult to use: curtains which now no longer go with your décor or are hopelessly old fashioned, (the list could go on).

Things that are broken

Possessions which are broken add to a person’s clutter quota and yet are often still hung onto for inexplicable reasons.

Maybe you intend to glue together that broken ornament, tape up that torn poster, reassemble the components to that old stereo, source new parts for that incomplete board game. But good intentions don’t always translate into actions. How many broken things have you mended recently? I am guessing not many if you are the average person. When will you find time to mend them? Probably never if you are honest with yourself. Maybe you feel sentimental about the broken item and that is the reason you are keeping it.

Things that are obsolete

This clutter category mainly consists of electrical items: computers, cameras, videos, TV’s, etc.

You buy a new TV because it has a sharper picture, surround sound, wide screen or whatever, but then you keep the old one. You justify this strange action by saying to yourself that the old one is still working, the new one may go wrong and then you would be glad you kept the old one, or a friend or relative may need a TV one day and would surely be glad to be given your old one (of course they would, keep kidding yourself).

Things you don’t know you have

Your loft, for example, is probably full of stuff, but do you actually know what is up there?

If all your loft clutter disappeared in a puff of smoke, would you know what you had lost? Do you frequently climb up into your loft and get down things and actually use them? Maybe the Christmas decorations once a year, but anything else? Be honest. After all, if you used these items frequently you wouldn’t keep them in the loft in the first place. You would keep them somewhere more accessible. Apart from the Christmas decorations, or things like camping equipment which are used infrequently but are still used, most possessions get put in the loft because they are not used. Loft clutter is very similar to garage clutter or cellar clutter.

Things you can’t find

This clutter category is very common. Many people know that they have things but when the time comes to use these items then they can’t find them.

This throws up a tricky dilemma. Do you turn the house upside down looking for the obstinately missing item, or do you buy another, knowing perfectly well that you already have one? After several hours spent looking among your clutter,(worst case scenario), you may well decide to buy another item. The missing object will, of course, surface as soon you have made the purchase. It sounds silly but it happens all to frequently. The bottom line is this: if you can’t find it, then there’s no point in having it.

Things you don’t know how to use

Items which you have but don’t know how to use, can be remote controls, camera gadgets, computer accessories, or similar.

If you don’t know how to use something then you won’t use it. The deceptively simple solution here is to find out. Find the instruction booklet and read it. Or if this is too complicated (as they so often are), find someone who is technically competent and reads instruction manuals just for fun, and get them to explain it to you in a jargon free manner. If all this sounds like to much trouble, then maybe you should consider just getting rid of the gadget that you can’t use. If you don’t care enough about the object to find out how to use it then it is probably clutter. Sell it and not only will you have some extra cash but you will have one object less cluttering up your home.

Things that stir up bad memories (or make you feel bad)

Valentines card from boyfriends who ditched you, clothes which you are now to plump to wear, educational games which you never found time to play with your children, your old wedding ring from your unsuccessful marriage.

These are examples of clutter which generates bad feelings and this is the worst kind of clutter. If you keep something in a drawer or in the loft in a box because you can’t bear to look at it, then why are you keeping it? If a possession of yours stirs up bad memories, of a disastrous date, exam, or catastrophe, then you shouldn’t keep it around to remind you. If it is valuable sell it, if not just throw it away or give it to the local charity shop/school fair.

Everyone has occasions in their life that they would rather forget about. Only keep items that make you feel happy, confident, and evoke positive memories and feelings. All of us deserve to be happy. Don’t let your clutter drag you down emotionally. You own your clutter, your clutter doesn’t own you. You decide what to keep and what to get rid of.

Related Blog Posts:

Four Golden Rules for Identifying Clutter

Ten Items You Should Never Keep

Ten More Items You Should Never Keep