We may have decided that we have too much clutter and we want to get rid of it, but what is it exactly? How do we decide which of our possessions are clutter and which are precious and useful? What is the truth about clutter? Well fear not as I’m about to reveal all.

At it’s simplest a definition of clutter is ‘things we don’t use’. But like everything in life it’s not that simple. Clutter can also be defined as things you don’t love, things you don’t have room for, things you can’t afford and things that don’t love you.

Things You Don’t Use

This should be the easiest category; after all we know what we use and what we don’t use, don’t we?

Well apparently not, or we wouldn’t have so much clutter. The trouble is we muddle our thinking with concepts like “I might use it one day.”

Forget one day. Do you use it today? Have you used it in the last year? Have you ever used it? If the answer to two or more of these questions is no, then the item in question is probably clutter.

Things You Don’t Love

Mad as it may seem we have plenty of possessions that we don’t love. Perhaps we used to love them but our tastes have changed, and the fact that we paid good money for them means that we can’t possibly give them away; can we? Yes of course you can.

Or perhaps they were a gift and it would be terribly churlish to give a gift away, even if the giver never knows; wouldn’t it? No, it wouldn’t be churlish, especially if the giver remains in blissful ignorance. You can appreciate the thought, but if you keep every gift you don’t like, then you will develop a very big clutter problem indeed!

Things You Don’t Have Room For

Storage is finite. This is a concept worth remembering. Lets say you collect Willow Pattern plates. You love them, so they can’t possibly be clutter, but you don’t have any more room to display them; so they end up in boxes in your attic. Surely your precious plates can’t be clutter? Well, yes they can if you don’t have room for them.

Unless you’re about to move to a bigger house, or open a museum, items you don’t have room for are clutter. Beautiful as they may be, if they are stored in boxes where no one can see them they might as well be ugly.

Things You Can’t Afford

My garden gnome collection definitely isn’t clutter because I love my gnomes to death. I have a large garden where I display them, and I go out every evening and gaze lovingly at every one of them whilst I polish their pointy hats, and all my friends get a gnome-tour whenever they visit; so they are definitely used. Although I do have a slight debt problem because the best gnomes can be quite pricey.”

You’re deluded. Your garden gnome collection, precious as it is to you, is clutter because you can’t afford it and it’s sending you deeper into debt every time you buy one. I’m not suggesting that you get rid of them all, just know when it’s to stop adding to the collection.

Things That Don’t Love You

A strange concept you might think, but some possessions don’t love you. Like those clothes which are too small for you and make you feel fat every time you look at them, or the photo of the boyfriend who dumped you in a callous fashion, or the souvenir from the Spanish holiday where you got food poisoning and spent most of the week in hospital.

Possessions which remind you of things you’d rather forget are clutter. Who needs to be reminded of the negative experiences in life when you could be surrounded by items which make you feel on top of the world?

The Truth About Clutter

Not many people know the truth about clutter, but those who do can forge ahead with their lives, without being sabotaged by their possessions. Now that you know the truth about clutter use this knowledge wisely; to improve not just your home, but your entire life.