What is Clutter?

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The stuff that constitutes clutter is in the eye of the beholder. Defining clutter is more about the effect that it has, not what it specifically is.

Clutter is stuff that gets in your way.

I mean that physically and figuratively. If you can’t move freely in your space, that’s clutter. If you can’t get to the things you want and use easily, that’s clutter.

If you have to make space on a given horizontal surface to put something on it (like dinner on the table), that’s clutter.

Figurative clutter is things like unfinished projects that stay out and underfoot, anything that you need to repair or repurpose but have no immediate plans to do so, clothes that don’t fit, appliances you never use and anything you’re going to “get to someday.”

The first category of clutter can be handled by figuring out where to store things and then putting them there. If there’s not enough room for that, you either acquire more storage or deacquisition some stuff. Such are the limitations of three dimensional space.

Things that fall into the second category are more challenging.

They often bring up longing for what could have been and sadness about what’s past. Sometimes they go with an identity that you’re reluctant to let go of, or a life you haven’t lived.

They are full of possibility but the possibility remains locked inside them.

I’m not going to say it’s easy to get rid of those things. It’s not. A major life transition might need to occur before you’re ready. And that brings up an important point: clinging to clutter like that creates stasis.

It makes it hard for you to move forward. It is literally holding you back.

You can wait till life kicks you in the butt. Or you can decide that you are in charge. Which one feels better?