Friday, December 12, 2008

More on Defining Clutter...

A good question was recently posted in the comments on Focus Challenge - Month 9.

Sometimes, items put away nice and neatly stay under the Decluttering Radar or confuse us. I thought this would be a good post for most of us to read, just to make sure our Decluttering Radars are still charged up and ready. :-)

My answer follows Jacqui's question. What do you think? Do they count as clutter? I'd love to hear your input!

Jacqui said...

Do boxes stored in the attic and in the garage count as clutter? =) I have a hard time letting go. It's definitely getting easier since I'm running out of room to neatly store things out of sight. I'm mostly an "a place for everything, everything in it's place" person. But with the kids accumulating more things and with my sewing obsession (without a room to put it in), its getting harder to store them neatly. My daughter has no problem letting go of most things, but my son is more like me. Of course Mike would just like to see it all go. LOL

Blogger Suzanne said...

Jacqui: First, hello my long-lost friend!!! :-)

Clutter is any thing you don't Love, Want, Need or Use. Defining your own things as clutter or not is only a decision you can make.

Items stored in boxes, whether in an attic, garage, on a closet shelf or just on the floor are only clutter if they don't meet the above criteria.

- Do you want them? This is probably yes, since you've taken care to store them away. But, sometimes, this is the easiest question to answer because we surprise ourselves and realize that, no, we don't want them. So, out it must go!

- Do you use these things? If no, then they are clutter. Decide to use them and do it, or realize that you need less physical clutter in your life and let them go. When you purge the physical clutter, the mental clutter follows it out the door. Imagine, not having the friction against Mike's desires and your own, not forgetting what you have and spending money on more, not feeling emotional mental clutter about it (see next item), etc.

- Do you love them...or do they make you sad, feel guilty, make your life feel inadequate (as in you wish you had time for other interests, but don't, and these things just remind you of that dissatisfaction), etc.? If they bring on unhappy feelings, they are clutter.

- Do you need them? If they are used and loved, then think about whether you need them. For example: Say you have one of something in your kitchen but have another that a relative gave you. That one isn't really your favorite so you put it away for "special occasions". If you bring it out and use it, then only you can decide whether its useful in your life to have a duplicate of something. If you are only keeping the second because of mental clutter, let it go. Find it a better home. Selling or giving things to someone who WILL use, love, need and want them will not be clutter to them, as they were to you.

Happy Decluttering!

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