How do you decide what is clutter in your home and what is not? These four clear-cut categories will help you to do this.
The four categories of clutter
My Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui book includes the method of categorizing clutter that I have developed over many years. It covers every type and quantity of it that there is. Not only that but it applies to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels too, which is helpful because most people start by clearing their physical clutter and then progress to deeper levels after that.
The four categories of clutter are:
- Things you do not use or love
- Things that are untidy or disorganized
- Too many things in too small a space
- Anything unfinished
I’m happy to say these four categories have stood the test of time, and knowing them will help you to recognize when something in your home has morphed into clutter or was clutter from the moment you first got it.
Let’s take the example of the little yellow duck in the photo at the top of this article…
Things you do not use or love
For one person, this little duck may be a cute, whimsical decorative item that they keep in their bathroom. It may bring a smile to their face whenever they see it.
But for another person, it could be an item that just sits on the window sill gathering dust. Perhaps it was a gift from a well-meaning friend so they didn’t even choose it themselves. Or a leftover toy from childhood. It could have been so long that they don’t even see it anymore. They don’t love it or use it. In other words, it’s clutter.
Things that are untidy or disorganized
The duck in the photo is not an example of the untidy or disorganized category of clutter. But the 152 items in this bathroom certainly are:
Too many things in too small a space
Three items on a window sill is not too many things in too small a space. To get that effect, add a few dozen more items and crowd them together so you can hardly see the duck or find the toothbrush.
A minimalist might consider three items to be all they need. Other people would find this a bit bleak and bare and would not feel this is complete until they have added a few more items that they love or use to make the space feel more like home.
So is the duck clutter?
To one person the duck may be clutter and to another person it’s not. That’s why everyone needs to do their own clutter clearing and never, ever clutter clear anyone else’s stuff. What may seem like junk to one person can be someone else’s most treasured possession.
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