What is clutter? – Why is your clutter different to mine?
The definition of ‘clutter’ can be tricky.
I struggled for some time to truly understand and – equally important being a Clutterfree Life Coach – to explain the meaning of ‘clutter’ to my clients.
As I wanted to help them make confident decisions about the clutter in their homes, I needed a definition of ‘clutter’ that was comprehensive and broadly applicable but also clear and simple.
Studying numerous organising and decluttering books and the approaches of several renowned experts in this area helped me to have closer look at ‘clutter’ from different angles. (Click here for my favourite clutter-quotes from experts.)
Discussing the issue with other professional organisers and with my clients brought interesting insights but not the one and only explanation of clutter that everyone could agree on.
It seems that we all have our own ideas about the meaning of clutter!
And that’s exactly, I now believe, the answer to the clutter question:
There is no one final definition because we all define clutter in a very personal and unique way.
Clutter is in the eye of the beholder.
If you decide that something you have in your home/life is clutter, it’s clutter. If you decide something isn’t clutter, it’s no clutter. No matter what someone else thinks.
Our personal situation and our individual values, beliefs and perceptions determine what clutter is – it can mean something different for each of us.
Clutter can be anything that we keep in our life although it doesn’t serve us.
Clutter is not restricted to physical stuff.
Any area of our life can get cluttered.
Clutter can show up as
- Stuff in our home that we don’t need, use, love.
- Thoughts in our mind that don’t serve us.
- Feelings in our heart that disturb our wellbeing.
- Actions in our daily life that draw us away from where we want to go.
- Results in our life that keep us stuck.
The most damaging category of clutter is the clutter in our mind.
This type of clutter – all the self-limiting thoughts and unsupportive beliefs – is so powerful because the mind-clutter causes all the other types of clutter in our life:
A cluttered overwhelming home, unhappy relationships, dissatisfying careers, unhealthy habits, an unfit body, financial problems, etc. – these types of clutter problems all have the same cause: clutter-thoughts.
However, it’s within our power to take back control and clear up the mess in our mind – and in our life.
In fact, our mind can become our best and most supportive friend – if we take the initiative and learn how to manage what’s going on up there and how to get rid of any thought patterns that don’t serve us.
We need awareness and decisiveness to take decluttering-action.
If we are not fully aware of our values and priorities, of our purpose and our goals in life, we struggle to decide what’s meaningful to us and what’s not, what serves us and what doesn’t.
That’s the reason why we neglect, postpone or completely avoid making decisions about what we want or don’t want to have in our life.
And that’s the reason why my simple and clear decluttering approach has 3 steps:
- Gaining awareness
- Making decisions
- Taking action