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Types of Clutter and How to Deal with Them

Updated on October 30, 2015

To a lot of people, clutter is clutter and it is a mess no matter how they look at it. However, it is interesting to note that there are actually many different kinds of clutter and understanding the kind of clutter you make is one way of finally getting in the right track of putting things in order. It really is astounding to think that something as messy and unorganized as clutter actually falls into different categories—call it “controlled chaos” since the terms seems to work perfectly here.

Different Types of Clutter

Below are the different types of clutter that people normally have in their homes. Take a moment to consider these definitions as you look at the mess in your home. If you find your kinds of clutter in the list, do not worry because you will be given tips on how to de-clutter your home.

Aspirational Clutter

This might sound a bit implausible. How can messy, unsightly clutter be inspirational? Are you one of those people who keep clothes from their younger days in the hopes that someday they’ll fit into them again? Do you have crocheting stuff at the bottom of your drawer or expensive running gear gathering dust in a corner? Simply defined, aspirational clutter is the kind of clutter made up of objects you buy so that you can try to prove—to yourself and others—that you are more than what you are. For instance, you buy tons of poetry and blown glass pieces to show that you are artsy. Throw in some dream-catchers, hookahs and clay masks for effect and you have aspirational clutter.

One way to stop accumulating aspirational clutter is to think long and hard about the things you bring into your home. The rule of thumb is if you will not actively use that object then do not bring it into your home.

Bargain Clutter

Who hasn’t gone crazy at the sight of a big, red “sale” sign? Those signs do something to the brain and cause even the most level-headed of people to lose their cool and jump in for so-called bargains. However, how many of you have actually bought something, never used it, and answered “it was on SALE!” when asked why you bought it? One thing you need to understand about bargains is they are not bargains if you do not use them—they are clutter.

The next time you pass by a big, red sale sign you may want to detour and ignore it, especially if you know you do not have any use for it. Another technique you can use to prevent yourself from falling for the bargain trap is to ask yourself if you would ever buy those items if they were not on sale. As for those things you never use that you got on sale, you should let them go by donating them to charity or you could recoup your losses and hold a bargain sale of your own.

Trash as Clutter

Of all the types of clutter you have in your home, this is the easiest type of clutter to get rid of. you see, some of the stuff you have cluttering up your home isn’t just clutter per se but is actually trash that you can and should get rid of ASAP. What are the things that fall into this category? Think about all those shoe boxes and flyers you have lying around. Take a look at all those freebies you got at the mall and never even used. You may even count in those old gardening tools just gathering dust in your shed. Those are things you can get rid of in a pinch.

What you can do is take stock if the things around your house and if you have not used them or thought about them in the last 6 months, it means you should let them go. You obviously forgot all about them and that means they weren’t at all that important to you.

Abundance Clutter

Do you count stocking up as one of your favorite activities? Do you go out and make it a point to buy more of what you already have in the event that you might have need for them in the future? If you say “yes” to these questions and your home looks more like a stock-house than a home, you have a problem with the kind of clutter you have. Remember, it is okay to have a few extras of things that you will need in the future but if your “extras” start to take over your life and your home, you have a problem. So how do you know of you are suffering from “abundance clutter” in your house? All you need to do is take a look around and keep track of the number of bulk items you have stocked up on.

If you see piles and piles of things such as toiletries and household items that have been there for more than 6 months, you should get rid of them. If you spy a whole library of cookbooks that you are yet to open, you might as well let them go since they function more as dust catchers than anything else. One of the easiest ways to prevent yourself from accumulating abundance clutter in your home is to think like a tightwad—do not stock up on things because you might need them. Rather, hold on to your money in case you need things in the future.

Sentimental Clutter

This is the type of clutter that brings about really strong emotions. And we’re not talking about loathing and disgust—mind you—but tears and feelings of intense sentiment. After all, sentimental clutter is usually made up of things that have a strong connection to you and bring back memories so there is no way you will get rid of them just like that. Admittedly, it will be very hard for folks to get rid of this kind of clutter, but it can be done and you can do it. For one, if your wedding gown is still hanging in your closet 5 years after you got married, perhaps you can donate that or take the time to have it stored properly. If you are holding on to some baby blankets that belonged to your kids, you may want to throw away the others and just keep one.

The secret to dealing with this type of clutter is to either hold on to just one or two and keep them properly stored or keep them stored but make sure they are in a place that doesn’t bug you or take space away from things that you really need.

Why You Need to Keep Clutter Away

Managing clutter is easy if you just know what is causing it in the first place. Whether it is sentiment or something else that is holding you back, you really need to do something about it now. There is a very fine line between clutter and finding yourself living in a house that could land you on television as a hoarder. Next time you have a couple of hours, take stock of the clutter around your house and see which category they fall into so you can go about your plan of attack in getting rid of them. It will be hard at first, but you will be repaid in the form of a house that has more space and order. You can even save money since you won’t be so tempted to just go out and attack every bargain and sale that you find.

Are you the type to hoard on clutter?

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  • kgmonline profile image

    Geri MIleff 2 years ago from Czech Republic

    So true, @Claudia! There a lot of people who are in the Bargain Clutter category. It's so good to hear you can now relax in your clutter-free home. :) Thanks for sharing!

  • Claudia Mathews profile image

    Claudia Mathews 2 years ago

    I don't have clutter anymore, but used to. I guess the closest category I would have fit into was Bargain Clutter. When I had a family of 5, we had a variety of different types of clutter going on. I'll never go back to that way of living. It is so much easier to clean my home and relax in it now. Your hub will help a lot of people make sense of their space, if they take the time to follow your tips.

  • kgmonline profile image

    Geri MIleff 3 years ago from Czech Republic

    Haha, thanks, @Staysha. We probably think that at some point and then we learn something more sensible than what we thought first. :)

  • profile image

    Staysha 3 years ago

    And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me sthaigrt.

  • kgmonline profile image

    Geri MIleff 3 years ago from Czech Republic

    @DDE - I know, right? :) Clutter really sneaks up on you, and you don't realize right away that what you're buying / collecting is clutter until it is gathering in the dust.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Great hub! Clutter adds up and one you realize you have some items that you don't use A well-advised up on sorting out clutter.