Feel like you are just surrounded by “stuff”? Stuff to do, stuff to put away, stuff to organize or clean, stuff you are trying to locate, and so on. Let’s talk about what is clutter, what it can be a sign of and different types of clutter you can have around you. A cluttered environment can be overwhelming and stressful. Thinking about clutter, and how its impacting your life is really the first step to doing something about it.
What Is Clutter?
Clutter is a collection of disorganized and often unnecessary items that are scattered or piled up in a space, creating a sense of disorder and visual chaos. It does not mean simply having a lot of items!
Clutter can include physical objects, papers, belongings, and even digital files that accumulate and create a messy environment.
The presence of clutter can make it difficult to find things, fill up your time, cause you to feel overwhelmed, as well as negatively impact the look and function of your home or work space.
Emotional and Mental Clutter
Clutter can extend beyond our physical items to include mental and emotional clutter, such as an overwhelming number of tasks, responsibilities, or thoughts that can lead to feelings of stress and a lack of focus.
Are Clutter and Hoarding The Same Thing?
The short answer, no! Clutter usually is a result of accumulating stuff over time and can affect various areas of life, from physical spaces to digital environments. Clutter can be managed through cleaning, organizing, and decluttering.
Clearing clutter involves organizing, tidying up, and simplifying one’s surroundings, both physically and mentally, to create a more organized, functional, and peaceful environment.
Hoarding, on the other hand, is a disorder characterized by an extreme difficulty in parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. It is the accumulation of a large number of items, often to the point where living spaces become completely filled and unusable.
Hoarding can lead to isolation, health and safety hazards, strained relationships, and a decreased quality of life. Specialist help is often needed!
Types of Clutter
Clutter can show up in various forms and spaces, which you may not have even thought of. Clutter can look like…
- Piles of unopened mail and bills on countertops.
- A closet overflowing with clothes, shoes, and accessories.
- Kitchen countertops cluttered with small appliances, utensils, and food containers.
- A coffee table covered with magazines, books, and miscellaneous items.
- Toys and belongings strewn across the living room floor.
- A desk covered with papers, stationery, and office supplies.
- Cables and cords tangled together behind the computer.
- Multiple open browser tabs and digital files cluttering the computer desktop.
- Disorganized stacks of files and documents on office shelves.
- An overflowing email inbox with unread messages.
- Unused apps and icons cluttering the smartphone screen.
- Numerous desktop icons and files crowding the computer screen.
- Old and unnecessary files and folders stored on the computer’s hard drive.
- A wardrobe filled with clothes that no longer fit or are out of style.
- Shoes scattered on the closet floor with no organization.
- Accessories and bags tangled together on hooks.
- Countertops cluttered with various toiletries, products, and cosmetics.
- Expired medications and unused items taking up space in the medicine cabinet.
- Towels and bathrobes draped over shower rods and hooks.
Kid’s Room Clutter
- Toys scattered across the floor, making it difficult to walk.
- Shelves filled with unused or broken toys.
- Art supplies and crafts strewn across desks and tables.
READ: How To Organize Toys
- Tools, gardening equipment, and sports gear piled up in disarray.
- Unsorted bins of holiday decorations and seasonal items.
- Boxes of belongings from previous moves that haven’t been unpacked.
- Trash, wrappers, and items cluttering the car’s interior.
- Items like clothes, bags, and sports equipment left in the backseat.
- Glove compartment filled with old receipts, papers, and miscellaneous items.
Whatever it looks like, clutter can be a heavy weight in your life! What is the meaning of your clutter?
What Is Your Clutter Trying To Tell You?
You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Clutter could be a sign that you’re feeling overwhelmed or dealing with a busy schedule. It might indicate that you haven’t had the time or energy to properly organize your space. Do you need to slow down, or simplify?
When you are feeling overwhelmed or simply busy you may put off certain tasks or decisions. Items that pile up can represent postponed decisions about where they belong or whether they’re needed.
You’re Attached To Your Stuff
Holding onto unnecessary items could indicate emotional attachment or sentimentality. Clutter might arise from not wanting to let go of things that have meaning to you. You could also be in the challenging situation of dealing with inherited clutter. Are there sentimental items that you need to let go of?
Lack Of Systems
Clutter can be a signal that you lack effective organizational systems. Without proper places for items to belong, clutter accumulates. Do you need to think about how you are storing items?
Need For Space
Clutter might suggest you have a need for more physical and mental space. When your environment is cluttered, it can impact your ability to relax and think clearly. Is it more about visual clutter?
Clutter might be linked to unfinished projects or tasks. Items related to ongoing projects can pile up, reflecting that you need to complete or address them. What thinks have you been putting off that would be helpful to deal? Do you have any unfinished projects that you need to get rid of?
Clutter can sometimes reflect how you are feeling internally. It might be a reminder to declutter your thoughts and prioritize what’s important. Are your thoughts feeling chaotic?
READ: Feeling overwhelmed quotes for when you need a fresh perspective.
Clutter might signal that it’s time for a change. Whether it’s a change in habits, lifestyle, or surroundings, clutter can prompt you to reassess your situation. What do you need to change?
Clutter could be a sign that you haven’t been prioritizing self-care. A cluttered space can impact your well-being, so tidying up might be a form of self-care. How can you prioritize self-care?
Remember, what feels clutter can vary from person to person. Reflect on what clutter means for you personally and take steps to address it in a way that aligns with your goals and values.