What is clutter?

You’ve likely heard the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Do you believe that every item you possess is a treasure? Perhaps that is the reason why you continue to hold on to it. The idea that it is a treasure for you may be true in one or more ways. For instance, something may have financial value and be worth a lot of money if sold. It may have value to you because you paid a significant amount of money to purchase it. An item may have sentimental or emotional value regardless of its perceived or real financial worth. Another type of value is related to an items function. You may hold on to  the item because it is helpful to you now or was in the past because of its usefulness.

If you find that clutter is of concern to you or others who share your space and have difficulty deciding what to keep and what not to keep, you are in the right place! Rather than worry about whether your reasoning for holding onto things (this includes papers) is right or wrong, I recommend that you ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I love it?
  • Does it make me feel happy when I use it or look at it?
  • Do I need it?
  • Could I replace it if I let go of it and needed it or something like it?
  • Do I use it?
  • Do I display it?
  • Does it work (operate, in good repair)?
  • How many of these do I currently own?
  • How many of these do I need?
  • How long has it been stored or contained?
  • What would happen if I donated, gifted, or sold it?
  • How is it serving me? Others?
  • Is it representative of what I want and need?
  • Is it moving me towards my goals?
  • Does it align with my values?
  • Is it aesthetically pleasing?

See if these questions can guide and empower you to release the clutter. You can use the answers to define what is clutter in your mental and physical space.