Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Taxonomy of Clutter

The article, found on Facebook, was titled 11 Things in Your Home That Are Making You Unhappy, and I couldn't resist clicking through. Though flawed (inevitably) by the "how to be more like me" bias, I thought the conclusions seemed pretty helpful.

(Remember, "All models are wrong, but some of them are useful.")

It also introduced me to several kinds of clutter. Do you, or people you love, pile up stuff for these reasons?
  1. Sentimental clutter: Do you have furniture, knickknacks, or other "treasures" that were once important to you, received as a gift, or passed down through your family? And do you feel bad whenever you see them because they no longer have the magic and you feel guilty getting rid of them or giving them away? Your heirlooms may have become sentimental clutter.
  2. Bargain clutter: Who can resist when stuff is free or on sale? Swag from conferences, great deals, and things that seem to good to pass up but don't look so good as time goes by may have morphed into bargain clutter.
  3. Abundance clutter: And what about those extra items that you might need someday? If you are so fully stocked, with backups for your backups, that you can't find things or forget what you already have, you might be amassing abundance clutter.
  4. Aspirational clutter: A stash of books or magazines you mean to read or an excess of tools or hobby supplies that triggers guilty feelings may be reminding you of the time you thought you'd have (but don't) or the person you thought you'd become (but haven't). It could be aspirational clutter.
What do you think of this taxonomy? "When we understand why we are holding onto clutter, it makes it easier to get rid of it," says one author.

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