What is Clutter? - From Chaos to Peace

What is clutter? There is more to clutter than most people think!

This is what comes to my mind: physical clutter including paper clutter, digital clutter, mental clutter, social clutter, emotional clutter, there is even spiritual clutter. And this clutter can be divided into 4 categories, listen in to hear more about it. 

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Episode Transcript

Welcome everyone how is it going, this is episode number 2 of the From Chaos to Peace podcast, thank you so much for being here. I am so excited that you are listening in, and want to hear what all is clutter and what clutter is all about. 

What do you think of when you hear the word clutter? A messy house, an overflowing closet, a garage filled to the brim? 

There is a quote by Eleanor Brownn,  an internationally-recognized inspirational speaker, writer, self care coach and workshop leader, she says: 

Clutter is not just physical stuff.It's old ideas,toxic relationships, and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does notsupport your better self.
Then Karen Kingston talks in her bestselling book “Clear your clutter with Feng Shui”  that per her definition there are four categories of clutter:

  • things you don’t use or love
  • things that are untidy or disorganized
  • too many things in too small a space
  • anything unfinished

Again, even reading this, some might only think of the physical clutter in their house, garage, office, or car. But there is so much more to clutter, these are the levels that come to my mind:

  • physical clutter including paper clutter
  • digital clutter
  • mental clutter
  • social clutter
  • emotional clutter

There is also spiritual clutter but that’s a whole other ballgame that I’d like to leave for another time.

So are you surprised? When I talk to people, they understand physical and digital clutter but have no idea what mental, social or emotional clutter could be.

Tho give you a little glimpse into these different kinds of clutter, let’s explore each of these categories with the five levels I came up with. 

Things You Don’t Use Or Love
Physical Clutter
This is probably the easiest and most obvious, all the physical things that you own that you don’t use and also don’t love. This includes paper clutter like books, magazines, clippings, documents, flyers etc. 
Digital Clutter:
It's also the digital footprint that we leave behind online with anything and everything that exists about us online or on your devices like emails, photos, digital files, services we are signed up for, online banking, medical records and the list goes onSaved files and emails that you never will need to refer back to, unread emails that are older than 1-3 months, thousands of photos that clog up your phone or computer drive
Mental Clutter:
Old ideas that have nothing to do with your current life, negative self-talk.
Social Clutter:
Old friends, you have nothing in common anymore, new friends that drain your energy and pull you down
Emotional Clutter:
hanging on to anger and frustration and staying in victim mode instead of working through it in order to let go and move on. 

Things that are untidy or disorganized
Physical Clutter
Even if you use and love your stuff if things don’t have a home it’s hard to find them, they clutter up your surfaces because you have nowhere to go with them, and the chaos can be a drain on your energy
Digital Clutter
Even if you don’t have useless files on your computer, if you have no system on how and where to save these files, you will pull your hair if you need to find something
Mental Clutter
Bad habits and too much information aimlessly put into your mind creates a thought chaos and you lose focus of what’s important, get frazzled and overwhelmed. 
Social Clutter
this is a little harder to spot, but I’d say if you don’t know what priority a relative or friend has in your life you can easily fill your precious time with the wrong people. When somebody that you care about needs your support and help but you have no time for them because you don't have your priorities straight and give your time freely to who ever asks for it. 
Emotional Clutter
You have no routine or practice to sort your emotions on a regular basis to make sense of them. 

Too Many Things In Too Small A Space
Physical Clutter
Your life or family has grown out of your current home, or the home was never big enough for all of you and your stuff. 
Digital Clutter
You don’t have enough memory on your computer, cloud, or phone to safely store your data. When you want to save something important you would need to go on a delete-spree first or buy more space
Mental Clutter
If you overwhelm your brain with to much information in too short of a time. This can really easily happen nowadays with all this information that flies towards us every minute of the day and night. 
Social Clutter
You have too many appointments and commitments on your calendar for the day, week and/or month. If your calendar has no wiggle room for unexpected stuff that can come up you get stressed out when things don't go smoothly which often they don't right? 
Emotional Clutter
You try to suppress emotions to not have to deal with them until eventually, you explode like a pressure cooker 

Anything Unfinished
Physical Clutter
Little repairs around the house that need to be done but are not, buttons that need to be sewn back on, leaking tap that need fixing 
Digital Clutter
eBooks and eCourses that you bought but never started or started and not finished, an inbox full of unread emails that you don't dare to delete
Mental Clutter
Opinions you have not formed, decisions you procrastinate to make
Social Clutter
Friends or family you don’t talk to because you didn’t resolve an argument,
Emotional Clutter
Disappointments you haven’t processed, grief you haven’t dealt with ---

Are you surprised with my list? Have you thought of these kinds of things as clutter? If not don't worry, most people don't think of clutter to this extent, but it is all clutter. I always say in the end it's all mental clutter even if it's physical clutter. 

Because it's a thought in your brain that keeps you from either tidying it up or letting it go.
In future episodes I will dive deeper into each one of these categories and zones, for today I just wanted you to have an overview. 

Ok my friends, that's what I have for you today. So lets put into action what you just discovered, identify some clutter in your home and go address it. My hope and idea is that you will listen to my podcast while you declutter a small area in your home or office. Remember "a few minutes a day keep the chaos away.  hope you are intrigued and interested so far and will listen in again and again. 

You find all the links of the things I was taking about in the show notes, and the show notes you'll find at www.connygraf.com/podcast/2. 

Thank you for joining me on the podcast and have a beautiful and amazing week. Please subscribe so you never miss an episode, see you next time, take good care. 

If you have a question about decluttering, organizing or something you heard me talk about on the podcast I'd like to invite you to a free public call "ask Conny". You can ask me a question anonymously or just listen in what others ask.

Go to www.ConnyGraf.com forward slash "ask Conny" and register for the next call. I look forward to seeing you there. 

What you'll discover in this episode

  • Clutter is not just physical stuff
  • The four categories of clutter
  • Different areas or levels clutter can occur and accumulate


If you have any questions

If you have a question about decluttering, organizing or something you heard me talk about on the podcast I'd like to invite you to a free public call "ask Conny". You can ask me a question anonymously or just listen in what others ask.

Register here, I look forward to seeing you there. 

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