July 12, 2011

Clutter's Most Notorious Villains

Clutter is persistent and sneaky.  Fortunately, there are only four main reasons for clutter.  Sometimes they hang out together and sometimes they work alone, but at least one of them will be present where there is clutter.

Mechanical Clutter can be spotted when your storage container or the item itself is broken.  Mechanical Clutter is particularly good at breaking glass, screens, hinges, and locks.  It loves to warp wood making doors hard to open and close. It is also present when the storage container you are using is too small or too big for the item you are storing.

Some things you may think or say if you have been ambushed by this reason for clutter:
"That cupboard is too hard to open, I'll just put this here."
"The drawer bottom is always coming off."
"This ____ never fits in here!"
"When are we going to fix that "!@#$%" thing?"

Emotional Clutter loves to prey on the emotions of its owner.  Its favorite emotional food are overwhelm and guilt.  It also thrives on scarcity and fear.  Emotional Clutter is always looking into the past or forward into the future and completely gumming up the present.

Some of the things you will  think or say if you are under this clutter's spell:
"My mother/ uncle / roommate gave this to me,  I HAVE to keep it."
"I am going to keep this for a SPECIAL occasion, I don't want to ruin it."
"I'll just keep this until I am _______ size again."
"There is too much to do, I will just put this here for now / until later."
"I better keep this, I spent a lot of money on it."

Situational Clutter comes to visit when there is a change.  There is not much you can do to keep this clutter at bay, but if not taken care of in a timely manner, Situational Clutter can turn into a permanent houseguest and become Emotional or Mechanical Clutter.  Some of it's favorite hangouts include: natural disasters, family vacations, new babies, remodeling projects and celebrations.

Some things you will think or say when this clutter is near:
"I will be so glad when this is over and life can get back to NORMAL."
"Wow, I can't believe how much stuff we got for Christmas!"
"Is it just me or is there more to do when we get back from vacation?"
"I had NO idea babies would take this much work!"

Systemic Clutter wanders in there is not system in place to take care of things coming in or when the system in place doesn't work.  You can usually find it around unfinished projects, paper and laundry.
Systemic Clutter is pretty sneaky, but it likes to create piles.

Some of the things you will hear when your clutter is systemic:
"I can never find my_________."
"I know it's in this pile SOMEWHERE."
"Why are there always piles of laundry?"
"I am planning on doing that SOMETIME."
The good news is that when you know what kind of clutter you are dealing with the remedy is easy to find.

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