7 Types of Clutter

Different types of clutter need to be processed in different ways. Here we’ve identified 7 types of clutter, and some of the ways you can tackle them.

Type 1: Things that you know you don’t need any more

Type 2: Things that might come in handy one day

For each item in this category…

Ask yourself…

  • Are you really likely to need it?
  • If you don’t have one when you need it, could you:
    • Use something else?
    • Borrow one?
    • Get someone else to use theirs, for you?
    • Get another one?
  • How inconvenient / costly is keeping it?

Only keep it if…

  • You’re genuinely likely to need it
  • There are no alternatives
  • The cost of replacement is significantly higher than the inconvenience of keeping it

Type 3: Things that are waiting to be put away

  • If they have a home, put them away. If they don’t, find one.

Type 4: Things that are duplicates of other things

  • Pick the best one, get rid of the other one.

Type 5: Things that need a decision

Ask yourself…

  • Do you have the information you need to make the desision?
    • If so, make it.
  • Is there something you can do to obtain that information?
    • If not, just make the decision anyway.
  • Could you get that information now?
    • If so, get it and make the decision.

If you still haven’t made a decision, schedule a time to obtain the information you need, and make it then.

Type 6: Things that are broken

Ask yourself…

  • Do you really need it? (See type 2)
  • Which is the bigger problem: the time, cost and inconvenience of the repair, or the time, cost and inconvenience of getting a replacement?
  • Do you need to fix it yourself, or could someone else do it for you?

Based on your answers, either dispose of it, replace it, or schedule time to fix it.

Type 7: Things that belong to incomplete (or not started) projects

Ask yourself…

  • Is the project still valuable to you? Really? More than other things you want to do?
  • Can you schedule time to finish the project?
  • If you get rid of this stuff now, could you replace it when you need it?