top of page

5 tips to identify clutter

How to identify clutter?

So you‘re ready to de-clutter and release stress but to do that you've got to be able to identify which items in your home are truly clutter, and it's not always easy to identify clutter. Therefore, I have listed below five criteria to help you decide.

How to identify clutter?

1. It isn’t just trash – it could be cheap or expensive, sentimental or throw away

We may have this preconceived notion of clutter being trash that fills our homes, and that we don't care about it at all. While trash is most certainly clutter, it could be almost anything because it’s insidious, it could also be the most expensive antiques. So when you are in the process of indentifying clutter, don’t overlook something jut on the basis of its cost of purchase. I like to use the word "could" because what is really clutter in your home is such a subjective matter. You may have come across this English idiom “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

The same thing goes for antiques and family heirlooms. These items may be very expensive or valuable (or not, they could just have emotional ties or sentimental value), but don't discount these from not being clutter. Unfortunately, these items which were provided with love in mind may only clutter up your home, taking away the joy the gift was intended to bring.

All these factors makes it very hard to get your mind around, doesn't it? But what you should be asking yourself is, are you able to value it; cherish it in this moment?

Same-same but different?

2. Duplicates – too many of similar things

A few of a particular item, such as shoes, clothes, or kitchen gadgets, are a good thing since you have choices, variety, and appropriate things for multiple occasions. However, when you start to accumulate too many of a particular item what used to be a nice selection to choose from becomes an overwhelming pile of clutter. And as the saying goes, “There can’t be too much of a good thing.” So this means you should be especially critical of any collections you do have, and do some serious soul searching to determine if these items are truly worthwhile to keep, or are they just items of clutter occupying precious space in your home.

Nostalgia or a memory!

3. Things that are of no use now (may be useful in the past but not today)

That's the thing about clutter; it may have been useful stuff in the past but it often happens that we use an item for quite a while, and then our circumstances change and it is no longer quite as useful to us anymore. That's when the item begins to collect dust in a corner - becoming clutter.

So when you’re in the process of identifying clutter, ask yourself if the item is still in use or just collecting dust?

Does it feel like its piling up around you?

4. Doesn't fit in – things that occupy more room than you have

So we have heard,” if it fits, it sits” but, what if, it doesn’t? You could have some really awesome stuff but if it doesn't fit in your home, it's clutter. People often experience this with downsizing, and simple way to figure out is , if anything is often a tripping hazard or feels too big or over powering for the space, then it’s surely is clutter.

Now that doesn’t mean we should throw away everything that we're tripping over. We should make sure we’re not devoting space to real clutter, in this way getting rid of actual clutter could probably make room for this important item which may not be clutter at all.

However, sometimes tough choices must be made because you only have so much space available, and if you can't make room for something, it unfortunately just doesn't belong there.

Do you really love or use every gift you get?

5. If you or no one particularly likes it

Now ideally, everything you own should have a purpose or you should be able to like it so that it brings positivity each time you see it. But practically, when we've got too much stuff then we aren’t able to use it all. Now, I'm not saying you've got to use each item you own every single day, but what I mean is, you could only truly love so many things, and take the time to care for them. For example, you can only wear so many clothes or shoes in a year. So keep only what's important and ditch the rest!

As I mentioned above, these are just basic five criteria of identifying clutter, but sometimes it is as much about your emotions, as anything else. Therefore, just keep the above guidelines in mind and make a list of thoughts about what is clutter for you.

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page