The Happiness Project Defines Eight Forms of Clutter

December 29, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

091229-happiness

Today is the release of Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. Regular readers of the Simply Stated blog know Gretchen as a regular contributor, and I’ve made no secret of being a fan of Gretchen’s personal blog of the same name. I was elated that she sent me an advance copy to review, and I spent this past weekend reading the 292 pages of insights into happiness.

I’ve posted a review of her book on Unclutterer, so be sure to give it a look. One of the parts of the book that I loved was Gretchen’s insights into what kinds of clutter she found in her home. From pages 27 and 29:

My evaluation of our apartment revealed that my clutter came in several distinct varieties. First was nostalgic clutter, made up of relics I clung to from my earlier life. …

Second was self-righteous conservation clutter, made up of things that I’ve kept because they’re useful–even though they’re useless to me …

One kind of clutter I saw in other people’s homes but didn’t suffer from myself was bargain clutter, which results from buying unnecessary things because they’re on sale. I did suffer from related freebie clutter–the clutter of gifts, hand-me-downs, and giveaways that we didn’t use …

I also had a problem with crutch clutter. These things I used but knew I shouldn’t: my horrible green sweatshirt (bought secondhand more than ten years ago), my eight-year-old underwear with holes and frayed edges …

I felt particularly oppressed by aspirational clutter–things that I owned but only aspired to use: the glue gun I never mastered, mysteriously specific silver serving pieces untouched since our wedding, my beige pumps with superhigh heels. The flip side of aspirational clutter is outgrown clutter

The kind of clutter that I found most disagreeable was buyer’s remorse clutter, when, rather than admit that I’d made a bad purchase, I hung on to things until somehow I felt they’d been “used up” by sitting in a closet or on a shelf–the canvas bag that I’d used only once since I bought it two years ago, those impractical white pants.

I’d add forgot I owned it clutter, because many things I found in my clutter were simply things I’d forgotten about and was keeping out of ignorance. What types of clutter would you add to this list? What things are cluttering up your space?

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