Clutter vs. Aesthetics… a war story

I’m sure you’ve read all about how to de-clutter a place. I have too. And I would sincerely like to de-clutter my apartment (which I usually call “the Flat,” as I prefer the Brit slang term for the place), and which is actually a townhouse with an upstairs and ground floor, but no basement. Confused yet?

I get that way sometimes.

ANYway…

Clutter

  • Trash is always clutter, never needed, and generally needs to be dispensed with immediately when its original purpose is done. This is doubly true for any trash that once contained food, especially in a place where bugs and mice might take an interest.

NOT Clutter

  • Leftovers are not necessarily clutter, but – and this is an important but – they have to be packaged up and stored appropriately.
  • No, you cannot safely leave your pizza out on the counter top for three days and still eat it, no matter WHAT my roommate says! ICK!!!
  • Leftovers belong in the fridge. If there are two peas left in the serving dish, those aren’t leftovers. They’re trash! See: CLUTTER!

Clutter

  • Old, wrinkled, torn, dog-eared papers that aren’t of any use any more to anyone.

NOT Clutter

  • Your tax forms for 7 years, no matter what condition they’re in (but you might consider keeping these electronically)
  • Any important paper records, like a copy of your lease or home ownership paperwork, the title to your car, your birth certificate, your passport, etc.
    • Recommendation: Get a small safe to store your important paperwork in; that way, it won’t be mistaken for clutter

Clutter

  • Broken or damaged objects that no longer serve their original purpose and cannot be immediately repaired.
  • Objects that do not have any purpose, like old floppy disks you don’t know what’s stored on them and can’t read.
    • Recommendation: Note that making you smile IS a purpose for this post. If that ceramic poodle you love makes you smile, then it needs to be put in a place of honor, and kept in good condition. If it breaks, it becomes clutter if you’re going to fix it “one of these days…” where “one of these days” is anywhere between a week from now and the Twelfth of Never…

Not Clutter (not necessarily, YMMV)

  • Your great-grandmother’s glued together serving dish that came down through the family for many generations and is now yours… BUT, consider storing it in a safe location to keep it from being further damaged.
  • Decorative objects that aren’t just crammed onto shelves, but are displayed so that they can be seen by people, and enjoyed.
    • Recommendation: Consider, if you have a small space, rotating which decorative objects are out and on display. Even the Smithsonian and other prestigious museums do this. It varies the display, without adding to the clutter.

NOT Clutter

  • Functional objects for which you have a use, that are not broken or damaged.

More to come in Part II…