6 Common Types of Clutter and How to Deal With Them
Is clutter cluttering up your house? Now is the time to do something about it. Maybe you’ve seen one too many shows about hoarders. Maybe you’ve tripped over your son’s baseball glove in the middle of the hallway for the last time. Maybe you went searching for staples, only to find none in sight and spend the rest of your afternoon searching for small metal objects hidden somewhere amongst the growing piles of your new worst enemy: clutter. Yes, now is the time to do something about it.
Tackling your home’s clutter issues can seem like a daunting task — especially if you approach the process willy-nilly. This guide is here to help you break that habit and take on clutter the right way. Below, our experts at Stor-It break down the various types of clutter found in the home and offer up some helpful tips on how to make your living space clean and clutter-free.
Type 1: Trash (And Recycling!)
It comes into your house every single day (other than Sunday) through the tiny mail slot at your front door. Mixed in with your bills, letters, and postcards are all of the innocuous coupons, cable offers, credit card applications, and other useless junk mail. You toss it aside, knowing that you’ll throw it out when you make your next run out to the recycling bin.
It comes when your kid drops a lamp and it cracks a bit. You resolve to fix it soon, but it quickly gets relegated to the back shelf until you find the time and the superglue, neither of which are making themselves accessible any time soon.
It comes after you’ve taken in the groceries, when uneaten food and leftover food containers begin to populate your kitchen. Suddenly, there’s both everything and nothing to eat in your home.
It’s trash, and it’s been trying to claim squatter’s rights in various corners of your space. Tackling your trash issue is one of the most fun and gratifying moments of the clutter clearing process. As trash and recycling bags fill up, you feel a sense of accomplishment. Get your gloves out and start throwing out all those magazines from 6 years ago. You won’t miss them.
Type 2: Seasonal Clutter
Tis the season! Tis always some season, but more specifically, it’s only a single season at a time. Unfortunately, with each season comes new stuff, and one season’s stuff can quickly become another season’s clutter. Have you ever kept your American flag up for the entire twenty-day span between Flag Day and the 4th of July because you didn’t have a decent enough place to store your stars and stripes? Ever kept your artificial Christmas tree up till late January, maybe even into mid-February, because you didn’t know which corner of your house that you could stuff it into?
Decorating for the season is a fun and timely way to keep the Feng Shui of your home in rhythm with the changing seasons. Sadly, it can also lead to a lot of clutter that just sits around your house for the majority of the year. Most seasonal decorations are built to last you for several years. That’s a good thing, for the most part. When you decide to invest twenty dollars in a skeleton that’s wearing a jack-o-lantern and riding on the back of a headless horse for Halloween, you want to know that your skeleton’s going ride into town and onto your mantelpiece every October for years to come.
But what to do with him in every month that’s not October? Pack him away, of course. But where should you put him? Your garage is already almost too full to fit your cars. Bring your box of Halloween decorations to a reputable self-storage facility where it will stay out of the way for the other eleven months out of the year. While you’re at it, bring your Easter Box, your Thanksgiving box, your Valentine’s Day box, and all of your Christmas boxes.
With your seasonal stuff in storage, your garage might just have enough space for your cars, and maybe even a few bicycles. If those bicycles are just sitting there collecting dust and rust, you can follow suit with them and make another trip to your storage unit.
Type 3: You Got a Good Deal On It: Thrift and Bulk Clutter
Maybe you’re at a bookshop and there’s a cart out front that’s selling books for a dollar. So, you grab five books and then never touch them again. Maybe you’re at a thrift store and you see a lamp with a stellar design on the lampshade, so you buy it for three bucks and bring it home. When you get home, you realize the lamp looks awful in exactly every room in the house. You throw it in a closet.
Maybe you went bulk shopping and saw a deal on a 36-pack of canned beets. You buy it because you earnestly believe somebody is bound to eat those beets at some point. Three years later and only three cans of beets have been eaten because no one in your family likes beets. Does this sound familiar to you? In another scenario, say your son wants a snorkel and a pair of flippers to use at the beach. When you go to buy him his aquatic gear, you see a Family Fun Four Pack of Flippers that only costs a couple of bucks more than the one pack. You buy the four-pack, and you use the stuff exactly once.
Deal-related clutter is one of the most intrusive types of clutter out there. The items are cheap, so you buy more than you’d ever need or want, enticed by the deals. Over time, your pad starts to turn into a thrift store itself. A place full of unused bargains. An embodiment of the clutter life cycle. While some of this stuff may be worthwhile to keep, a lot of it can be sent right back to where it came from: the thrift store. If you’re dealing with bulk food items, they go to the food bank to help feed people who are actually going to eat them. The trick with deal-related clutter is to forget about the scorching-hot deal you found ages ago and ask yourself, “Do I really need or want this thing?” If the answer is no, pack it up and send it on its way to a someplace else, someplace where it will hopefully see some use.
Type 4: Aspirational Clutter
Some people are bicyclists. They’ll bike to work or school every single day of the year, even when its 100 degrees or sleeting sheets of hail outside. They just love to bike. Then there are those who find themselves buying bikes and thinking that they’re going to become bikers. They ride their bikes maybe once and then they sit untouched in their garages. Perhaps you, like many, are in the second group. You aspired to be a bicyclist, but it hasn’t really happened for you yet. Same with those rollerblades. Same with that sewing machine that you still haven’t quite figured out.
Aspirational clutter items are usually big, cool, expensive things that you bought with good intentions that never came to fruition. You still might end up getting around to using these aspirational items someday. You dream of using them, but as of now, all they are is aspirational clutter.
Don’t give up on your dreams to become an eco-friendly commuter or the next great fashion designer, but be realistic about how much space your aspirational items are taking up. Declutter your living area by discarding those items you aren’t using in your daily life. Not only will doing this make you feel less bad about not actually following through with your aspirations — but it will also make your space seem bigger, which can improve your mood and productivity overall. Who knows, with the right balance, you might just need to bring an aspirational item or two back out of storage with your newfound productivity.
It’s for this last reason that you shouldn’t necessarily sell your aspirational items. Instead, keep them in a place where they’re not getting in your way all of the time. Once again, self-storage is an excellent solution. Just be sure to find a facility with units to accommodate your aspirational items.
Type 5: Seasonal Hobby Clutter: Hobby Stuff Not Meant for All Seasons
Just like seasonal decorations, seasonal hobby-related clutter can fill up your garage and multipurpose rooms with items that won’t be touched during many months out of the year. This solution to this type of clutter is simple. Out of season, out of sight, out of mind. There’s no need to have to look at the bright oranges, greens, and pinks of your pool noodle collection and summer folding umbrella for 12 months out of the year. Nor does it make much sense to have to find a spot in your house your ski gear during the three snowless seasons on your calendar. Ski boots are already a big enough headache when they’re on your feet — don’t let them be a headache in the Spring, Summer, and Fall as well.
Out of sight, out of mind means going into storage. Keep your seasonal hobby clutter in one of our spacious storage units near your home or business. If you’re the proud owner of a big-ticket item like a boat or RV, look for facilities with outdoor parking, outdoor covered parking, or indoor boat and RV storage.
Type 6: Nostalgia Clutter, Also Known as Sentimental Clutter
There are several different types of sentimental items out there that may be cluttering up your home. There are the nostalgic items that are only (and will always be) sentimental to you and your family, and then there are the nostalgic items that could potentially make you boatloads of money one day. There isn’t always a clear-cut distinction between these two types of nostalgic items, but for the sake of clutter-clarity, we’ll address each type of nostalgic clutter item separately.
Purging yourself of old sentimental items has been in vogue over the past couple of years. You know, the whole clear-out-your-house, clear-up-your-life trend. The minimalist movement. With that movement has come a call for a purging or repurposing those items that may have been in your life since before you can remember. Some suggest taking your old “blankee” that you have had since you were a baby and sewing it into a throw pillow. Others recommend reducing your sizeable stuffed animal collection to a “starting five” and sending the rest to local thrift stores or shelters in need.
While this advice works for some, it falls flat for many others. After all, one asks you to only choose five friends to have for the rest of your life. Your earliest possessions are the oldest friends you’ve got, so choosing just a few of them to keep and kicking the rest out to the curb might not feel right. Yes, moderation is important in life, but in matters of the heart, moderation can be hard. So, how can you keep your sentimental stuff and reduce clutter? The answer is yet again self storage. Send your items to a storage unit where they can stay without cluttering up your space at home. If your old toys and memorabilia are climate-sensitive collectibles, we recommend investing in climate-controlled storage.
Keeping these items won’t only earn you sentimental value — it may one day earn you real money. There is a growing market for nostalgia-related items. We’ve already seen it in the rare, never-unboxed action figures and first-edition comic books, in Beanie Babies and Pez dispensers. Who knows what other nostalgic items that you picked up over the years may be worth one day? A couple of your old toys that you bought fifteen years ago because you thought they were cool might end up paying for your kids’ college education. Further down the line, selling off your old memorabilia can add a good chunk of change to your retirement fund.
The trick with nostalgic items is letting them increase in value over time, which is why you have to hold onto them and not let them get too much wear and tear. A self-storage unit (especially a climate-controlled one) is a great alternative to keeping your nostalgic clutter in a place far away from the curious minds and dirty, prying hands of children. What a tragedy it would be if your entire collection of never-been-opened 90’s action figures was discovered in your garage by your precocious nieces and nephews. A single unboxing, broken piece, or misplaced component could be costly. Without self-storage, your nest egg is always in jeopardy. When it comes to collectibles, always store for precious peace of mind.
Take Care of All Types of Clutter With Stor-It
Dealing with clutter doesn’t have to be difficult. Now, it should be clear that one great solution to all types of clutter is self-storage. With self-storage, you can free up space at home and hold onto the stuff that matters most to you. If you live in Idaho, there is no better place to store your clutter than at one of our many high-quality facilities at Stor-It. Our tenants get 24/7 access to free locks, onsite packing supplies for sale, assistance from staff, and an incredible range of unit sizes and types. Contact our team to get more decluttering tips, and check out our 14 Idaho locations to find the perfect storage solution for your needs. Cut down on clutter with self-storage here at Stor-It — reserve your unit today!