Clutter Has 3 Meanings. What’s Yours?

Clothes hangers

We often use the word “clutter” when writing about organizing and downsizing. However, our communication may not be as clear as we believe it is. If you say “we should de-clutter”, is your message understood the way you intend?


Minimalist deskAccording to the Oxford English Dictionary, the official definition of “clutter (n)” is “a collection of things lying about in an untidy state”. This is generally what is understood when we say a disorganized room or area looks cluttered. Things are not in their place and we may feel some discomfort being in a messy area.  We want to “restore order”. This is the kind of challenge in which professional organizers excel.


Old Wrist-watchesQuite often, someone will say that a room or a home has “too much clutter”. They may not be commenting on how tidy the home is but rather about the condition of the stuff in the home. If there are many broken, old or obsolete items, they are really saying “all this stuff can go”. In other words, there believe a lot of the items are “junk” and can be given away if still working or thrown away if broken and unrepairable.


Excess StuffBeing disorganized can often lead to buying a second or even a third version of an item. Have you ever mislaid something, given up searching for it, bought another one then found the original one afterward? Sometimes we can become so disorganized, we have multiple copies of the same item, leading to an excessive amount of stuff or “clutter”. In this case, quantity is the operative word.

What do you mean by the word “clutter”?

* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.

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Quill pen

Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.

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