Canberra, Organiser
Virginia Wells

Virginia Wells

The Four Types of Clutter and How to Fix it

Some think that clutter is just stuff right? Wrong. There are many different forms of clutter and we all call it something different. I work with the definition that clutter is the stuff that gets in the way of you living the life you want. If we dig a bit deeper, I’ve observed four types of clutter.

  1. Emotional Clutter (also known as malignant clutter)

  • Organising guru, Peter Walsh calls this stuff malignant clutter. It’s the stuff that fills us with awful emotions and holds us back from letting things go.
  • It makes you feel shame, guilt, anger, hurt and remorse. It can be tied to an inheritance, gifts… or it’s stuff from past relationships that have failed. Parts of our lives we may have regrets about or potentially reminds us that we aren’t who we want to be.
  • It could be things that make you feel ungrateful or disrespectful with the mention of letting it go.
  1. Sentimental Clutter

  • These are memories we keep as reminders of our past relationships, jobs, personas and so on. Things we keep because we’re afraid we’ll forget who we were and what we’ve learnt.  It’s the stuff we forget about, or let sit in boxes.
  1. ‘Valuable’ clutter

  • It’s the stuff we hold onto because it cost us a fortune or we believe it’ll be worth something someday. We don’t want it but it’s worth too much to part with.
  1. Memory Trigger or Reminder Clutter

  • This is the stuff that reminds us to do something. Like the broken chair that we ‘need to fix’. The papers that are kept to remind us of the action we need to take.


You might be thinking that there’s things around the house that don’t fall into these categories. You’d be right.  We’re not categorising everything in your house into these four categories, just your clutter. The stuff that’s stopping you living the life you dream about having.


In the next few posts, I’ll share how to deal with each of these clutter types.


Which one do you identify with most?  Share on Facebook.

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