What Is the Definition of Clutter In the Dictionary

dictionary picture

Merriam – Webster defines clutter as follows:

Intransitive verb: chiefly dialectal to run in disorderTransitive verb: to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness a room cluttered with toys—often used with up
Too many signs were cluttering up the street corner.

Noun: a crowded or confused mass or collection, a clutter of motels and restaurants, things that clutter a place

Cambridge Dictionary defines clutter as follows:

verb [ T ]

US  /ˈklʌt̬.ɚ/ UK  /ˈklʌt.ər/

to fill something in a messy or badly organized way.
The kids always clutter the hall (up) with school bags, coats and stuff
Every shelf is cluttered with ornaments.
Figurative- try not to clutter (up) my mind wirh useless information.

Marj’s definition of clutter:

I view clutter as anything that makes my life harder, more stressful and takes up my precious time! When I refer to clutter physical clutter and mental clutter go hand in hand.

Physical clutter

Physical clutter to me is anything that takes up actual space and is not either aesthetically pleasing or useful to me. I would much rather see empty space. I always choose empty and quiet. To me this setting is like a blank white canvas waiting for my next creative idea to play out. I suppose this is the artist in me and the knowledge that I can’t think productively in a cluttered noisy space.

Mental clutter

Mental clutter is when my mind grabs onto a thought and it just won’t let it go in spite of my protests. I have a visual of inside my head looking like a wheel in a gerbil cage with the same thought going round and round and round. This is just one example of what I describe as mental clutter. There certainly are many more examples of a cluttered mind.

Move a muscle, change a thought

Along the way I have picked up tools to deal with mental clutter. My first go to tool to utilize is to remind myself how well ‘Move a muscle, change a thought’ works! I stop what I am doing and go for a walk! A short walk around the block usually gets me back on track to productivity. Sometimes it takes a longer walk with lots of play on the beach with my 2 pups. I know, poor me!


Another frequently used tool of mine is writing. Write, write write. Funny thing about the thoughts on the wheel in the gerbil cage that won’t stop mind, they stop when written down on paper. It’s like the mind needs a record of disturbance before it sets the thoughts free. Seriously! This is why I am such a fan of stream of consciousness writing.

My minimalist approach

When I got my first apartment I learned right away if I had stuff I would have to clean and take care of stuff. No thanks. Online shopping is a dream come true for people like me because department stores frustrate me. Clothes mean very little to me except in the sense I need to keep warm in winter and dress cool in summer so my wardrobe consists of basically jeans and black tops.

The result is

As a result I have extra room to hang clothes in my closet and the shelving built ins are only half filled. I do not own dressers or sets of drawers and end tables because I have no need to.

How I live today

I live alone with my precious pups in my small 3 story home that I love. Having a small kitchen is fine for me because cooking is not my thing. Eating a nutritious diet is all I think of regarding food. For me I find that eating a raw diet is easier and means I don’t need oodles of fancy cooking appliances or counter space. This also frees up a lot of time.

Make your house your home

It doesn’t matter if you live in a house, condo, apartment, room or someone’s basement. Make it yours! I do not have a kitchen table or dining room because after my husband died at a young age it was not pleasurable to sit at the table alone to eat. So why would I need a table? In addition to my glass studio I made a fiber studio in what others may use as a bedroom or dining room. A house becomes a home when it fits the occupant. My home fits me to a tee! Not by chance! Over 28 years I made my house my home.

Get rid of stuff that no longer serves you!

At one point a while ago I decided to get rid of everything stored away except 7 years of back tax papers (per the IRS) and a few photo albums. If I decided I wanted to move I did not want the day to come I would have to face a big mess.

Find your own beat to march to

Moving day, should it ever come, will be a breeze now especially because there is no emotional attachment to the very nice furniture I have. Selling or giving away furniture will be much easier than schlepping to a new home. This is with the exception of a few things dear to me like an old wood trunk I retrieved from my Aunt’s trash. I know, I have always marched to my own beat. I suggest everyone finds their own beat and marches to it, not someone else’s beat.

Simple living frees me up

Today I live clutter free. My home environment reflects this. I dress in a no fuss manner, eat simply. and laugh a lot. Caring about the planet and the carbon foot print I leave is important to me. I am quite content and have an over flowing grateful heart. Each of the spaces in my home have little homey comfy nests for my dogs and me to relax, play and work. Nothing of consequence gets in my front door without the removal of another object. My way works beautifully for me.

Do you need it?

Your way needs to work beautifully for you or it is not your way. Maybe ask yourself the following the next time you reach to buy something… Is this aesthetically pleasing or useful to me? Would I rather have this or the empty space? How will this make me feel next week?

Live the way You want to live

I urge you to live the way you want to live. Use your rooms and spaces to suit you and the lifestyle of your family. A home is an individual choice and a reflection of one’s lifestyle. When I told my Mom once I was going to rip down a wall and do a, b and c her first words were ‘It will affect the resale value.’ The last thing on my mind at that point was resale value! I was making this house my home.

Living in the present

Flash forward to today almost 30 years later my neighborhood has become a magnet to buyers that buy houses for lots of money, tear them down and build huge houses. So see, resale value did not enter into equation and my house, I repeat, is now my home which by the way I can’t imagine ever selling because it is so perfect for me. I want you to feel this way too. The lesson I learned from the conversation I had with Mom is live for today not for some time way off in the future. We have no guarantee the future is ours.

Marj pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutterer and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

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