What Your Clutter Is Trying to Tell You
HAS A HARD TIME LETTING GO OF: Art supplies, craft supplies, electrical cords, old nails and screws, scrap materials
The Practical archetype operates from the logical hub of the mind. It is a data-driven, methodical, and factual way of approaching the world. The Practical archetype comes into play when there is a task at hand, an actionable item, an objective to be met, or a question that needs to be answered. These people are often engineering wizards: deductive, strategic, and pragmatic. They creatively find ways to improve a scenario, figure out the most efficient route to a destination, or make extra space in a dishwasher that is already full. This archetype always reminds us of our childhood hero, MacGyver.
When operating from the shadow side, Practical types are Limited, unaware of the latent effect their things have on them. They are unaware of or able to ignore how a cluttered space negatively impacts them and, more often, how their space affects other people. They can often be rigid in their opinions, seeing only one truth according to the data at hand. Though it may be practical to hold on to things that might be useful in a hypothetical future, it ends up limiting space for their present day needs and life.
Limited types also have a narrow understanding of use; they consider only the absolute usefulness of an item, not taking into account an item’s actual usefulness to them in their present lives. They can easily compartmentalize their chaotic, disordered homes to lead otherwise highly functioning, orderly lives.
The central idea blocking Limited types from releasing items is usefulness. If an object has a perceived use—for any person in any circumstance—practical people will hold on to it even if it is not useful to them.
Tool for Moving from Limited Back to Practical
When you’re operating from the Limited mind-set, you’ll notice that any and all “useful” items get a free pass to stay in your home. The problem here is that there are millions of things in the world that have utility, and if you want a clutter-free home, you’re going to have to drastically increase your standards for what is allowed to stay. The key here is to remove hypothetical situations from your reasoning to keep an item. Notice if you start with phrases like “I might” or “I could” when thinking about an item. Instead, focus on the present moment and your current needs. Even if an item is in theory useful, do you need it right now? If not, err on the side of donating it—someone else will certainly use and enjoy it.
Before decluttering, it is helpful for Practical types to identify organizations that are willing and able to accept their donations of useful items so that they won’t be discarded.