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This category of muktzeh objects seems very nebulous to me. Does it really include everything that is not directly related to shabbat?

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Muktzeh means separated or set aside. Msh210 gives a nice answer about the laws, which stem from the idea that things which are not inherently useful on Shabbath are set aside (as we Pasken). –  Seth J Jan 31 '12 at 0:48
    

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Roughly, muktze things are those that one can't or won't use on Shabas. There are several broad categories of this: if a particular object doesn't fall into one of these, it's not muktze.

  • Valuable or fragile. If something is particularly valuable, or particularly fragile, so that handling it will ruin it, and it's not going to be used on Shabas, then it's muktze. An example sometimes given is a special knife used for slaughtering animals: it can easily be used for permitted uses on Shabas (contrast the "useful, but not for permitted activities" category below), but it won't be.
  • Useless. If something is useless, it's muktze. An example sometimes given is raw meat, or a rock.
  • Useful only in violation. If something can't be used without violating a halacha, it's muktze. An example sometimes given is chametz on Pesach.
  • Useful, but not for permitted activities. If the only usual use for something is a forbidden activity, the object is muktze. An example sometimes given is a hammer. However, this category of muktze sometimes has an exemption if you have a valid use for the object for permitted activity.
  • Set aside for its mitzva. If something is set aside for use for a mitzva, you can't use it for anything else: and if the mitzva is done, and it's Shabas, the object may be muktze also so that it can't be moved.
  • Base. If something is a surface on which a muktze object is resting, the base may be muktze to the same degree as the upper object. An example sometimes given is a candlestick with a flame atop it.
  • Muktze at the start of Shabas. If something was muktze at the start of Shabas it's generally muktze all Shabas long.
  • Born. Something born or created on Shabas can't be moved until after Shabas.
  • Deliberately set aside. Something set aside for non-use on Shabas can't be moved on Shabas. An example sometimes given is something put out, right before Shabas, to dry for a few days.

Of course, all of these have specific rules: this is just a general idea.

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I think I have heard that there is a separate category of "things not related to shabbat." Is this actually just a general description of everything that is Muktzeh? –  Ari A Jan 31 '12 at 4:39
    
@AriA, I think so,or perhaps that's someone's translation of one of the categories I list or of a combination of some of them. But perhaps someone else knows with more certainty; look for future answers to this question.... –  msh210 Jan 31 '12 at 4:56

Yalkut Yosef vol. 3 313

כמה סוגי מוקצה הם: א. מוקצה מחמת חסרון כיס. ב. מוקצה מחמת גופו. ג. כלי שמלאכתו לאיסור. ד. בסיס לדבר האסור. ה. מוקצה מחמת מצוה, כגון עצי סוכה ונויה. ו.מוקצה מחמת שהיה מחובר או מחוסר צידה בבין-השמשות. ז. מוקצה דדחייה בידים, כגון שנתן מערב שבת צימוקים על הגג כדי לייבשם. ח. מוקצה מחמת איסור שבגופן, שאינן כלי רק עומדין למלאכה שיעשה בעצמן, כגון מוכין של צמר שעומדים לטוייה, ועצים שעומדים להסקה, עורות של אומן וכדומה. ט. מוקצה מחמת איסור מלאכה, שיש עליהם תורת כלי, כגון כלי כתיבה, כיס של מעות, וכדומה. י. מוקצה מחמת מיאוס, כגון עכבר מת, רעי, וכדומה. יא. כלי שמלאכתו להיתר שלא לצורך כלל.

http://yalkut.info/%D7%94%D7%9C%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%A9%D7%91%D7%AA/%D7%A1%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%A9%D7%97-%D7%A9%D7%99%D7%90-%D7%93%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%99-%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A7%D7%A6%D7%94-%D7%91%D7%A9%D7%91%D7%AA-%D7%9B%D7%9C%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%91%D7%94%D7%9C%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%AA-%D7%9E%D7%95%D7%A7%D7%A6%D7%94.htm

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