Have you ever taken a step back from decluttering and wondered why you’re not making headway? If you’ve been working hard at clearing up your space, but it still looks cluttered, here are 12 potential reasons why.
You’ve Just Gotten Started
Decluttering takes time. Throwing out piles of clutter won’t magically transform your home into a minimalist haven.
Decluttering can be a process that happens in stages. As you get started, you’re sure to notice big changes. But after a while, you may start noticing more items you don’t use or need. Cue a fresh wave of decluttering as you address your home with an even sharper eye.
Be patient with yourself. Decluttering is an internal process as much as an external one.
Too much decor
Trinkets, pillows, rugs, throw blankets, vases, pictures and more. They’re beautiful to look at, touch or hold, but quickly cause clutter. If one decorative pillow on the couch will do, do you really need 9 more?
Double-check the need for multiple small furniture pieces like chairs, coffee tables, and lamps. They quickly become unintended storage spaces or lead to ‘busy’ living areas.
Small vs Larger Decor Objects
Smaller objects demand more visual attention than larger objects. If you’re looking to decrease visual clutter, go for larger decor items. Try using a single large mirror or painting to decorate a wall instead of 10 small pictures. A solid planter and frame won’t clutter up a shelf the way 5 small trinkets might.
A room can feel very busy if it incorporates lots of bright hues. Mixing and matching neutral colors, shades, and textures tends to create a calmer, less cluttered vibe.
Consider furniture style too. Clean lines lend an air of simplicity to your space, reducing the effect of clutter.
Lack of light
A dark room can feel smaller and cluttered. Let in the light by using gauzy window dressings, opening curtains or using a large overhead light. Natural light is a miracle worker at opening up a room and making it feel larger.
Overusing Open Shelving
Brian McCourt from Backyard Builds says that open shelving is not meant for storage. If your kitchen has open shelving, use it to display a few choice items. Use kitchen drawers or closed cupboards to store the rest of your kitchen objects and utensils.
No White space
Filling up every available space with furniture or accessories can create a feeling of clutter. White space will make your room feel larger and more spacious.
Remember that you don’t need to style every single wall. Make use of larger walls to create impact with a statement mirror or painting. It’s okay to leave small walls alone completely to avoid creating that impression of clutter.
Although neatly lined up against the backsplash, too many kitchen appliances can lead to a cluttered kitchen. Even if you have a large kitchen or plenty of counter space, the difference a cleared counter makes can be quite astonishing.
Store appliances in easy to reach cupboards so it’s not a drag taking them out or putting them back after use. Clear kitchen counters truly make for an uncluttered kitchen.
Overstocked bathroom shelves
I’ve rarely come across a bathroom that had enough storage space. But open shelves overstuffed with beauty and hygiene products just won’t do you any favors.
Look into storage solutions that keep clutter out of sight. Storing any bathroom items like towels, toilet paper, etc. in a closed cupboard will immediately unclutter the room. If you’re keen to go the whole 9 yards, declutter your bathroom items first with some of these easy tips:
- Use up old shampoos and conditioners until they’re finished and then keep only one of each
- Discard expired makeup and use up all the half-full products before you purchase more
- How many brushes and combs do you actually use? Discard extras.
- Gather small items like clips and hair ties into a container so they’re contained in one place
- Add a tray organizer to a bathroom drawer
- Throw out old magazines – keep only the latest issue.
- Keep only what you absolutely need and use in the bathroom. Store things like jewelry, medicine and even your makeup elsewhere.
Whether it’s from your arty children or a well-used home office, paper clutter can be a real source of stress.
Designate a drawer or cupboard to art projects and drawings or scan them into your computer. Consider going paperless in your office at home by digitizing your documents. If that’s not an option, a good old filing cabinet should cut down on paper piles.
If you don’t know where to start, try out my 20 tips for going paperless at home here.
Your cords are on display
Electrical cords are a pet peeve of mine. Pesky cords snaking around a room or hanging from a wall add an element of clutter to the neatest room.
This helpful article from Bobvila has some fantastic tips for hiding your wires such as:
Using a cable wrap like this one
Feeding cables through a cable raceway like this
Or hooking them behind your furniture.
Using one area for too many purposes
Struggling with a decluttered room that still looks chaotic? If you’re using a room (or closet, drawer, etc.) for multiple purposes, this may be the cause.
In a closet, group items by use or category. Keep shoes together, coats separate from pants, socks separate from tops. If you’re using the closet to store other non-clothing items, consider finding an alternative storage place for them.
For rooms, where possible, keep in them only the items meant for that specific room. For example, kids’ toys can clutter up a living room in spite of enjoying a designated storage space. Keep things simple by rather storing the toys in your kid’s room. Allowing your living room to serve a single purpose will help it feel less cluttered.
I’ve created some resources you may find useful in decluttering your home and creating a simpler life. Find them in my resource library here.