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You probably spend hours every weekend diligently following all the cleaning and decluttering tips but your home still looks messy. Don’t judge yourself, you are not being paranoid. There’s a lot of stuff around that probably hasn’t caught your attention and is out there sabotaging your decluttering efforts.
Sometimes, simple cleaning and organization aren’t enough to give you a clutter-free home. Surprised? This article is going to give you a reality check.
We have listed 17 things that are still making your home look cluttered—let’s analyze everything from tacky walls and oversized rugs to your love for plants and clear your way to an uncluttered house!
17 Things That Are Still Making Your Home Look Cluttered
1. Goodbye, Knick-knacks
If you ask me, I would say random small objects are the only ones responsible for sabotaging my efficient decluttering session. From the home office to bedrooms and even in the kitchen, they are everywhere. Pens, pencils, crayons, key-rings, movie tickets, chalks, puncher, takeout menus, and whatnot.
Most of these items have some sentimental value, or you just keep them for future use. You don’t have to throw them away, organizing them would help.
First, store everything in groups. Instead of having a bunch of pencils scattered here and there, keep them in one drawer. Similarly, if you collect souvenirs, try to store them on one shelf.
You can also rotate items like books. If you cannot keep a whole library on display, put some books in the garage for a month, bring them back the next month, and send the current lot away. This rotation helps a lot!
2. Things You Keep on the Floor
When you leave things lying around on the floor and don’t tidy up, the chances are remote that they would be organized and or look appealing.
The closet never looks good if your shoes are scattered on the floor, the same goes for toys if they aren’t in a basket.
You might have just moved in, or there is a shortage of furniture—nobody is judging you. You can always work with crates and baskets from the dollar store. In this way, you are not spending much and you have temporary storage which would look appealing as well.
3. Open Shelves and Dust Collectors
Okay, let’s say it, open shelves do not really offer storage. They may sound like they do, but they are more like display shelves that would always grab attention. It’s difficult to keep things organized on open shelves, and eventually, they become a mess.
If we stuff a cabinet with things and close it, it would look neat from the outside—that’s not the case for open spaces. Much like things on the floor, messy open storage would look like clutter. It’s a good idea to install doors in open storage spaces and conceal the mess.
Dust collectors are nothing but your childhood figurines or things that are associated with good memories. They are mostly kept in the open, and much like storage shelves, they get messy and dusty. Most of them can attract a small glance, but they would make your living room look cluttered despite your hard work.
4. Keep Your Green Thumb Under Control
Plants are the lungs of our environment and growing them indoors is something that should be encouraged. But do they contribute to clutter? Well, not like clothes and bedsheets, but they do!
Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw your green friends away. If your green thumb is making your house look messy even after a nice decluttering session, chances are the plants aren’t proportioned. Plants that grow outside can be visually very deceiving— they look way smaller outside, but when you grow them indoors, they seem to take up a lot of space.
Analyze your space before you choose the plants. If you live in a tight space, do not go for species that branch out too far. Similarly, refrain from choosing plants that are shorter but grow too much in circumference.
5. Not Enough Light
Most of us ignore this, but good lighting is very important to make your interiors look amazing. Dark corners or shadow zones look gloomy and dirty no matter how clean they are.
For example, if your closet isn’t lit properly, you will hate the way it looks. The moment lighting is improved, it would look cleaner.
Natural lighting is the perfect source to brighten your house. Keep your windows open throughout the day, and let the sun soak stuff. If sunlight isn’t accessible, go for artificial bright lights like floor lamps, LEDs, and so on.
If you have decluttered your home but every wall is still dressed, you won’t get any visible results of your effort. Over-decorating is a rookie mistake that people make and most of us hardly realize it. If you have styled every wall, it’s probably a disservice to your interiors.
Having large walls with limited accessories is a good thing since you are allowing the decor to breathe. Empty spaces with good lighting create an illusion of more space and add square footage to any interior. Besides, it’s also easier to clean and dust things.
So resist your urge to overdo your walls!
7. Dark Colors and Too Many Patterns
A bright, airy living room would look extra clean and tidy than a dark, dim living room. Whites, light shades, and pastels look very pretty and maximize the square footage.
We are not asking you to give up your love for dark colors, but balance is very important. Don’t fill your room with dark walls, dark furnishings, dark everything. Incorporate light-colored decor pieces, use bright linens, and allow plenty of sunlight to enter the room.
Patterns were trendy back in the 90s, but not anymore. They can cause visual clutter, and since most of today’s generation live in cramped city apartments, we hardly welcome them. Break up patterns and put them in a combination of woven textures, pastels, metals, and more to declutter your space.
8. Throw Pillows and Oversized Rugs
I know you’ve got a whole collection of decorative pillows kept for that one special dinner night or some exciting movie date. Since it’s time to declutter your home for real, you have to say goodbye to those fancy pillows.
When you keep them scattered in your living room, they accumulate dust and clutter the room. Allocate a dedicated space to store the pillows when not in use, or donate them.
Again, this is something we hardly realize, but it’s a real problem—oversized rugs can make your space cramped. Just like empty walls can make your space look bigger, oversized carpets can suck up space. Small ones aren’t good either—they will give off a disjointed feel.
Determine the right size of carpets and rugs by taking into consideration the size of your furniture as well as room size.
9. Paper Clutter
No matter what you do, it’s almost impossible to get rid of papers completely because they keep coming back. You must have cleaned your study three days back, have a look at it now. It’s probably messy—again.
From A4 sheets and movie tickets to old work routines and bills, paper clutter seems never-ending. There are also tons of paper in kids’ rooms, full of playbooks and drawing sheets.
Some efficient clutter solutions include maintaining a command center for all the important papers, having a go-to dropbox for junk, and organizing paper piles regularly. When it comes to paper, your family has to work together if they want things neat and clean.
10. Mismatched Storage
If you think that a pretty woven basket can be a good storage for everything in your house, you are mistaken. You cannot house bulky linens in smaller baskets as it would look messy no matter how organized you have kept it.
Similarly, having colorful storage all around the house might not help. When you have too many baskets and storage bins of different colors, they cannot be grouped and can create an illusion of mess.
To avoid this, get baskets and bins of the same shade or paint them all using a single color. They’ll so pretty and make everything look organized.
11. Scattered Pet Items
Your pet’s food bowl is lying in the living room, the toy bones are somewhere else, and even its bedding is displaced! This is not a good sight for anybody. Also, it can make any interior look cluttered by overshadowing your decluttering efforts.
Your furry friend deserves some love and a clutter-free home is a good start. You have to train them properly and make sure they do not litter around the house. Pets are pretty good learners, and I am sure you are a very good teacher as well.
You can also match your pets’ items with the decor of your house so that they won’t stand out like an eyesore.
12. Too Many Toiletries
I bring toiletries back home from hotels, and if you are like me, you would also have a big collection of cute, tiny bottles of shampoos and shower gels. I never use them though, they are kept waiting for days, and I hate to admit, but I don’t think I will use them ever (this could be counted among things are hanging onto).
It’s time to throw those extras away if you want to see a neat and appealing bathroom. Also, if you have shampoo and soap bottles of different sizes and colors, transfer them to dispensers.
13. Stuff on Your Countertops
You have housed the blender, the toaster, and every fork and spoon on your kitchen countertop. You also have cutting boards, knife racks, seasoning jars, and some regular mugs on the counter as you want them well within your reach.
There is nothing wrong with keeping things within your reach, but did you think about the impact it would create? While keeping things like this might seem helpful, it makes the kitchen decor look clumsy.
Prioritize the items first and send some to cabinets and drawers. Your counter would look good and your kitchen will look clutter-free.
14. Cords and Wires
This is not something that we don’t realize, but rather choose to ignore because it’s almost impossible to control. Tangled wires and cords look extremely messy no matter where we keep them. If they are anywhere near big, electric devices, the mess doubles up.
Detangling them is clearly not an efficient solution as they magically get tangled up again. You can detangle them once, group them and use velcro cord ties to keep them like that. Conceal them behind small and big furniture or store them inside drywall.
Basically, keep them out of sight and you will notice a positive change in the interiors.
15. Big or Small Furniture
Much like those oversized rugs, any furniture which is either too big or too small for your rooms should be avoided. A massive piece of furniture can ruin the layout of a room like nothing else and you won’t even realize it.
Consider the size of your room before you choose the layout. Make sure it doesn’t feel too cluttered or too bare and you would be happy with your decisions.
Your guests must have enough space to move around comfortably and you’d be their favorite host if you have a comfortable home.
16. The Outside of Your Fridge
If being in the vicinity of your fridge is bothering you, chances are it’s not the insides but the outsides of the fridge which are cluttered. There are things on top of the fridge, things hanging from sides, even things that are taped on it. It’s time to change their storage spots.
Clear the top of the fridge and move those cereal boxes, ketchup bottles, and other staples to a cabinet. If you have menu cards, restaurant numbers on the sides, move them to a kitchen drawer and reduce the clutter.
17. Let Things Go
You have cleaned the kitchen, organized the closet, and taken a look through every cabinet in your house during your cleaning sessions. Everything that didn’t have a place earlier has one now and you have done your best. Are you still not satisfied with the look?
If your house is not looking neat enough after a hardcore decluttering chore, you might be holding on to unnecessary stuff. I am sure getting rid of your belongings can be difficult, but this is something you’ve got to do. New things are coming every day, and you have to let go of old stuff to accommodate new ones.
Take an honest look and analyze things you are hanging on to. Check those crates for extras, see if you can donate some stuff if you don’t want to throw it away. It’s going to be worth it!
When is the right time to start decluttering the house?
Well if you haven’t decluttered in over a year, it’s high time you did it! Apart from that if you find yourself misplacing/losing things, or buying more and more storage units, or there’s no free space in your home, it’s time to declutter.
Should I declutter or clean first?
ALWAYS declutter first. That way, you have fewer items to move around/clean, and you’ll feel more at ease.
How should I declutter if the mess is overwhelming?
Always start with a small space or room. Get rid of the unwanted items in plain sight and then the larger stuff. Then you can focus on the rest of the clutter in the room.
Don’t try to declutter all rooms at once, that can make anyone go crazy!
I hope your dilemma is reduced now and you have figured out the zones of your house that have been sabotaging your efforts. Pick a starting point and work on all of them one by one and you will have a decluttered house very soon!