You’ve deep cleaned your home. You’ve decluttered every room. But, your home still doesn’t feel quite right. It still looks messy and may feel cluttered despite your hard work.
This is actually a quite common complaint. Sometimes we “can’t see the forest for the trees” because we live in our homes and see every room daily. This commonality leads us to overlook things that have been around for so long, they’ve just become part of the decor, creating an over-crowded or cluttered room.
I think this is why professional organizers (like organizing guru Marie Kondo) dealing with cluttered homes often suggest removing everything from a room to start with an empty space. Then, you slowly add back the things you love and use.
Today, we’ll address the top things that make your house look cluttered and the causes of cluttered homes. But, if you have clutter, it is probably already affecting your health, your finances, and your relationships. If you are ready to jump right in and get started decluttering an over-crowded or cluttered room, check out my plan here.
In this post, we are going to take a step back and get a different view of our homes. We’ll address 14 common things that make a room cluttered. Then, we’ll address and solve those cluttered living space issues for good. Let’s look at those 14 problems that are common in cluttered homes now.
14 common things in cluttered houses
1. Too-full Countertops
When your kitchen countertops are full of clutter, your space looks dirty even when it isn’t. The same applies to your bathroom countertops. Look at it this way, when you go to a hotel room, the counter space is free of clutter and appear spacious and there is usually a plain table.
This same feeling applies to your own home. Cluttered countertops are one of the top things that make your house look cluttered.
The solution to this problem is to utilize those cabinets and drawers to reduce visual clutter. Put away everything you can and only leave minimal decorations on your kitchen and bathroom countertops. This will make a huge difference by leaving them looking clean and spacious and will achieve that uncluttered look you desire making it feel like a new space.
As you are clearing away the clutter from your home, I want you to take notice of the common types of clutter you find lying about all the time. Chances are, you have the same type of clutter you find yourself clearing daily.
If you will pay attention to the type of clutter you are clearing daily, it will show you what areas of your home need the most organization to keep your home from becoming a cluttered house.
For example, mail piling up on the counter will reveal that you need to develop a “home” for your daily mail. I have a financial binder that I put all of the bills inside as soon as I bring them in the house. Mail that needs to be filed and kept goes into my daily file basket and not in the junk drawer. Papers that need attention go into my daily planner.
2. Excessive Decorations
Any home decorator knows that you can definitely go overboard when it comes to decorating your home. Every room needs space for the eyes to “rest,” meaning every square inch of your home doesn’t require decorations. This might be too many pictures hanging everywhere, too many knick knacks, too many collectibles, etc.
A room that is clean but filled with too much decor’ still feels dirty giving the appearance of a cluttered house. The solution here is to minimize your decor. Not every book you own needs to be on display. You may have too many small plants visible or too many signs. Not every family photo needs to be hung on the wall. It can make your home feel like a thrift store.
Different colors often distract the eye. Try to create one focal point in the room and minimize your color scheme.
Go through your space and remove outdated photos and decorations. Move those photos to an album. Try to leave empty space as often as possible. It will make your room feel instantly bigger.
3. The exterior of the refrigerator and fridge doors
The exterior of the refrigerator has tendency to become a clutter spot quickly. We mount things with magnets and then never remove them. We add items so we “won’t forget” to do them, but we still forget. Kid’s artwork is often placed here. Completely covered refrigerator doors look messy and will make your house look cluttered.
Even the cleanest kitchen looks messy if the refrigerator is covered. After a short while, you won’t even notice the important items you stuck to the fridge (even though you put them there to try to remember them) thus creating a look of a cluttered house.
Let’s address this with a practical solution. Create a good paper filling system and a command center. Do not use the refrigerator for this purpose.
Take everything down, file what you need to, address that “to do” list, and only hang what is absolutely necessary. On my refrigerator, we keep a magnetic shopping list and our weekly home menu. That’s it.
No excessive photos, no excessive magnets, and most of all, we keep no paper clutter. I keep this on the side of my refrigerator, also, because I want the front surface clean and clear of clutter.
4. A messy entryway
The entryway to your home is the first thing your guests see when they come to your home. If you don’t address this area, this can be one of the main things that make your house look cluttered.
If you live is a cold or wet climate where you often remove your shoes, this is an area you will definitely need to address. Look at a few ideas on Pinterest and start getting some ideas of how to best utilize this space and prevent the issues leading to cluttered houses.
If you remove shoes every time you enter your home, let’s create a shoe cubby for every individual’s shoes. If the kids hang coats, gloves, and outerwear, let’s create a space to hang and store these items. Organizing bins or a shoe rack may be needed.
My kids carry backpacks home from school, so we have a plastic bin for each of them to put their school papers into. I have a space to hang my purse, which I carry daily, and my husband has a box for his wallet and keys.
Creating a space for these items will eliminate the clutter and help you get out the door faster each morning with undue stress as you’ll know where everything is stored. Organized spaces make for a smoother morning routine and ensures thing don’t end up on the floor every day.
5. Paper piles
Everyone has a tendency to pile mail and papers from time to time. Piles of paper laying throughout the home and on the coffee table are one of the many things that make your house look cluttered. The solution to this problem is a good paper and mail filing system.
Every bill we receive goes immediately into our financial binder, so I can pay it by the due date. Every other paper that comes into our home gets either filed or eliminated to prevent disorderly accumulation. This reduces clutter.
Make a habit of addressing the paper clutter daily the first time you touch it, so you can stay on top of this problem. A good rule of thumb is to only handle papers once. Deal with mail as soon as you hold it.
6. Too many throw pillows
Have you been in a store and adored those beautiful furniture displays or bedroom decor? Often, you’ll find a lovely bedroom set with a matching comforter, bedskirt, pillow shams, throws, and an abundance of decorative pillows.
It looks inviting and comforting, but I’m afraid it isn’t very practical on a daily basis to remove and then add back all of those pillows when you make your bed. A neatly made bed improves the entire room.
If you absolutely love your decorative pillows and can’t part with them, then you must be sure you display them neatly and not is a disorderly manner. Otherwise, consider storing a few pillows in the closet to rotate out. Pillows scattered everywhere can easily become one of the common things seen in cluttered houses.
The same applies to the sofa. Excessive throw pillows constantly require straightening to keep them looking neat and uncluttered. Excessive pillows also require extra work for you when it comes to cleaning.
These items still need washing, so try to keep them at a minimum or swap them out occasionally. Once you’ve decluttered your pillows, avoid the temptation to buy more to keep this area from contributing to a cluttered house. A little bit of decluttering goes a long way.
7. Toy clutter
A cluttered house full of too many toys is definitely a battle for most moms. We often just need to look at creative ways to store them and buy storage containers. But, first we need to eliminate the clutter before we can store it all away.
Go through the toys routinely and throw out anything that is broken. After birthdays and holidays, you’ll find this collection has suddenly grown large. Donate anything that is no longer enjoyed by the kids.
Store away half of the toys and rotate them out monthly. Teach the kids to do a daily toy clean up with you until they get the hang of doing it on their own. Do not create a complicated storage system. This only makes it harder to put everything away.
Clean up should be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. If you cannot do it in ten minutes, your storage system is probably too complicated to maintain. Maintenance is key to keeping the clutter at bay and avoiding things that are common in cluttered houses.
8. Too much furniture
Everyone has been in a home that is filled to every corner with wall to wall furniture. Sometimes we inherit furniture and antiques, and we don’t know quite what to do with them. We feel guilty for parting with them because they belonged to a loved one. Parting with the furniture feels wrong. Let’s address this issue.
Getting rid of furniture or gifts from loved ones does NOT mean you don’t love or appreciate the person. Instead you must love your space. Loving your space means you want to be in it and enjoy it. You can’t enjoy these items if they create a cluttered house. You want to fill your space with the things that you love.
Keeping everything everyone gives you will prevent you from doing that and will become one of the main things that make your house look cluttered. If your home is filled with several upholstered chairs that largely go unused or more furniture than is necessary, go through your home and remove any excess furniture and create space for the eyes to “rest.”
9. Laundry and “clean” clothes
We all have to deal with laundry and the work that it requires. Laundry baskets full of clean clothes create a cluttered house if you don’t address this daily. Even clean, folded laundry can be one of the things that make your house look cluttered. Get in the habit of putting clean laundry away every single day. Do not let it linger.
Also, maybe you or your spouse have a space in your room or closet where you lay “clean” clothes, meaning you only wore it a few hours and it’s too clean to wash but too dirty to put away.
Start hanging or folding these items daily. Avoid putting them on the chairs or the beds. Create a specific space to store these until they need to be washed.
10. Dishes in the sink or on the countertop
This goes without saying, but dishes have to be addressed daily. Just like clean laundry, even clean dishes can be one of the things that make your house look cluttered if you fail to put them away and out of sight.
Dirty dishes should be placed in a dishwasher soon after use. Once dishes are clean and dry, put them away as soon as you can to avoid this cluttered house issue.
11. Unmade beds
As the bed goes, so goes the room. Make your beds daily. Teach the kids to do so, also. Again, do not make this more complicated by adding too many decorative pillows. A neatly made bed makes a room feel instantly improved and can make a dirty room look like it’s cleaner.
Unmade beds are one of the easiest clutter issues to remedy and one of the things that make your house look cluttered if not addressed. An unmade bed invites more clutter. Once a bed is made, you are far less likely to pile anything on it.
12. Overfilled shelves and cabinets
Declutter the interior of those cabinets. Too much clutter creates stress when they are filled to capacity. You can’t find what you need if there is too much stuff.
Eliminate all of the excess and create a space for only what you use and love. Cluttered houses are generally filled to capacity with stuff that largely goes unused. Open shelving can be a particular challenge and can give the appearance of cluttered walls.
13. Visible cords and wires
We all have and use our home electronics, but the cords are unsightly and can become one of the things that make your house look cluttered. Look at Pinterest for some creative ways to hide those cords.
Living rooms filled with electronics can be a challenge, but there are creative ways to hide those cords and wires. Cluttered houses usually have visible cords and wires that can easily be hidden.
14. Unclear surface tops
Not every space in your home needs to be covered and decorated. If you have a tendency to create piles and decorate your dresser tops, bedside table tops and bureau tops, you’ll easily turn your home into a cluttered house. A clear surface instills tranquility.
The Fly Lady calls these areas ”’hot spots.” These are the areas everyone has in their homes that become dumping grounds for clutter. Piles develop in these areas if they aren’t cleared daily. This can be a kitchen counter, dining room table, bedside table, desk, etc.
What makes a house look cluttered?
You could have too many collectibles on display, surfaces covered with clutter, dishes, and paper piles, and visible cords and wires.
How do you make clutter look good?
Try hiding those visible cords and wires. Create a good paper and mail filing system. Keep your surfaces clear by using decorative containers to store things
What is clutter a sign of?
Generally, the type of clutter we have lying about indicates that we have not assigned particular items a permanent “home.” If you frequently have paper piles, you need to create a good paper filing system.
How do you deal with a cluttered house?
Start with the areas that create the most stress in your life. Do you frequently misplace bills or other important documents? If so, start addressing paper clutter first, and create a simple paper filing system.
Where do I start decluttering when overwhelmed?
A house filled with clutter can feel overwhelming. Start decluttering the area that causes you the most distress. Create a habit to begin handling items only once. For example, as soon as you collect your mail, begin putting it where it belongs rather than piling it on the nearest surface.
What does a cluttered house mean?
For some people, cluttered rooms comfort them. They work best in this type of atmosphere. For others, it creates stress and anxiety. What clutter usually means is that one does not have a good system or ample space to store their belongings.
How cluttered is the average house?
One survey showed that 69 percent of people surveyed in the USA admitted to having areas in their homes that they never really clean but know they should.
What is the antonym for cluttered?
The antonym of cluttered is neat, tidy, orderly, organized, and clean.
Have you ever wondered How Clutter Affects You? I think you’ll be surprised!I have a detailed blog post about that you can read here. Also, if you struggle to get organized, find out what is preventing you from getting organized here. Also, learn how to organize a cluttered house here.
Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and declutter checklists like the one below to help you declutter every room in your home. If you are thinking, “My house is so cluttered I don’t know where to start,” begin here.
Below is a sample page of what you’ll get. You can find that here.
You can get your printable Daily Housekeeping Routine and Cleaning Checklists here. This 15 page printable kit is delivered digitally to your email for you to print and personalize. It includes a daily schedule, calendar pages, and deep cleaning checklists for every room and area of your home. Below is a sample page of what you’ll get from my dee middleton dee cluttering plan.
Also, to keep up the general housework, you may need to create a daily housekeeping schedule that suits your specific needs. To do so, I have created a helpful series you can read here.
I have a basic weekly cleaning schedule that you can find here. It is only $2 for the digital download and covers all of the basics of keeping your house clean. You can see what it looks like below.
Struggling with the daily housekeeping chores? Check out my ebook on this topic, entitled Make Over Your Homemaking. Use this link to get it at a discounted price.
Need a visual to keep you motivated? If so, check out this video on decluttering your home’s most clutter-prone areas.
Need help deciding if you should keep or toss an item? Ask yourself these questions below:
Need some Inspiration to Declutter? Join us for the Year Long Through Declutter Series by leaving me a comment below. We declutter 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. When you subscribe, you’ll receive an email with your daily task. You can find that here or subscribe via youtube in the video above.
I hope you have found this information on things that make your home look cluttered beneficial. If you need help organizing, decluttering, or deep cleaning you home, check out the links above. You can also use the drop down menu at the top of each page and search by category.