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32 Things That Make Your Home Look Cluttered

32 Things That Make Your Home Look Cluttered

Does your home look cluttered? In this article I’m sharing 32 things that make your home look cluttered and what to do about it.


Decluttering can be difficult enough. Sometimes we don’t have time to declutter, we feel overwhelmed at how to declutter our entire home, we have so much stuff and not enough energy or motivation to declutter or we get stuck in a decluttering rut and can’t find a way out. Yet, how amazing it feels when you do begin to clear your stuff and create space, time and freedom for enjoying your home and life instead of just managing it!

This sounds wonderful but when you take a look around your home what do you see? You might have decluttered and put in place some regular decluttering habits to stay clutter-free but then, why does your home sometimes STILL feel busy and cluttered? It’s so frustrating!

In this article I’m sharing some tips and things that make your home look cluttered, and what you can do about it… Let’s dive in!


Depending on your personal taste and the décor and style you like to have around your home, here’s a list of things that can make your home look cluttered and busy. I’ve suggested some ideas on how to overcome them to simplify your home and space. Everybody’s home looks different so this isn’t a prescriptive list of things you should or shouldn’t do. Instead, it’s hopefully some ideas if you’re still frustrated by clutter but not sure why!

1. Wires and cables that are untidy or trailing

Tuck them behind furniture, tie them neatly and safely and research the internet and Pinterest for useful storage and organisation solutions for wires and cables.

2. Too many pictures on the wall

Too much on the walls can be visually distracting, especially if they’re of different shapes, sizes, colours, mismatched frames and not in straight rows or lines. Choose your favourite artwork and photos and let them stand out by having plenty of blank space in between.

Going for the same colour and/or style of frames, or grouping smaller artwork together, can help make artwork look put together and professionally styled.

You might enjoy these tips on how to hang artwork like an interior designer for some more ideas.

3. Mismatched home décor

If you have a lots of décor items with different colours, styles, shapes, patterns and designs they don’t always come together in a cohesive aesthetic. Decorating and accessorising your home is a great way to bring individuality and expression but if it’s mismatched and not thought out, it can just feel eclectic and cluttered.

Can you give some thought to what you want your home to look like and hone in on a particular style, design or character?

4. Conflicting patterns

Patterns can be a useful design tool to bring colour and contrast but too many different patterns in a small space can feel busy and cluttered. Stripes, florals, abstract, dots… There’s a lot to choose from and get tempted by if you love pattern! Perhaps choose one pattern or type of pattern and use this for your theme throughout the home, or from room-to-room.

32 things that make your home still look cluttered

5. Spreading items out

If you cluster décor items together, usually in groups of odd numbers, 3 or 5 for example, it feels and looks more intentional instead of dotting single items on a shelf or on a wall. This system works because our brains process information better in odd numbers. Try the rule of 3 in your own home and see what you think!

6. Mismatched storage containers

It’s great to shop your home and use what you have already but storage containers of different sizes, shapes, materials and colours can make a room look less than organised. See what a difference it makes to what you’re storing and how it looks when you try using a range of co-ordinating containers.

This doesn’t have to cost much money as there are plenty of budget-friendly options if you search some of the cheaper shops or even charity and thrift stores. Keep a list with you of what containers you need and the dimensions so you know what to buy when you see them! Even just having the same colour or material throughout the home can make a difference – white, clear, grey, fabric, plastic… What’s your choice?

Also, always remember to declutter first before organising your stuff into containers. Otherwise you’ll just be organising and buying containers for clutter!

7. Cluttered flat surfaces

Flat surfaces are notorious clutter hotspots but have you noticed how clearing them can instantly make a room feel more spacious and clutter-free? Put in place some clutter-free habits to keep those table-tops and counters free of clutter and give you a clean light of sight as you look around the room.

8. Too much furniture

Look around your room and think about how you use that room. Only keep in the room the furniture that you’ll need to fulfil this purpose. Having too much furniture, especially furniture that’s too big for the room, will make that space feel overcrowded and cluttered.

I’ve also found that I’m much more likely to use a room if it’s designed for how I want to use it. So, for example, if I want to relax in my living room reading a book, I’d rather do that if it’s uncluttered and tidy. Otherwise, my brain is distracted by the clutter and how I’ve got to deal with it, rather than enjoying the book I’m reading.

9. Don’t be afraid of blank space

Just because you have empty space on a wall, a shelf or in the corner of your room, don’t feel you have to use and fill it. Blank space, known as negative space as a more general design concept, is a useful tool used in giving the mind and eye space and it allows what you do have to stand out amongst the rest.

10. Stuff that doesn’t have a home

If you don’t give everything a home or storage space to live when it’s not being used, it’s likely you’ll find it dumped on a countertop or corner of the floor. Create a home for everything and return items to that home when they’re not in use. If you can’t find a home for it, do you really need it?

This is a useful strategy for keeping your home clutter-free and organised. It also helps you to help your family look after the home too which helps you back even more!

11. Floor clutter

Just like clear counters, a clear floor gives the illusion of a clutter-free home. It allows for more continuity and flow from room-to-room as well as more space to walk and move around. A clear floor also helps with easy access for those with mobility challenges so it doesn’t just serve a visual purpose, decluttering is also better for your health and safety too.

12. Conflicting colours

Different colours might be your design preference but, if colour’s not used right, it can also create busyness and distraction. If you want colour in your home, consider using variations of one colour or just small accents and pops of colour instead of on big walls or surfaces. Here are some tips on minimalism for people who love colour instead of bare white walls!

There’s also a great design concept called the 60-30-10 rule of colour. It’s a decorating rule that helps you combine colours in a colour scheme that sticks to certain proportions of colour and create a harmonious and balanced look. Explore the 60-30-10 rule and see if you could apply it to your own home!

13. Fridge and freezer doors

Photos, notes, kids’ artwork. They all find a way to be stuck on our fridge or freezer door. Remove them all and see what a difference it makes! Can you find a way to keep them anywhere else, even if it’s scanned digitally into your photos?

32 things that make your home still look cluttered

14. Noticeboards

I try to use digital planners or a single notebook wherever possible but if you find a noticeboard the best way to keep you organised and efficient then go for it. But, try to keep it updated, remove old and obsolete paperwork. Arrange everything neatly and tidily and use matching pins or clips to hold everything in place.

15. Paper clutter

Paperwork gets everywhere and it’s easy for piles to build up around the home whilst they wait to be looked through and dealt with. It could be letters in the post, junk mail, newspapers and magazines, packaging, letters from school.

Set up a system for actioning, filing, saving and shredding paperwork and keep to it every week. Keep the system simple, experiment with different systems if one’s not working for you and when you do find one that works, keep to it!

Here are some tips on how to declutter paperwork and the system I use to be less overwhelmed by paper clutter.

16. Open shelving

Open shelves can look pretty but I find them annoying to clean and keep dust free! I just don’t have time to be pulling everything off, dusting it and putting it back on a regular basis! If this is you too, wherever possible, try to keep things behind closed doors. This way, if your shelves aren’t neat and tidy, at least you won’t be able to see what’s inside – and it keeps the dust away too!

17. Untidy shelves

My daughter is a great one for organising her books in rainbow order. I have to admit it makes her shelves look so tidy, even if the books are different sizes! Now we organise all the books and our clothes in rainbow order too.

However, if you’re a naturally messy person, or just don’t have the bandwidth to keep your shelves neat and tidy on a regular basis, I’d always encourage you to watch those shelves, reduce your stuff and keep them as clutter-free as possible.

A simplified, minimalist home is great for messy people as it’s much more difficult to be and stay messy when you have less stuff!

18. Too much stuff

If you have too much stuff, your home is going to look cluttered, no matter how tidy and organised you are. If you want to be clutter-free, declutter first then organise!

I wrote an article recently on what to do if you want to keep everything. If you struggle with this, then perhaps check that article out for some helpful tips!

19. Collections of things

If you collect things, keep them all in one place, grouped together if possible. Having them spread out around a room can make your home look cluttered.

If you’re a collector, perhaps consider whether you need to have your collections on display or whether you could keep them in a special box or container of some sort. I collect ornamental elephants and have done for years. I don’t want to get rid of my 100+ tiny elephant ornaments but I also don’t want them out on display. So, I keep them in a clearly labelled box. One day I might decide to declutter some or all of them, but for now, I have the space to store the box until I’m ready to make a decision on what to do with them.

20. Blankets, cushions and throws

I love to snuggle up under a blanket when I’m reading but I have a basket next to my sofa where I keep the blankets when they’re not in use. Too many accessories like these can clutter up a space, particularly a small space. Choose your favourite, create a place to store them and don’t buy anything new unless you love it more than what you have already and you know where you’re going to keep it after you’ve purchased it!

21. Piles of laundry

Put a load of laundry on as often as your household requires it and try making a pact with yourself to not go to bed until that laundry is clean, dry, folded and put away! Read more simple household routines to manage your home easily.

32 things that make your home still look cluttered

22. Lighting

When you think about how you use a room and the furniture in it, also take a moment to consider the lighting. You need lighting that suits how you’re going to use that room. Maybe this means different layers of lighting such as a ceiling light for the main light source and a table or desk lamp for focused work.

If you have random, extra lights consider how and when you use them. If you don’t use them, do you really need them in the room?

23. Shoes

I have a busy family and each one of us have several pairs of shoes and boots. It’s so easy for our entrance way, storage cupboard and closets to get filled up with footwear and this can easily make your home look cluttered.

Research different shoe storage options and choose one that will fit in a strategic place that you can all get into the habit of using. Even a big box where shoes can be thrown into is better than shoes just thrown all over the floor! Big bins, baskets and storage containers for shoes are easy for kids and adults alike to put them in.

The trick to staying organised is that it needs to be as easy to stay organised as it is to just dump your stuff. When things are too complicated we don’t use or do them!

24. Too much décor

I love making my home look and feel inviting and cosy but I’m also aware that too much décor and accessories has the opposite effect. It can make my home just look and feel cluttered which makes me feel stressed out, distracted and closed in! Limit your décor, choose your favourites, switch them out with the changing seasons but don’t go overboard with the number or variety!

25. Dishes in the sink

Get into the habit of washing up straight after you’ve used a plate, mug, glass etc. Wash and rinse by hand or put it in the dishwasher to run and finish before you go to bed at night. If you can, dry things and put them away rather than leaving them to airdry on the counter or draining board. Read more about how to keep kitchen counters clutter-free.

26. An untidy entrance way

What do you see when you first walk in through your front door? For many of us, it’s the stuff that’s in our entrance way. Make a good first impression on yourself and any guests by keeping your entrance way neat, tidy and clutter-free. Invest in storage solutions and encourage your family to get into the habit of using it!

27. Toy clutter

If you have kids then you’ll be familiar with the clutter caused by too many toys invading every space in your home. Declutter the toys, set up a storage system for the ones you’re keeping and experiment with how your home and your kids benefit from fewer toys.

28. Your nightstand

Your bedside table isn’t a place for clutter to live. Just like the rest of your bedroom, it should be clear, calm, restful and set up for a great night’s sleep. Here are some tips on how to declutter your bedroom and why it matters.

29. Random remote controls

Decide which remote controls are functioning and actually in use. Get rid of the old and obsolete ones. Find a place for the controls to live that looks neat and tidy instead of them just being left in the place where they were set down. Maybe a drawer, on a little tray or in a pretty basket. This keeps them together and might help you find them more easily too!

30. Unwanted stuff you’ve decluttered

Here are some tips on what to do with unwanted stuff you’ve decluttered. Don’t leave it lying around the home in boxes or bin bags waiting to be taken to the donation or recycling centre. Do it now whilst you think about it and as part of the decluttering process. You haven’t decluttered properly until it’s left your home (or your car!).

31. Unmade beds

A made bed instantly makes your bedroom look neat and tidy. Making your bed is also a great daily habit to signal your body and brain to start the day. Get your kids to make their beds too as part of their chores!

If making your bed feels like a chore, then limit the number of throws, blankets and decorative cushions as the less you have to take off and put back onto your bed, the easier and quicker it will be.

Humans tend to do things more often if they’re easier, so make your home as easy as possible to manage and look after and you’ll find it easier, more enjoyable and more sustainable to do!

32. Cleaning supplies left out

Talking of chores, cleaning supplies and equipment left out can make your home look cluttered and aren’t exactly pretty to look at. Find a place for your cleaning supplies that works for you and store them out of sight when not in use.

Here are some tips on how to spend less time cleaning or these 10 ways to make cleaning more fun!

32 things that make your home still look cluttered


I’d love to know what clutters your home? Is there something else that you’d like to add to this list! What do you do to keep your home looking clutter-free and tidy? Leave a comment below!


Here are some resources and articles to stop making your home look cluttered:


I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!