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Clutter Threshold: How Much Clutter Can You Manage?

Clutter Threshold: How Much Clutter Can You Manage?


Is your home feeling overwhelming and heavy? Try a different approach and explore your clutter threshold to see how much clutter you can manage easily.


My youngest daughter’s bedroom is a small, cute little space. She has collections of stones, rocks and precious gems, fake plants of various shapes, sizes and foliage colours, framed photos, stuffed toys and Lego creations, stationery and a growing selection of jewellery and books.

All of these items are very special to her and they are lovingly and beautifully arranged on bookshelves, her bedside table, floating shelves on the walls and stacked neatly in little boxes and display cases. Tidy and organised.

She loves her bedroom, the stuff in it and looks after it all without me even having to ask – except for the occasional build-up of laundry. I don’t even have to ask her to make her bed. Even the 7 scatter cushions decorating her bed get positioned each morning!

My eldest daughter is another story and although she loves stuff in the same way as my youngest daughter, my eldest struggles to manage the inventory and her room often looks like a jumble-sale.


I, too, would struggle to manage the stuff that my daughter has if our entire home was like her bedroom. I would find it difficult to keep it clean, tidy and organised when my whole aim is to have a home that’s simple and quick to run and maintain.

If I’m needing to multi-task or move quickly, I don’t want to have to think about moving things around to make space, to pull things out carefully in case the rest come tumbling out. I love my daughter’s cosy bedroom and it’s got a wonderful energy about it, but I would struggle with managing that clutter – however meaningful, helpful and aesthetic that clutter might be.

I think the difference between my youngest daughter and I lies with our clutter threshold.


Your clutter threshold is the amount of clutter you can easily and comfortably manage and keep in check and everyone has a different clutter threshold.

My daughter’s clutter threshold is higher than mine because she can manage a greater amount of stuff without feeling overwhelmed or burdened by it.

My clutter threshold is pretty low. Partly because of the busy season of life I’m currently in, but partly because I FEEL overwhelmed when I can see a lot of stuff. I prefer simple, clutter-free lines, views and spaces.

Part of this is just because I prefer that as a design style. I do have plants, photos and cushions but I tend to have bigger, bolder, more colourful options of these rather than several smaller ones. As I’m writing this blog in my living room I’m looking at a case in point. I have one giant Monstera plant in the corner, nearly 5 foot high, instead of lots of little ones!

Clutter Threshold


So, when you’re thinking about your own home and wondering how much you should declutter, how do you know when you’ve decluttered enough or decluttered too much? Or why you don’t feel a minimalist home like mine perhaps would suit you and your tastes? Maybe it’s because you have a different clutter threshold?

We’re all affected by clutter to some degree. It affects our physical and mental health and numerous research studies have shown the negative effects of clutter on focus, concentration and stress, but the extent to which clutter affects us individually may be different. Decluttering is good for us.

The main point of decluttering is not about what your home looks like, but how it makes you FEEL. If your home is feeling stressful, heavy and onerous, perhaps part of the problem is that your home is cluttered beyond your clutter threshold.

When you match your clutter threshold with the amount of clutter in your home then you’re more likely to have a home that’s in sync with your body and mind!


The only real way to find your clutter threshold is to declutter your home until it reaches a point where you feel happy, at ease and in control.

Here are some tips.

1. Keep decluttering until you feel comfortable

Try decluttering in sweeps to remove the layers of clutter like you would peel back the layers of an onion. Keep on going until you find that sweet spot.

Of course clutter will always try to creep into and around your home so that’s where some daily decluttering routines and decluttering habits will help to minimise the build-up.

2. Assess tidy-up times

You could also make a note of how long it takes you to tidy up at the end of the day, for example. If it takes you longer than 10-20 minutes to reset your home, that might be a red flag that you have too much stuff that you can comfortably manage.

3. Over-flowing storage

If your storage solutions are constantly over-flowing and when you reach in to pull something out,  then everything else comes tumbling out too, this might be a sign you’re living above your clutter threshold. This is always why most decluttering advice will encourage you to declutter first, then organise.

4. Other signs of living above your clutter threshold

Some other signs you might notice are that you’re always losing things, you leave things out because you can’t find a home for them, or that you’re always having to tidy before you can clean.

Clutter Threshold


Decluttering a home is not a precise science. There are different methods and mindset strategies that work better for some of us than others.

We also sometimes fall into the trap of needing our decluttering to be perfect, to create the ‘ideal’ home, maybe a picture-perfect or Instagram-perfect vision. But, in reality, decluttering is much more hit or miss, imperfect and fluid.

Clutter comes and goes, and it’s important to match our mindset and emotions and be ok with imperfect and fluid too!

You might enjoy this article on why decluttering makes us anxious if this is something you struggle with.

One way to do this is by experimenting with decluttering for yourself and trying to find your own clutter threshold. This is the level at which you’ll be able to manage your stuff and your home with ease.


Once you’ve found it, don’t cling on to it for dear life though as a marker of what you need to have to create your happy home.

Your threshold might come and go over time as the demands of different seasons in your life ebb and flow. I know for myself that I had a much higher clutter threshold when I had more time and no kids!

I had more ornaments and accessories and I didn’t mind looking after them one little bit. When my kids came along I substituted home accessories for toys and kid clutter. My clutter threshold couldn’t tolerate having it all so I let stuff go that didn’t seem so important in order to meet my threshold at the time.

There is no right or wrong threshold here and it very much comes down to knowing yourself and what makes you feel happy, not just what you can visibly see as you look around your home.


Have you heard about the clutter threshold? Have you discovered where your own clutter threshold lies or are you still trying to find it? Hit reply and let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear from you.

Clutter Threshold



To help you explore your own relationship with stuff and what you’d like to achieve by having less stuff (plus how to do it!), why not use this free Decluttering Action Plan to help you?

Pop your details in the box below so I know where to send your free printable.


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!


Sunday 4th of February 2024

Thanks for your guidance. I think I've been feeling the clutter threshold without being able to put a label on it. This will help me on my journey to a more enjoyable home.


Balance Through Simplicity

Monday 5th of February 2024

Hi Alexandria, thank you for reading and your comment. I think the concept of a clutter threshold helps put a different perspective on how we feel about our stuff and home. I'm glad it might help in some way!


Sunday 4th of February 2024

Thank you for this thought-provoking article, Antonia. I know that after a time, I get tired of looking at even the most carefully chosen decor items. I don't know if that's because I get bored, or if it's because I don't actually want to have anything out at all! Something to ponder as I continue unpacking.

Balance Through Simplicity

Monday 5th of February 2024

Hi Laura, you're most welcome! If you don't want anything out then that's ok too. Your home, your rules - which can be changed at any time. Good luck with the unpacking!