Inside: Want to know how to make your home feel less cluttered? Take your cluttered home from distracting to peaceful by evaluating whether or not these 25 things are contributing to that “cluttered home” feel.

We get used to things looking the way they do in our homes and sometimes it’s hard to see the space with fresh eyes. If you’re feeling unsettled in your home, check out the list of 25 things that make your home look cluttered.

Your House Feels Cluttered But You Don’t Know Why

Sometimes clutter is obvious. Other times, clutter can be challenging to pinpoint.

A good way to gauge the state of your home is to ask yourself how you feel in the space. Do you feel stressed or relaxed?

Studies have shown that when you have a cluttered home, your cortisol levels, which is your stress hormone, increases. This is particularly true for women.

How would you describe your home? Is it a place you want to invite others into? Does it feel like a place of rest?

While there are some ways to make a cluttered space look nice, it will never replace getting rid of the excess stuff to create a more relaxing environment.

If you aren’t satisfied with the way your home currently looks and feels, read on for areas to check out in your home.

25 Things That Make Your Home Look Cluttered

Do you feel like your home is cluttered, but you don’t know why?

This list of things that make your home look cluttered will help guide you to problem areas in your home so that you can create a more calming space.

1. Too many pictures

When you have too many pictures hanging on the wall, it feels overwhelming for many people. If your eyes aren’t able to rest because they are trying to take in all of the wall decor, it doesn’t make for a peaceful space.

If your walls are feeling cluttered, try taking down some of the things on the wall. Give it a few days to see how you feel with less. It may just be the breath of fresh air the space needed.

2. Things without a home

Items that float around your house and look out of place cause your home to look cluttered. Make sure that everything has a spot to be put away.

Keys can go on a key rack. Coats can be hung in a closet or on a coat rack. Purses can have their own hook.

Everything you own needs a home.

3. Over accessorized

A few select items displayed nicely together can look great. However, when there are tons of decor items everywhere the eye can see, it makes your home look cluttered.

While those Target dollar aisles are tempting, don’t fill your shelves with small seasonal decor pieces. Opt to have fewer decor pieces, particularly small ones if you don’t want a cluttered house.

One great tip I learned from reading Cozy Minimalist Home is to choose fewer accessories so that they have more of a presence in the room. Also, look for larger statement pieces that get noticed.

make your home look cluttered

4. Items out on kitchen counters

Kitchen counters often host a myriad of items. Utensils, appliances, soaps, canisters, knife blocks, and paper towels are common ones.

See if there is anywhere else you can store some of these items. Clear out some cabinet space for the toaster. Put the utensils in a drawer. See if the canisters can fit in the pantry.

It’s not necessary to remove everything off the counter. However, you might be surprised how much more open and spacious the kitchen feels even without just a few of the items that have been living on the countertop.

It is possible to clear the countertop clutter for good, but it does take some ongoing effort.

5. Supplies sitting out for uncompleted projects

Often times items have a home, but they aren’t put there. They’re left sitting out to serve as a reminder to finish a project or take care of something.

But how long are they left there cluttering up the space before you get around to it? Instead, jot a note on a whiteboard to remind yourself to take care of it or put a reminder in your phone.

Don’t leave clutter out as a reminder to do something.

overstuffed bookcase

6. Overfilled bookcases

A well-organized bookcase looks great in every home. However, when books multiply and are stuffed into every inch of the bookshelf, it looks cluttered.

Avoid double-stacking books or stacking additional books on top in that little bit of space above the row of books and the shelf.

Leave enough room on the shelves so that books are easy to access and remove. Organize the books in a way that makes sense for you (bonus if they also look aesthetically pleasing).

You don’t need to add accent pieces to your shelves. Some people like that, but others find that it ends up adding to the cluttered home décor feel.

7. Items you’re procrastinating on putting back in their space

Dana White in her book Decluttering at the Speed of Life coined the term procrasticlutter. The idea is items being left out due to procrastination.

Maybe we don’t feel like putting it away right now. We figure it would be more convenient or we would feel more motivated later, but that’s rarely true.

Procrasticlutter can show up in any place in the home. Items waiting to be put away until we have the time or until we feel like it.

Practice the one-minute rule to eliminate procrasticlutter. The one-minute rules is if it takes you less than a minute to put it away, do it now.

8. Mail on the counter

Countertops are often clutter magnets for various household items that don’t belong in the kitchen at all. If papers are getting dumped on your kitchen counter, clear them off and create a new system.

Papers should only be touched once and then sorted, recycled, or filed. Have one designed space where you put the bills waiting to be paid.

Go ahead and put all items to be filed in a folder or better yet go ahead and file them right away.

9. Papers and magnets on the refrigerator

What is on your fridge can make your home look cluttered. If papers are covering it along with countless magnets, it will look chaotic.

Eliminate most papers and pictures except for a select few. Keep fewer magnets on the fridge too. You may find that what you leave on there is still too much in which case, you can remove more.

While you are at it, also check the top of the fridge. When bulky items are stored on top of your fridge, it makes your house look cluttered.

10. Laundry left sitting out

Want to know the secret to make your living room or bedroom look instantly bigger? Remove the laundry.

Often clean (or dirty) laundry ends up in various rooms in the house. If you have piles of clean laundry sitting out in your home, now is the time to go ahead and put them all away.

Create a laundry routine that works for you and your home, but that doesn’t end with clean laundry sitting out for days (or weeks) on end.

make your home look cluttered

11. Oversized organizers

The very things intended to help you get organized can become part of the clutter problem. Oversized organizers or too many organizing pieces can make your home look cluttered.

Things like mail sorters or desktop organizers can overwhelm the space and attract more clutter as papers and items are placed in them. They can end up contributing to cluttered home decor.

While buying more organizing bins, baskets, and containers can be fun, always declutter before you organize.

12. Paperwork

Paperwork left sitting out on tables, countertops, desks, coffee tables, and anywhere else they get left will make your home look cluttered.

As you did with mail, create a system where papers are immediately dealt with. Being able to easily locate documents will make your life so much easier and your home less cluttered.

13. Electronics, cords, and cables

With the increased use of tablets, smartphones, computers, and other electronics can also come clutter. Have a docking station or drawer to store devices.

Keep cords, chargers, and cables organized and preferably hidden. Tangles of visible cords make your home look cluttered.

make your home look cluttered

14. Stuff on top of the nightstand and dresser

Your bedroom should be a relaxing space, but if you have lots of items on top of your nightstand and/or dresser it will make your home look cluttered.

Clear items from the top of the dresser and nightstand. Be selective with what you put back.

Try leaving fewer items out and see how it feels. You may find you’re much happier with the room when less is left sitting out and that it lessens your feelings of having a cluttered house.

15. Items on the counter in bathrooms

Often items are left out on the counter in the bathroom for convenience’s sake. Makeup organizers and excessive toiletries make the bathroom look cluttered.

Minimize what you leave out on the counter. Store daily use items and create a habit of putting them away when you’re done.

16. Things that are overflowing from their designated space

If you open a closet, drawer, or cabinet and are afraid items may fall out due to being overfilled, it’s time to reassess what you have. While some of those items may be hidden behind doors others may be more noticeable on open shelves.

If items are overflowing their space, it’s time to go through and declutter them. Excess stuff makes your space look cluttered and it doesn’t function well.

17. Labels

When soaps and lotions are left out next to sinks the labels on them can clutter up the space. The words, colors, and pictures draw your eyes to them.

You can either buy containers to use or make your own using mason jars and lids as I explain in this project.

We are constantly bombarded by advertisements and we’re surrounded by words everywhere. Having containers without labels is a nice reprieve. Some opt to do this in their pantry as well, but others find that too time intensive.

18. Donations waiting to be donated

After decluttering items that need to leave the home often end up lingering in the garage, basement, or in a box in the room they came out of.

It’s great to donate items responsibly, but make sure they actually leave your home. Extra bags and boxes of unwanted items lying around your home contribute to feeling like you have a cluttered home.

19. Trash and empty boxes

Trash sitting out in your home will also make it look cluttered. That includes empty boxes and packaging sitting out as well as anything else that belongs in a garbage can but hasn’t made its way there yet.

20. Magazines and newspapers

Magazines and newspapers have a way of migrating to various places in the home. When they are left out on tables or in other rooms they make your home look cluttered.

Evaluate whether or not you want to continue to subscribe to them. If you do, have a designed basket that you keep them in. Periodically go through and recycle old issues.

21. Mismatched items

Odd assortments of items can work together and have an eclectic feel or they may simply look like a mishmash of random items.

Contrasting patterns and colors, particularly bold ones, can make the home look more cluttered and less cohesive.

22. Things in wrong rooms

Especially when you have kids things have a way of migrating to the wrong room. Another way things end up in the wrong room is when you have too much and it overflows out of the space.

Create habits of putting things away and declutter rooms so that they don’t have more than they can contain.

23. Toys left sitting out

When toys find their ways out of their storage spaces they can make your home look cluttered. If you have oversized toys that can’t be put away and stored anywhere, consider letting them go.

Involve your kids in the decluttering process and have them help select which toys will be moving along.

When you have babies or young toddlers, clutter can be more of a challenge with large baby gear. It’s a short season so don’t sweat some excess items during that time.

24. Too much furniture or oversized furniture

Typically when you move, your furniture moves with you. In most cases, the rooms in your house are not the same size or shape as they were in your previous home.

Other times perhaps you forget to measure and order a piece of furniture that is too large for the space. When you have either too much furniture in a space or furniture that is too large for the room it can make your home look cluttered.

Don’t fill every inch of the rooms in your home with furniture. Remove pieces that you aren’t using or that are crowding the space.

25. So many shoes

If you have a shoe-free home and shoes are taken off immediately after coming into the house they may be making your home look cluttered.

Create a shoe storage solution that works for your home and family. For some, that is bins and for others, it’s shelves. Make sure everyone knows where their shoes need to go and keep extra shoes in closets.

You don’t want to walk into your home and immediately trip over shoe clutter.

From Cluttered Home to Haven

Your home should be a haven from the outside world. You should look forward to coming home and be able to relax in your space.

Check off these 25 areas in your home to make sure they aren’t making your home look and feel cluttered.

Keep up with The Simplicity Habit and get the Your Home Decluttered jumpstart with a list of 100 easy things to declutter and 12 areas you can declutter quickly by filling out the form below:

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  1. I enjoyed the 25 items that cause clutter list. The checklist sounds like a great guideline to implement decluttering! 😊

  2. Hi Julianna,

    I am focusing on organizing this year!

    I never thought about how some of your points can actually make your house look cluttered like over-sized organizers and labels.

    I am sharing this!

  3. Thank you for sharing this list. I definitely need to work on some of these things, like leaving laundry sitting in the basket next to my couch :/

  4. 2 years ago I made a rule that laundry MUST be folded and put away immediately after it leaves the dryer. I start a load of laundry as soon as there is enough to wash. It significantly reduces the stress of finding the clothes the family is looking for. It has been positively life changing.

  5. I’m convinced my husband has a strange peripheral vision problem. Once an object comes to rest on a horizontal surface, he can’t see it anymore. If it weren’t for me, things would sit around until they composted. Aaaaaagh!!!

  6. Love this post. Lots of great ideas that make sense. The problem I have is my husband. He is not so keen on change. Every time I take a picture off the wall he gets in a stink and explains how much framing costed for that or that is from our trip to Europe, or what is wrong with the way it was, etc … Any suggestions? I would like half of the stuff on our walls gone!

    1. I can relate, Amber! I’ve found that it is all about compromising. Explain what is most important to you & how you feel in the space and let him do the same. Often the person it is most important to wins.

  7. I identified with all 25 items and I am really trying to detach myself from all of it. Especially the unread magazines and books. I just want to keep a few in enclosed bookcase. I have started removing things from my home and appreciate this article so much.

  8. I purchased a small woven basket with a lid and all of our recharging cords go in that when not in use. I also removed most plastics with glass jars, bottles ect So labels aren’t an issue as I purchased a dymo labeller for hand soap ect . Much tidier and eco friendly too.

  9. Bookcases are under control. Not so, the refrigerator magnets. I rid the fridge of the pictures, notes, etc. that the magnets were holding. But… the magnets, too?

  10. Your information is inspiring; does not always work for people dealing with different life challenges, handicapped, limitations of injuries, life style changes. Many things I have discarded I now wish I had, mostly clothes. Also it does not help to solve the hoarder husband issue, which gets really worse with their retirement and physical issues. I would appreciate suggestions for both problems. Thank you

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