10 Tricks For A Less Cluttered Look

Everyone has stuff. Some have a lot, while others take the minimalist approach. Regardless of amount, possessions can quickly accumulate and make a room feel cluttered, even if it really isn’t. While it is unwise to get rid of needed objects just to make things look good, a few tweaks can greatly improve both the look and feel of a space. These don’t take a lot of time, and can have a big impact.

Tips for Uncluttered Room. Possessions can quickly accumulate and make a room feel cluttered, even if it really isn’t.

Top 10 Tricks For A Less Cluttered Look

1. Line Up Shoes

Most people pile shoes near the door. This is both practical (handy when you need to walk out the door) and healthy (keeps dirt out of the home.) Unfortunately, a heap of shoes looks messy. Instead, line shoes up in pairs. It is surprising how much tidier this looks! To avoid having a wall full of shoes, periodically take a basket of the less frequently worn shoes back to the bedroom closets.

2. Push In Chairs

When life is busy, the discipline of pushing in the chair when leaving the table often falls to the wayside. However, given that it only takes a second, this is one habit worth resurrecting. You never see a staged photo in which the chairs are askew. This principle also applies to stools at the kitchen island. Lining them up makes a world of difference.

3. Remove Visual Overlaps

Bulletin boards and refrigerators make wonderful places for notes, reminders, and artwork. So wonderful, in fact, that we are constantly adding more. Unfortunately, overlapping paperwork looks out of control. Think of an art gallery, where pieces are given a wide birth so each can be easily seen. Furthermore, displayed items that are covered up no longer serve their purpose, as we can’t see them. To remedy the situation, simply remove everything, toss what is no longer current (or move it a memorabilia box), and then reload.

When hanging items, bear in mind the three secrets to an appealing visual display:

  1. Have space between each piece
  2. Ensure that each piece is level
  3. Don’t allow anything to hang over the edges

4. Trim/Remove Packaging

Many people today take advantage of bulk packaging, such as a multi-pack wrapped in plastic or large box with individually wrapped pieces inside. This makes good financial and environmental sense, but can hurt a space’s visual appeal and functionality. For instance:

  • A half used 24 pack of paper towels means a crinkled up mass of ragged plastic collecting dust in your basement or pantry.
  • A giant bag of potato chips with only a little bit at the bottom wastes space on your shelf and makes the bag hard to close.
  • Plastic dry cleaner bags crowd a closet and keep garments from breathing.
  • A bulk box of applesauce with a half-torn-open lid makes it difficult to access the contents and to see when it is time to repurchase.

The best solution is to diligently remove unnecessary packaging. Using the examples above, this would mean:

  • Remove the individual rolls of paper towels and put them on a shelf, and then dispose of the outer plastic. (If rolls are not individually wrapped and need to be stored in a dirty area, at least cut away the excess plastic as you access the rolls.)
  • Trim the chip bag as you eat it down (this also protects your sleeve from getting greasy from reaching inside.)
  • Remove the dry cleaner bags before putting the clothes in the closet.
  • Remove the applesauce containers and line them up on “risers” in your pantry and reuse/recycle the larger cardboard box.

5. Remove Tags

Towels, pillows, and blankets typically arrive with large and unsightly tags that are primarily there for advertising purposes. Grab your scissors and cut these off for an instant improvement. Price and brand stickers should also be removed from plastic containers as soon as you put them in place.

6. Pitch Sad Plants

Plants bring energy, softness, and oxygen to a room. They can also be a handy tool for hiding unsightly cords or outlets. However, a dead or scraggly plant looks awful and connotes a feeling of neglect in a room. If you have an out of sight location to nurse plants back to health, relocate them here. Otherwise, let them go.

7. Clear Out the Pen Cup

It is both functional and appropriate to have a desktop container with a few necessary supplies, such as pens, pencils, Sharpies and scissors. However, a cup or mug that is overstuffed is a visual distraction. Instead of keeping your entire pen collection out on display, cull the number of tools to 1-2 of each kind, and move the remainder to a supplies drawer or box. By establishing a place for overflow, you will have a more organized look, while still knowing just where to go when your pen runs dry.

8. Pick Up Clothes From The Floor

Anyone with a teenager knows how quickly clothes on the floor overrun a room. As a wise fellow organizer always says, “The floor is only for furniture.” To alleviate the problem, first make sure everyone in the family has a designated hamper for soiled clothing. Next, try to restore clean clothing to a closet or dresser. If you have resistant family members, (e.g. one who likes to try on many options and then drops the losers on the floor, or a child who enjoys changing clothes four times a day), provide a “wear again” bin/basket for anything that isn’t ready for the laundry. Lastly, furniture is not a closet, so hang up any coats and jackets that have landed on the backs of chairs, sofa arms, treadmills, etc.

9. Reduce Your Décor

Décor makes a space interesting and homey. Too much décor makes a room feel cluttered. As with bulletin boards, we often add new art and knick-knacks without removing the old. For a quick improvement, walk around with a box and pull out pieces that you no longer enjoy looking at. You can pack them away with memorabilia, or donate anything that you are finished with. Having fewer objects on a shelf will enhance your enjoyment of those that remain.

10. Make The Bed

This is an “oldie but a goodie.” Making the bed instantly makes the room look appealing. After all, comforters, duvets, and pillows are designed for display on the bed, not for lying on the floor. As with clearing the sink of dirty dishes or tossing old newspapers, making the bed can be a small way to achieve a sense of order and organization. Regardless of how hectic your days has been, when you return to the room at night, you can say, “Well, at least I got the bed made!”

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It isn’t necessary to use all of these tricks… just one might have a big impact. Which do you think would improve your space? Do you have another trick to share?

36 thoughts on “10 Tricks For A Less Cluttered Look”

    1. I don’t really enjoy making the bed, especially if my husband has tossed and turned. Sometimes it look like he did war with the bedding LOL! But I do love the crisp, “fresh start” feeling to a made bed.

    1. Clear areas are attractive! Many of my clients are sort of afraid of them, though. They worry that if they have a clear space they will fill it up with piles of stuff. Do you run into this?

  1. I’m going to use that ‘the floor is only for furniture’ line on my two sons. I may even make a sign and post it in their rooms! I’m a stickler for #2 as well. Thanks for sharing your observations and great ideas.

    1. #2 is one of those VERY small things that makes a huge difference. I think my children will die with the words, “Did you push in your chair?” ringing in their ears!

  2. I think that making your bed is the ultimate trick to keeping the bedroom looking spiffy, creating a peaceful haven. Such a simple trick that takes only minutes. I wonder why everyone doesn’t do it!

    1. Bed making can be a tough sell with some, but I am totally with you. Not only is it nice to look at, but a fresh bed is much more fun to crawl into at night!

  3. I completely agree with all the things on your list! I have the snack cabinet in my kitchen that I revamped a few years ago. Nothing stays in its original package anymore but rather is placed in clear, matching canisters. Opening the cabinet makes me smile everytime. I’m a sucker for uniformity!

    1. I have some bins in my pantry that serve as drawers as well. That kind of thing makes me happy as well. Not only does it look better, but I know exactly where to reach to find everything!

    1. Flowers are a decorative item that actually deters clutter, so great tip, Jill! I wish I had more flowers in my garden… too many bunnies, deer, chipmunks, groundhogs, etc.

  4. It’s funny because on Tuesdays, our cleaning lady comes. Katie. Sorry. I hate when my kids call her “the cleaning lady.” Anyway, KATIE makes the bed and lines up the shoes and even with everything else she does, those two things instantly make a difference in walking in the house and walking in the bedroom. I LOVE it.
    Tamara recently posted…Checking Items Off Your Bucket List!My Profile

    1. I believe cleaning teams embrace these ideas, and I just completely agree that they make the biggest impact of all! It really doesn’t take very long, and the result is worth it:)

  5. It’s always these little things that add up. I am surprised how just lining up glasses in an orderly way makes a cabinet look more organized. Thanks for these little tricks!

    1. That’s so true about the glasses, especially if you have a glass-front cabinet. I remember my builder giving me a “teasing” warning when we were building about not stuffing it full of ugly plastic cups. I turned and looked at her and said, “This is me you are talking to. I’m practically pulling out the ruler and making sure each glass is properly spaced!”

  6. What a great list! It’s interesting that what may seem natural or logical to some are habits or ideas that others would never think of. What I really love about your list is that these small tweaks are practical and SO doable. The “sad plants” one especially resonated with me. I love having plants in our home. As you said they bring energy and life. However, when they stop thriving, I need to let them go because it makes me sad to look at them.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…Who Are the Fantastic People On Your Organizing Team?My Profile

    1. I am a plant lover too – they are all over my spaces. Once I was in an office full of either dead plants or those “shade loving” plants that grow like a vine – except it was basically one vine strung through hooks over the window and across the wall. Not exactly attractive. I have a tough time pitching living things, but I am working on it and getting better. If it doesn’t enrich the space, it’s gotta go!

  7. Owrayt! Can you believe it? I do all 10! I guess I’m doing a pretty good job huh. LOL. Thanks for validating. At least I know I’m doing things right. Now the only thing I have to handle is living with 2 boys who seem to be fond of visual distractions. I can train my 5- yr old but the husband not so much. How ironic! Haha

    1. I don’t think most husbands want to be trained (wink, wink…) Good for you doing all 10 – I think I would like being in your space and I bet it looks terrific!!

  8. I do most of these things, but it never even occurred to me to cut the tags off of my towels! Yet do you know how many times I’ve had to turn a towel around because someone hung it with the label side facing? Doh!

    1. Once you start looking at the tags, you can hardly sit still without leaping up with scissors and snipping them off. Well, at least I can’t!

  9. All great ideas. I’m actually starting to de-clutter my entire home. Since Mum passed away, I had to bring many of her belongings here. I just can’t hang onto all of my stuff and hers, so I’m weeding out the things I never use anymore and planning to have a large garage sale soon!

    1. I encounter this situation a lot, where people are holding furniture from parents, uncles, etc. It is a tough one, because you feel emotionally attached. At the same time, it often takes up a lot of space, and interferes with life in the household. I affirm you, Marcia! If you end up having a lot, might want to consider an online auction… less work for you!

  10. Great tips! I could improve in many of these areas. Many…. I need to start working on some of these habits. Things like the chair one or the overlapping one, I would never have thought of, but they are simple enough to do. Nice pin too! I’ve scheduled it out to all my organizing boards.
    Adrian G recently posted…Treasure Your Memories with MixbookMy Profile

    1. Thanks for the support, Adrian. I hope that a couple of these could be so simple that anyone could start them today – and they really do have a big impact!

    1. That is a great point, Anne. Often we spend a lot of time and energy decorating a room, and then all that effort and expense goes to waste, hidden under the cluttered mess. The very fact that the effort can’t be enjoyed can be discouraging!

  11. So happy to have you following, Shenandoah! Moving is the #1 reason why people purge, and it is a very smart thing to do. I think in the midst of transition, we realize that we don’t need to cling to possessions as much as we thought. We have a chance to make a bit of a fresh start, and the items associated with the past lifestyle suddenly aren’t so critical!

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