Reduce visual clutter in your home with these 22 easy tips!
Do you often feel like your house still looks messy even after you’ve tidied everything up?
If so, you may have too much stuff displayed and lying around your home.
In short, you may have a lot of visual clutter.
We might not realize it, but visual clutter can negatively impact us in many ways.
All those little visual distractions that we think are harmless can hinder our lives in our homes.
But don’t worry, you can easily get rid of them!
In this blog post, you’ll learn what exactly is visual clutter, what causes it, and what its consequences are.
And more importantly, I share with you 22 effective ways to reduce visual clutter in your home!
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What is visual clutter?
Visual clutter is anything in your home that makes it look messy, disorganized, and cluttered.
It can be anything from an excess of decorations scattered around your space to things left out on flat surfaces.
It can also be things that don’t match other pieces in your room or an overabundance of furniture that makes the space look smaller.
In a nutshell, visual clutter is anything that’s distracting your eyes when you enter a room, and that makes it look cluttered and chaotic.
What causes visual clutter?
A variety of things can cause visual clutter.
The first one is that we own too much stuff.
When we have a lot, it’s more difficult to keep things tidy, and items end up left on flat surfaces.
Things might also not fit into our furniture and storage closets.
Thus, they are left out, distracting us whenever we’re in the same room.
We might also have too many decorations and furniture pieces.
This can make the space look messy and chaotic, even when everything has been tidied up.
What’s more, some of us may struggle with impulse buying.
In other words, we’re constantly bringing more things into our homes, which creates visual clutter.
And we might not have the time, energy, or emotional bandwidth to declutter our homes.
Sometimes, visual clutter is a consequence of unmade decisions or unfinished projects.
For instance, we might have received mail, but since we didn’t take the time to tackle the pile, it sits there.
Or we might have started a craft project with our kids but we didn’t get around to finishing it.
As a result, there are craft supplies everywhere.
Why should you reduce visual clutter at home?
Visual clutter can negatively impact us and our lives in many ways.
a. Visual clutter causes stress
Living in a home that looks chaotic can be overwhelming to our senses, particularly our eyes, and cause anxiety and stress.
It makes us think that there is constantly something that needs to get done.
b. Visual clutter leads to restlessness
It can make it harder for us to enjoy and feel good in our space, meaning that we might struggle to relax and rest.
As a result, we feel exhausted, not to mention that excess clutter can lead to poor sleep.
c. Visual clutter makes us less productive and creative
Constantly having something to look at can also make it hard for us to focus on the task we are doing, particularly for those of us struggling with ADHD.
So visual clutter can definitely impact our productivity levels.
It can also hinder our creativity and decision-making abilities because it prevents us from thinking clearly.
d. Visual clutter is time- and energy-consuming
Another consequence of visual clutter is that it’s harder for us to clean and tidy our space.
When there are tons of things on flat surfaces, it’s a pain to have to dust each one of them, and the surfaces they’re on.
It’s sucking up a lot of our time and energy!
We may also struggle to find things when there’s too much stuff around, which also makes us waste time.
And the list could go on and on…
22 effective ways to reduce visual clutter at home
1. Remove unnecessary furniture pieces
Have a look at each room in your home and ask yourself whether you need and use all the furniture pieces.
Are there any unnecessary pieces?
Could you replace a bulky dresser with a smaller one?
Are there any extra side tables or chairs that you never use?
Furniture pieces take up a lot of room in our spaces and can change how a room looks.
Consider getting rid of any you don’t like or use often enough.
2. Clear all surfaces
One of the things that contributes the most to visual clutter is having flat surfaces filled with tons of things on them.
Keep your flat surfaces clear and try to have as much negative space as possible.
It will make the space look a lot more peaceful, and it will be so much easier to dust and clean!
3. Limit knick-knacks
Having too many knick-knacks around our homes can give the space a cluttered and messy look.
So limit how many knick-knacks you display and check that everything goes well together.
If you can’t seem to part with most of them, consider rotating them.
Put some away in storage and every season, bring them back and put some others away.
Having only several pieces out at a time will make them stand out more and you’ll be able to enjoy them more.
4. Put away appliances you don’t use daily
Are you struggling to find space to prepare food on your kitchen counters?
You might have too many things on them!
Remove everything from your kitchen counters and only put back the things you know you use daily.
As far as appliances go, I only keep my electric kettle out because it’s the only one I use every day.
All the others are put away in my kitchen cupboards.
And let me tell you, wiping out the counters after cooking is so much easier that way!
5. Keep toys contained in one area
If you have kids, you may have toys scattered around your entire house.
This creates visual clutter and takes up a lot of time to tidy up every day.
Not to mention we all hate stepping on tiny Legos in the middle of the night!
To avoid that, consider keeping your kids’ toys contained in one area of your house.
It could be anything from your children’s bedroom, a piece of furniture in your living room, or a designated playroom.
Try to teach your kids to only play and keep their toys in those areas so that you don’t have to tidy up the whole house after they’ve played.
Of course, there might be some exceptions but following this rule can simplify your life and how much you need to tidy every day.
6. Leave some walls empty
We all love beautiful wall decor, but sometimes, we tend to go overboard with how many items we hang on our walls.
And most of us also feel obligated to hang something on every wall in our homes.
To reduce visual clutter, avoid hanging something on every wall and only choose one or two in each room.
That way, the decor you choose to hang will create a focal point and stand out.
Your eyes will be drawn to it every time you enter the room and the space will not look overcrowded.
7. Prefer closed storage furniture
While open shelves and closets might be practical, having everything visible in a room creates a lot of visual distraction for the eyes.
So instead of open storage furniture, prefer closed pieces, such as chests of drawers, closed cabinets, and closets with doors.
You don’t want to see everything you own as soon as you enter a room!
8. Avoid items with words written on them
Some of the items that contribute the most to visual clutter are items with words written on them.
When we have them displayed in our homes, our eyes are constantly trying to read them, even without us realizing it.
So avoid picking word signs as decorations, and try to limit the number of products with logos and labels you leave out.
Take the labels off so your eyes aren’t constantly distracted or store them in a closed cabinet or drawer.
9. Don’t go overboard with throw pillows
Yes, throw pillows look great and they make our homes cozy and comfortable.
But how many of them do we truly need?
Many of us go overboard with how many we have on our beds and couches and this can look messy.
Not to mention it can get overwhelming to take them all off the bed at night and put them back again in the morning!
Instead of having ten on your bed, why don’t you give having only two a try?
You will love the simplicity of your bed or couch with fewer throw pillows!
10. Only display your favorite decorations
Like Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, I’m a huge believer that we should have “less, but better”.
And the same principle can be applied to decor.
Having less decor gives the things you decide to keep more power and meaning.
They stand out and have a bigger impact on the looks of your space.
So consider only displaying your best and favorite decorations.
Don’t keep a decor piece just because you have it.
Do you like it?
Is it beautiful?
Or do you find it ugly?
Is it a pain to dust every week?
This is your sign to release the extra meaningless decorations and display less.
But not only less, but better.
11. Don’t overfill your bookshelves
If you have an open bookshelf in your home, be intentional with how you display things on it.
For instance, if you have many books that you store vertically, avoid stacking other books on top of them.
Otherwise, the shelf will look overcrowded and cluttered.
To reduce visual clutter, keep things neatly organized and leave some empty space.
Similarly, avoid putting stuff on top of tall furniture pieces, like armoires, bookshelves, and fridges.
This doesn’t look good!
12. Stick to a few colors that go well together
Choose a color palette for your home, or each room, and stick to it.
Pick colors that go well together and try not to display items whose color is too different from the color palette.
This doesn’t mean you should have a monochromatic room or only have neutral colors.
You can add some accent colors if you want.
Just make sure the colors you choose create a harmonious look when used together.
For instance, if you opt for different shades of blue for your bedroom, a bright red bedding set might not be the best option for you.
13. Hide cords from electronics
Wires and cords are such a pain to keep neat and organized and they create a lot of visual clutter!
So see if you can declutter some of them.
Are there any you don’t need or use anymore?
Once you only have what you use often, think about how you can hide them.
Maybe you will need to attach some of them behind your furniture pieces with tape or hang them with special command hooks like these.
Also, remember to put away cables like phone chargers inside cabinets and drawers so they don’t end up lying around your home when not in use.
14. Get some organizational items
If you want to reduce visual clutter, you will need to keep things out of sight or contained.
A great way to do that is to utilize organizational trays and baskets.
For instance, storage baskets are great for storing things like accessories in your entryway, small toys, or even extra blankets.
You can use organizational trays for storing mail or for keeping all your daily on-the-go essentials together (like your wallet, keys, and sunglasses) by your front door.
These organizational pieces will keep things contained in one spot and will prevent messes from happening.
It will be easy to put things back when you’re done using them.
15. Find a home for everything
Things that don’t have a designated home in our space are usually placed on flat surfaces.
We don’t know where to put them so we end up putting them on the nearest table or kitchen counter.
And they sit there, cluttering up our space and distracting our eyes every time we pass by them.
So it is crucial to designate a home for everything so you know where to put them back when you’re not using them.
16. Keep your fridge clear
Fridges attract clutter super easily!
From magnets to coupons to kids’ drawings, we may be tempted to hang all kinds of things on our fridges.
While it may be practical to do that, it contributes to visual clutter.
To keep your kitchen decluttered and simple, clear everything from your fridge.
Now is the time to get rid of magnets, restaurant menus, photos, or anything that’s creating a visual distraction when you’re cooking.
If you still want to keep some of those, at least try to limit how much you display.
Keep the most meaningful or useful pieces and remove the rest.
17. Have a designated space for shoes
Especially for those of us who have big families, the entryway can get super messy and disorganized because of the overabundance of shoes.
Even if we don’t have children, we may have shoes scattered around our home!
To prevent this from happening, have a specific designated space where you put your shoes.
Let everyone know that every time they take their shoes off, they have to put them in that designated space.
18. Declutter regularly
One of the most straightforward ways to reduce visual clutter in your home is to keep your inventory low.
When we have fewer things in our homes, we usually have fewer things scattered around flat surfaces like floors or tables.
On the other hand, when we have too much stuff, furniture pieces get filled to the brim and things often spread out outside of them.
When we live with less, it’s also a lot easier to tidy our space and make it look visually pleasing.
So make it a habit to declutter your home often.
I do this at least once every season to make sure clutter doesn’t accumulate in my space.
Here are some articles that you will find helpful for that:
- How to declutter fast? 25 effective and quick decluttering hacks
- 8 common mistakes to avoid when decluttering your home
- 9 helpful tips to get out of a decluttering rut
- 18 areas most people forget to declutter
19. Tidy your home at the end of each day
Another habit you should adopt today is to remember to tidy your home at the end of each day.
We all live busy lives and our homes can get messy.
It’s completely normal.
But we can easily reduce visual clutter by taking 15 minutes each night to put things back where they belong and tidy up.
Rearrange the throw pillows and put the blankets neatly folded on your couch.
Put the pile of laundry away.
Ask your kids to pick up after themselves and tidy their room.
Read more: 20 lazy habits for a clutter-free home
20. Put things away when you’re done using them
To make tidying at the end of the day even quicker, get into the habit of putting things away as soon as you’re done using them.
Don’t put them down on flat surfaces, but put them away completely.
For instance, after you’ve eaten your meal, immediately put your plates in the dishwasher so they don’t pile up in your sink.
After you’ve taken off your coat, don’t leave it on a chair, but hang it back in your closet.
21. Color-coordinate books and clothes
Another great way to make things more visually appealing is to color-coordinate colorful things like clothes or books.
For instance, if you have many books displayed on a bookshelf, consider putting the darker covers separate from the lighter ones.
Do something similar in your closet.
Put black clothes with other black pieces, then move on to each color you have and do the same, and finish with your white clothing.
22. Get rid of packaging
If you like to keep packaging from products you buy, consider getting rid of it, or at least, put those boxes out of sight in the basement or the attic.
We often tend to put them in closets, thinking they are stored out of sight.
But the reality is that they create unnecessary visual clutter in our closets.
Every time we open our closet to take something out, we see them.
So take them somewhere that’s really out of sight, where you will not see them every day.
Final thoughts on how to reduce visual clutter
I hope you’ve found this article helpful and that it gave you some ideas on how to reduce visual clutter in your home!
We may think that visual clutter isn’t a big deal and that we can’t be bothered to clear it.
But it does impact us on a daily basis.
It makes our homes look messy, makes it harder for us to clean and tidy, and contributes to our levels of stress and anxiety.
Embracing minimalism or simply getting rid of visual distractions will have a massive impact on how you feel in your home.
What are your favorite ways to reduce visual clutter in your home?
Feel free to leave a comment!
Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends to help them declutter anything that is visually distracting in their homes too.