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20 Reasons Your Home Looks Cluttered

You’ve cleaned your house, but something still seems off. Despite a major declutter, you still aren’t feeling the joy. Don’t feel defeated! Let’s figure it out. These are 20 reasons your home looks cluttered, and how to fix them.


Are you constantly tidying up, yet still feeling like your house is cluttered? It might be because you're making some common decluttering mistakes.  | We Three Shanes

Reasons Your Home Looks Cluttered

Did you know there are things that make your home look cluttered even when it’s clean. Yep. You can clean like crazy, follow a decluttering challenge, organize your garage, but you might be doing things that make your home look cluttered without even realizing it.

In this post we will explore 20 reasons your home looks cluttered. By understanding why your home is cluttered, you can work on fixing the problem. So let’s get started!

1. You Still Have Too Much Stuff

The one thing that will make your home look cluttered no matter what is too much stuff. Most people declutter but don’t get rid of enough stuff. So be honest with yourself and decide if you still need to do a major declutter.

And there is no right way to do this, just find a method that works for you. You can try, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, or give The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker a go. Figure out what your goals are and declutter, declutter, declutter to get your home moving in the right direction.

Don’t forget, the less stuff you have, the less there is to maintain (and see).

2. Your Items Don’t Have a Home

If an item is going to be in my house, it has to have a specific place where it is kept. This is a major rule in my house that helps it stay clean and organized. Anything that does not have a home becomes part of a pile, or clutter.

So, throughout the process of decluttering, if an item is going to stay, it has to have a specific place where it is kept. And the same rule applies to any new item brought into your house, you must find it a home.

3. You Are Using the Wrong Rugs

Rugs can be beautiful, I am not a rug hater at all. Just make sure that if you bring rugs into your home, that they are the right size, and that you don’t have too many. Especially don’t buy undersized rugs, that always makes a room appear more cluttered, and closed in.

Not sure what rug size is the best? Check out this area rug size guide to find the best rugs for your space.

4. Your Bed is Unmade

An unmade bed can be one of the reasons your home looks cluttered.

Make your bed everyday! This is a huge rule in our home. You will honestly be surprised how much this affects your home and your mood when you make it a habit and have a put together bed everyday.

An unmade bed invites more mess and chaos, and makes your room look cluttered and messy…even when the rest of the room is clean.

5. Too Much on Your Walls

Having too much on your walls might be one of the reasons your home looks cluttered. I am not saying you need to have bare, white, minimalist walls. But you also don’t need to fill every inch of wall space with art or lots of small family photos.

Pick your favorite pieces and make sure they are large and substantial so they look upscale, and not cheap. Put them on one or two walls in your rooms, and leave the other walls blank. At least some open space is pleasing to the eye.

6. Counter Tops Covered with Stuff

Just like your walls, not every inch of your counter tops should be covered. First, you need room to cook in your kitchen, so you want to have space to work. But having your counters full of stuff will make them look cluttered no matter how organized the stuff is.

Only leave appliances on the counters if they are too big to move easily, or you use them every single day. Make sure everything else has a hidden home in an easily accessible cupboard or pantry space.

7. Decor Overload

I LOVE home decor. As much as I want to be more minimalist, I still just love it.

Treasure hunting for the perfect piece for my home is one of my favorite things to do. But, I have to make sure that everything I am bringing in has a place (of course), but also that it is the appropriate size.

I try not to have too many smaller tchotchkes. Go for larger scale pieces, and make sure they are grouped in the right numbers (check out my post on The Rule of 3 to learn more about how to do that), with breathing room in between.

8. Your Entry is a Dumping Ground

Another reason your home might look cluttered is that you have let your entry space become your dumping ground. Even if the rest of your house is clutter free, when the very first thing you see when you walk in the door is clutter, it will seem like a cluttered house.

If at all possible, make sure you set up a space besides your entry to drop off purses, keys, backpacks, all your shoes and extra jackets. When you don’t have an actual mud room, you can make a drop-off zone in your garage, laundry room, or coat closet.

If there is simply no other place in your home for these types of items, make sure you have ways to contain the mess, like with hooks, racks, or baskets.

9. Too Many Pillows

Lots of throw pillows on a couch making it look cluttered.

Too many pillows could be one of the reasons your home looks cluttered. This can be on a bed or couch. A few throw pillows here or there, can be beautiful, and add just the right decorative touch to your home. But if there are too many, it can begin to look like clutter.

It can also make a lot more work for you. You don’t want to spend too much of your time fluffing and fixing pillows. Plus, when there are too many, they often get moved when someone sits down because they become uncomfortable.

10. Neglecting Out of Sight Spots

You can have a spotless kitchen, but if you open your pantry door and it is an unorganized space, stuffed to the gills, you will probably still feel like you have a cluttered space.

When you declutter and clean, don’t forget about the spaces behind closed doors, like garages, cupboards, or closets. If those areas are still cluttered, then your house will still often feel cluttered. Even if you can’t see it all the time, your brain still knows it’s there.

11. Projects

If you leave projects out as a visual reminder to do them, not only are they making your home look more cluttered, they are probably being ignored as your eyes get used to them being out.

Instead, add them to your to-do list and put the actual project away. Not only will they stay out of sight, but you will be more likely to get to them.

12. Sink Full of Dishes

A sink full of dishes is a visual reminder of things being unfinished. Try keeping up with your dishes throughout the day. If some dishes just can’t be done as you go, make sure you are at least washing your dishes and cleaning your sink before bed. You will thank yourself in the morning when you have a fresh start at keeping your kitchen clutter free.

13. Unfinished Laundry

Try not to start laundry when you know you won’t have time to finish it. This just leads to laundry pile ups that clutter up your home, and wrinkled clothes.

Instead, do laundry when you know you will be home to fold it or hang it up right as it finishes in the dryer.

Also, if laundry is a consistent problem, make sure you don’t have too many clothes. Try to make it so your closet is 80% full of clothes you wear daily, and only 20% clothes you wear occasionally.

If you need help in this area then check out these two popular posts, How to Cut Your Wardrobe in Half and Why you have too many Clothes.

14. Dark, Dark, Dark

Dark colors make a space feel less airy and bright. This can make a space feel more closed in. This does not mean you need to only have white walls and furniture, but at least think about using darker colors as more of an accent.

If you have a room that is painted a dark color, and you love it, just make sure you balance it with some lighter furniture or accessories.

Also make sure your rooms have good enough light. If you don’t have enough natural light, lamps can be great for getting better light without it being too harsh.

15. Too Much Pattern and Color

A little pop of color or pattern can finish off a room beautifully. Rooms packed full of mixed patterns and colors could be a reason your home looks cluttered. Just make sure that you are using patterns and colors sparingly to avoid overload.

16. Paperwork

Stack of paperwork on a desk could be one of the reasons your home looks cluttered.

Stacks of paperwork or mail on top of tables, counters, or desks can make them look cluttered. Plus it is a visual reminder of things you haven’t taken care of. Try to take care of paperwork right as it enters your home.

Make a file system for things you have to keep, and keep a shredder near where mail and paperwork enter your home. This way junk mail and paperwork you don’t need can be taken care of right away before they become another cluttered mess to take care of.

Another idea is to keep some of the paper from entering your home by signing up for paperless statements, and by getting off of junk mail lists.

17. Mismatched Items

Mismatched items could be making your home appear more cluttered. Matching towels, dishes, linens, storage bins, ect. make for a more cohesive look. They are pleasing to the eye, and less likely to look cluttered in your closets and cupboards.

Did you know you can get plain white dishes at the dollar store? It is a great place to start building a matching set because it doesn’t take a lot of money at once. One week, buy 4 matching white plates. A month later, you can buy 4 white bowls. Getting matching items does not have to break the bank.

18. Toys

Just like any other items in your home, toys need to have their own homes. So if your kids toys are busting out of their designated spaces, it is probably time to declutter.

Also teach you children where the homes for their toys are, and make it a habit that they are to clean them every night before bed. This helps them feel more responsible, teaches them good habits, and it makes sure the whole family is waking up to clean spaces.

19. Too Much Furniture

Just like our counter tops and walls need some visual breathing room, so do our actual rooms. Don’t fill every inch of space with too much furniture or the wrong sized furniture.

A couch that is way too big for your space is going to make that space feel crowded, overstuffed, and cluttered. But small furniture can do the same thing, if there is too much of it.

Make sure you are getting furniture that is the appropriate size for your room, and that you don’t shove too many pieces into one space.

20. A Coffee Table

Now, if you love your coffee table, and it brings you joy, keep it. I, however, find them to be clutter collectors. Plus, they can be tripping hazards, or a place to stub your toe.

If you really want something to take up some space in front of your couch, I would suggest an ottoman over a coffee table. It makes for a comfortable place to put your feet up, while not collecting the amount of clutter that a coffee table can.

Are you guilty of any of these decluttering mistakes? If so, don't worry - you're not alone! Here are 20 common errors people make when decluttering their homes, and how to avoid them.

How to Get Started Fixing the Reasons Your Home Looks Cluttered

If I had to pick a place to start, I would start with Rules 1 and 2. Decluttering your home as much as you can, and then finding a home for everything that stays will make the biggest difference in the look and feel of your home.

Once you have those two things taken care of, that alone should free up the time and space to take on other rules and challenges to reach your clutter free home goals.

Now you know some of the reasons your home looks cluttered, and some ways to fix them. You even have a suggestion on where to start, and are better equipped to make your decluttered home goals a reality. We know you can do it!

Where do you think you will start? Do you have a favorite decluttering tip you would like to share? Let us know in the comments.

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