15 Easy Tips to Avoid a Cluttered House

Angela | Arrow
by Angela | Arrow

Living in a cluttered house can be more detrimental than we realize. Excess clutter causes anxiety. Here are some reasons your house feels stressful and some ideas to help improve the situation.


1. Perspective about needs

Thinking that we need everything that we have can cause a build-up of clutter. Much of what we’re holding onto may actually be weighing us down. We might not even realize that a lot of what we have is clutter because we think we need it all.

Cleaning floor

2. Not the right size house

Living in a house that is either too small or too large can cause stress. A small house can cause stress because we’re in each other's faces all the time and there’s not enough space. A large house means more cleaning. It can also mean there’s a loss of connection between family members if we’re all spread out in our own rooms.

This one is not an easy fix. Not everyone can just pick up and move to a new house. But the size of your home and how it affects your stress levels can be something to consider and be aware of.


3. No useable surfaces

Your house may feel stressful if you don’t have any cleared and open surfaces available. Cluttered countertops in the kitchen or tables piled high with homework, cluttered bathroom counters, or desktops can cause a lot of stress. These are working surfaces that need to be cleared.

If we need those surfaces and can’t use them because they are full of stuff, that can add a lot of stress to our lives. Find a way to keep those surfaces clear. This will greatly reduce the amount of stress we feel in our homes.


4. Overfilled containers

This does not just refer to smaller containers. This requires thinking about containers on a larger level.

Consider your drawers a container. Your closet is a container for your clothes. Your room is a container for your things. Allowing your closets, drawers, and rooms to become overstuffed with items can cause stress.

Organizing kitchen

5. No expectation of tidiness

Homes aren’t meant to be a showpiece at all times. There will be messes made. There will be clutter that accumulates.

However, if we don’t have an expectation that it can get back to a certain level of tidiness, the temporary disorder feels insurmountable.

Find a degree of tidiness that you know you can reset your home back to so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Organized drawer

6. Items that don’t have a place

It can be so helpful to make sure every item in your home has a specific place where it belongs. When we have too many things in the house that have no place to go, clutter can accumulate really quickly.

We end up shoving things in closets or baskets and then forgetting where we put them. Creating designated spaces will reduce the stress of figuring out where to put things and knowing where to find them when we need them.

Minimalistic desk space

7. Too much visual stimulation

If you have a lot of knick-knacks or even décor all around your home it causes the eyes to dart around from place to place which can make it very difficult to relax. You might want to consider only displaying a few of these items at a time and keeping things on rotation.

8. Too many storage spaces

We all need storage space but often those are the areas of our homes that cause us the most stress. When we have large storage spaces it gives us permission to keep putting more and more in there without really considering what we need to keep.

Try giving storage spaces a different use. Maybe you turn a walk-in closet into a home office or turn a storage area into an art studio. You will be forced to prevent the build-up of clutter and you will have a new and useful space.

9. Overuse of piles

If you need to do an archeological dig in your piles to get to the things you are looking for, you’re going to get stressed out. Keep your piles to a minimum.


10. Finishes that are difficult to keep clean

Difficult-to-clean surfaces can cause extra stress. Fingerprints on flat-painted finished walls are more difficult to clean than fingerprints on a semi-gloss or satin-painted wall.

Opt for fabrics, surfaces, and appliances made with easy-to-clean materials.

Unmade bed

11. Unmade beds

A bed takes up such a large visual area of a bedroom. Leaving your bed unmade may seem like a small chore to skip, but visually, it causes the entire room to look messy.


12. Many items underfoot

Toys, games, shoes, and all sorts of things clutter up our floors pretty quickly. Not being able to walk comfortably across the room can really add to your stress level.

Clearing the floors, and knowing you can walk safely across the room will bring you peace of mind.


13. Possessions that require too much maintenance

Houseplants are a great addition to any home, but if you have too many it can become stressful to care for.

Be realistic about what you can handle.

Spice drawer

14. Inefficient storage systems

Think about where you are storing things and make sure the place you put things away optimizes the efficiency of use. Set your spaces mindfully and store items based on their needs and uses.

Living room

15. Focusing on the burdens

Things will get stressful quickly if you focus too much on the burdens of the home and not enough on the delights. Our home is our haven. It’s important to take the time to enjoy the home we worked so hard for.

How to avoid a cluttered house

I hope these examples of what might be causing stress in your home help you gain some insight into your habits. Let’s avoid these pitfalls and regain control of our spaces.

Our homes should be a place of joy and relaxation. With a little bit of mindfulness and order, we can cultivate stress-free spaces.

Join the conversation
3 of 7 comments
  • P P on Oct 24, 2023
    Do not rely on electronic or cloud storage of important documents or photos! Technology marches on & you can't retrieve vintage documents or images! Print them out on acid free 100%cotton paper! (Have you tried to download your videos from your 1999 cell phone? or access docs on a floppy drive lately? Your wedding video on a VHS tape?)
    • Sonia Provencal Sonia Provencal on Nov 04, 2023
      Wedding video and pictures saved on VHS and/or 3 inch floppy. I took them to a store that was able to transfer the VHS to DVD and print Pictures from floppy. It wasn’t cheap but I’m glad we did. Now I need to see about getting a SIM card to transfer videos/pictures from old flip phones. 😳
  • Karin Lovelace Karin Lovelace on Nov 03, 2023
    Just STARTING a clean out can be overwhelming.THATS the HARD part…but remember…your home didn’t get cluttered over night..it’s not going to be spotless in one day…Celebrate your small accomplishments..even if it’s just a junk drawer that’s organized now…the more spaces you clear out the more motivating it will be..Consider donating unused items and clothing to local charities..some will come pick them up for you..saving you time and not adding to landfill waste..It’s a WIN WIN