Interior Decorating, Organizing
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Public Service Announcement: Visual Clutter

Everybody Loves Raymond

Everybody Loves Raymond on ABC


The Middle on ABC

The Middle on ABC


I’m going to be brief (or I’m going to try.) Kids bring a lot of clutter to a house.  We’ll define clutter  as a confusing or disorderly state.  Kids make houses disorderly.  It is their job.  This is directed at you, the parent of the “culprits”.  It is a no win exhausting battle between “picked up for 5 minutes” and “complete and utter chaos”.  I am Type A.  I can take 2 days of things being disorderly and then I start to freak out a little.  I have systems.  I have mantras…like things must go together is my favorite.  I have help.  (I also have anti-help).  I have training, if you will, to deal with these scenarios.  AND I still fight the forces of good and evil.

I help a lot of people with their houses.  If you are battling the clutter fight and want a calm uncluttered home…if you do not want your home to continue to look like the two pictures above then you must listen to me.

You will have visual crazy clutter no matter what because that is life, especially if you have kids.  But please do not add to it by doing the following:

Open storage.  It hurts me.  Glass front cabinets are amazing if you have a complete matched set of monochromatic dishes arranged artfully.  Mismatched mugs, shot glasses from around the world, wine glasses with writing on them (just stop it) equates to visual clutter.  Open shelves with art supplies.  No.  Open anything.  Just don’t buy it anymore.  It’s too much.  We are seeing too much.  I don’t need to see all of your office supplies.  I am going to stop here.  Just remember.  Open storage if you grapple with clutter issues is BAD.

Prime Real Estate.  I’m not talking about property.  I’m talking about the kitchen cabinet next to your sink.  Or the middle of your pantry.  Or the coat closet directly opposite the door you use everyday.  Why do you have your Christmas dishes next to your sink thus half of your glasses and mugs are on the counter or horror upon horrors on a mug tree?  (Again visual clutter–and only pertains if you have clutter issues).  Why is the middle of the pantry loaded with Costco paper products and the top of your refrigerator is full of cereal boxes?  And please, I know I sound upset, but I am passionate about this subject….Why is the vacuum and game collection in the coat closet and all of the coats and shoes are lining the hallway? I promise I don’t yell at people or judge.  I just want you to live peacefully.  I do.  And it is so hard when you can’t find your left shoe.

Sometimes to get to use your Prime Real Estate–you have to purge.

And lastly just to keep it simple.  Just for now.  Just until you get to a happy place with the clutter.  Remember these decorating rules:

If it smaller than a football don’t display it.

Tone down the patterns and go simple with colors.  Monochromatic can be a good thing.  For now.

Set “zones” for your areas.  Pick ONE spot for displaying pictures–ie the piano, the dining room buffet.  Pick a spot for books and keep them together.  Work-out equipment–ONE place.  Kids crafts–find a place that is realistic for the family and stick with it.  One place, one spot, one category.  Homework area.  Use bins that are NOT transparent.  Use deep baskets. Use cabinets.  Label the cabinets so everyone knows.  Be realistic about how much room you need and only have ONE step involved in putting anything away.  Ie…Open door and put on shelf.  (sort of two steps but you get the point).

I could go on and on and on and on.  But I’ll stop here lest I overwhelm you.

Purge it.  Like things together.  Concealed storage.  Be realistic.  Keep it simple with colors and patterns.  Small is bad.  Big is better.  (Less visual clutter)

Know that if you have kids or that this is an area where you are challenged that you can only eat an elephant one piece at a time.  And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Love to you all.  Happy Sunday everyone.



    • Jen says

      No! Although I had to laugh when I saw what you wrote. I knew it was you before I even saw the name. I have shared my thoughts on this subject many a time, and with less vehemenance, to many. It was just FRESH on my mind! That and the fact that I have the entire plastic playschool kitchen and every piece of plastic and wood food ever made in my family room.

  1. Alyson says

    How funny…yes I believe I have perhaps had this conversation. Over and over and over and over….

  2. Kristi says

    I am laughing as I read this and look around the room I’m in! You would die if you came in my house but I love, love, love your ideas… seems so easy and sensible yet I can’t figure it out by myself! Thank you,keep them coming! 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much! Thanks for reading! Hope you have a fabulous week!

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