So often when our house is cluttered, we try to organize our stuff to try and make our home look cleaner and more put together. However, there are some organizing mistakes that can actually make your clutter look worse, not better.
In reality, you are nothing more than an organized mess!
Ultimately, the answer to your clutter problems is less stuff.
Although, sometimes we cannot get rid of some necessary or enjoyed items, so we need a way to organize them without creating more clutter havoc!
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Organizing mistakes that add to clutter and make you seem like an organized mess:
1 – A home command center not executed properly
Home command centers are amazing.
They help organize our calendars, our mail, and any other essentials that help us run our homes on a day to day basis.
If not careful, your command center can look as unorderly as mail just sitting around in stacks around your home.
Related Post: 10 Amazing Family Command Centers
Stop the inflow of paper clutter
When creating a family command center or any other system to manage mail, make sure it is one that addresses any immediate would-be clutter.
First, try to stop any unnecessary mailings.
You can check out my three secrets to clearing clutter and where to start for some direction on websites you can use to stop the inflow of junk mail.
Then, enforce a rule that any mail that can be recycled or handled in under one minute is handled immediately.
Having a simple system will help with the piles of mail tremendously!
If you are super motivated, adopt a five-minute rule. The five-minute rule is a simple system you put in place where you stop and handle any mail you can in the first five minutes of bringing it into your home. The rest can be filed for handling later.
Create a mail sorting system
Try to create a system that kind of hides your mail. I don’t mean hide it so you forget about it. Just a system that hides it from visually looking like a giant mess!
Here’s what not to do with your mail and family command center…
I once had fancy sorting container that held our mail, important folders, pens, pencils, and just about everything else. It was a command center to envy, so I thought!
I was so proud of this system. I actually declared to my husband that it was going to solve all our organizational problems.
I put it on an entry-way table, and then… we dumped EVERYTHING there.
It was nothing more than an organized mess!
My organization “hack” wasn’t really a hack because we had too much stuff. We also had no system for handling the stuff coming into our home.
Finally, I created a folder for any mail that needs to be handled, and I touch it once a week. It all goes into a drawer (or basket) so my flat surfaces are kept clear.
Once a week, I am purposeful about touching the mail that needs handling.
We have a family calendar that hangs on the side of the fridge that no one else sees when entering our home, so it isn’t as cluttered as hanging on the front of the fridge.
Whatever, you come up with, pick a place that makes your home look inviting, organized and uncluttered.
Related posts: Super Simple Mail Organization Without a Big DIY Project! and The Secret to Curing Kitchen Counter Clutter
2 – Messy shoe storage
We don’t wear shoes in the house, so they get taken off right by the front door.
Not wearing shoes in the house requires a shoe storage system. However, if you are not careful, your shoe storage can make the front door area look like a cluttered, kind of organized mess!
While baskets work great, they can seem jumbled and chaotic. (Full disclosure, I did like baskets when my kiddos were too young to do much else.)
If you have the space, try placing a heavy-duty boot tray into the floor of your entry-way closet.
A boot tray will catch any dirt from your shoes, and it creates a storage place that is out of sight, clearing up the entryway.
You can also try a shoe rack, just placed in your entry-way closet, rather than as an eye-sore in your room.
“Hiding” your shoes isn’t always possible. I get that. That’s where this next system comes in handy.
We have a rule of no more than two pairs of shoes per person in the front closet (of wherever shoes are stored in the common area).
Shoes that are not worn frequently are stored in each individual’s closet. Think church shoes, seasonal shoes, etc.
You know those back of the door storage systems? They work great if you have a tiny space and other options, but they can also look like a cluttered, organized mess.
These systems completely take up the entire space behind your door, creating a banging sound every time you shut it, and never really hold that many shoes.
If you can, use your own closets for the best shoe storage and to keep your entry-way and common areas clutter-free.
3 – DVD / CD Storage
First, declutter as many DVDs and CDs as you possibly can.
I know CDs are a little outdated, but you wouldn’t believe how many people still own them. (Fun fact: most new cars aren’t even made with CD players in them anymore!)
Generally, if you have not watched a DVD or listened to a CD in the past year, you can give it to a friend, sell it, or donate it.
After a declutter session, find a storage solution that possibly gets the DVDs and CDs out of sight.
Rather than displaying these items on a bookshelf or a storage unit, try putting them in a closing cabinet or drawer. This can help hide any visual clutter.
We store all of my kids’ DVDs in the bottom drawer of a chest of drawers. Odd, I know, but it works.
After decluttering the kids’ rooms, there was a lot of empty dresser drawer space!
By storing the DVDs on their sides, we can read all the spines easily and pick out our Friday night movies with ease, without adding to any living room clutter.
For more quick wins and items you can get rid of now, check out 100 Items You Can Get Rid of Today.
4 – The front of your fridge
The front of the fridge is a super useful space to hang school papers, artwork, and other useful information. However, it can make a kitchen look super cluttered when all the paper quickly takes over the fridge surface space.
For displaying kids’ artwork, try hanging it in their rooms, curated with all their favorite pieces.
We hang these metal boards on their walls and use fun magnets to display our kids’ artwork.
For important events, go ahead and add the event to your family calendar, and then recycle or store away the reminder until event time.
If you want to store items on the fridge surface, try doing it on the side of the fridge if at all possible. This will keep any visual clutter out of sight most of the time.
Related Post: 6 Simple Steps to Start Decluttering Your Kitchen
5 – Floor storage baskets
I love storing items in baskets!
Baskets serve as one of my favorite methods for storing kids’ toys, as clean-up is super easy for little ones.
Yet, when you have a ton of baskets all over your floor space, it can quickly add to your visual clutter, even though you were trying to be organized!
If you love how easy baskets make organizing things, try out a cube shelf with fabric baskets. It’s a good way to get baskets off the floor but still keep their functionality.
You can also store baskets on the floors of closets. This gets the floor clutter out of sight, but the baskets can still do their job of organizing your belongings.
To keep the visual clutter down, try to have no more than one or two baskets in the usable floor space of a room, if baskets are your thing.
6 – Book storage
First, declutter any books you never plan to read again or books that you have owned for years and are still unread.
It is ok to give yourself permission to not read a book you thought you would love and bought years ago.
Crammed up bookshelves, even if alphabetized, sorted by subject, or even sorted by rainbow colors (I’m looking at you Home Edit fans), can make any room look cluttered.
Unclutter your books, and then only leave a couple of books on each shelf. The secret is to create space.
You can still have a lot of books, but stacking them on top of each other and cramming them all into a single space, even in an organized fashion, can make for visual clutter.
Note: I’m not saying to not have books. Our family LOVES books, and we probably have way more than we need. My point is to create order on your shelves.
I’m addicted to cookbooks. Every so often, I’ll collect a few too many, and my shelf designated for them will become overrun.
I’ll have cookbooks placed on the shelf like they should, and then, in my attempt to keep them ALL, extras will be placed sideways on top of the neatly stored ones.
Before I know it, my space looks cluttered and messy, and that’s my signal to let some go (or create a new space).
Related Post: Ideas for Where to Donate Your Books
7 – Hanging pots and pans storage
I don’t know why this one bothers me so much. If you can store your pots and pans under a cabinet, do so.
Hanging pots and pans create a cluttered look in your kitchen.
I’m sure hanging pots and pans were all the rage at one point, and it can even be necessary for small kitchens. If you have the choice and space, store them out of sight.
Need help decluttering your kitchen? Check out how to declutter your kitchen with simple, actionable steps.
8 – Bathroom counter organizers
Bathroom counter organizers are another common organizing mistake that makes for an organized mess.
While bathroom organizers are handy, the best organization hack I ever used in my bathroom was to get rid of stuff I never used!
When I got the excess out of my bathroom, it opened up a ton of space under my bathroom cabinets.
You can then store your fun bathroom organizers under the sink, rather than adding to bathroom counter clutter.
Related Post: Simple Steps to Declutter Your Bathroom
Declutter and then organize
Don’t let organized clutter make your home look like nothing more than an organized mess.
The best rule of thumb, keep as much necessary clutter out of sight! When you do this, you can use cute little organization bins and hacks and still have a happy, clutter-free home.
If you still need to declutter, check out the get started page. It will give you the best places to start in order to tackle clutter!
You gave me a solution to something that just drives me nuts!
We do not wear shoes in the house. We have a shoe tray.
We enter the house from the garage that brings us right into the
Kitchen. There is my pretty kitchen but if you come clear in,
There is a black shoe tray on the floor, that should be wiped up
Under and on top where the shoes are – why is this here?
We don’t have an entry way closet or a closet in this open
Concept kitchen/dining/living space. There is a big hall closet.
With just my husband & myself, I think we can keep that shoe tray
There, select shoes & we have a small, pretty little stool next to
The shoe tray in the kitchen. We can get used to carrying to the
Garage door area the shoes we are going to leave the house in.
We can. And will! Starting today! I measured & that will free up
4 ft of floor space by the back door. It will take less than a minute
To walk them to the hall closet and that is going to happen today!
Oh yay! I’m so glad this helped. When we went to organize our shoes, it was the same, we gained several feet of floor space. It makes such a difference!