As a compulsive collector I use these 6 techniques to conceal clutter in plain sight

Getting your home in order needn't be complicated with these 6 clever techniques for corraling clutter

A bright living room with a cream sofa, huge arched windows and a large footstool
(Image credit: OKA)

As a self-professed collector of 'nice things,' I often find myself fighting a constant battle with clutter in my home. But while my obsession with collecting has led me to amass a few too many decorative items, I feel like I've mastered the art of 'balance' in my home.

With a few clever tricks, your cherished possessions don't have to be an eyesore. I've managed to disguise unsightly messes and conceal clutter in plain sight, I'm confident these stylish solutions can help you organize your home, too.

The following 6 ideas are not only practical, but they also add a touch of elegance to your home. So, if you're ready to tackle the clutter and create a more streamlined space, read on.

How to conceal clutter in plain sight

Whether you're living in small apartment or a spacious family home, these 6 tried-and-test methods of concealing 'clutter' will help you reclaim your space:

1. Ottomans

A sage green fringed ottoman in a traditional living room with a dresser and marble surround fireplace

(Image credit: Anbôise)

Ottomans are undoubtedly among the most multifunctional pieces of furniture you can have in your home. They not only help you conceal ugly household items, but they also provide a place to rest your feet or extra seating in a pinch.

I look for ottomans with plenty of hidden storage inside. These are perfect for storing away items like remote controls, books, or even extra pillows and blankets. When not in use, they can easily blend into your room's design, keeping your space tidy and organized.

2. Fabric Cord Covers

Electrical cords are one of the most frustrating sources of clutter in my house. Luckily, they don't have to ruin an otherwise beautifully organized home office or movie room.

I started doing this next clever trick after watching a tour of Emma Roberts's gorgeous mid-century home. She utilizes stylish fabric cord covers to blend unsightly wires into their surroundings. The best part of these covers is that you can match them to your room's color scheme for a cohesive look or opt for contrasting and patterned prints for a playful touch.

I also use cord organizers to bundle and hide multiple cables together, keeping them neat and out of sight. These are also available in a variety of styles, such as this Wooden Kirigen Cord Management Box from Amazon, which proves that cable organizers don't have to look plastic and cumbersome.

3. Anchoring items

A living room with a black dog seated on a gray sofa and a footstool with neatly arranged objects on top

(Image credit: OKA)

This technique has been a game changer when it comes to containing clutter in my living room. Rather than hiding away all my coffee table books and candles inside cupboards, I've started to use decorative trays and chargers to 'anchor' and curate objects together. Though these items remain in plain sight, this process makes them look intentional rather than cluttered.

Try placing a decorative tray on a coffee table, dresser, or kitchen counter to gather items like candles, books, and small decor pieces. This method reduces visual clutter on surfaces and makes it easier to move items when you need to clean or rearrange your space.

4. Curtains

cottagecore kitchen with matching wallpaper and fabric

(Image credit: Colefax & Fowler)

This next tip is particularly useful if you live in a rented apartment or you're currently in mid-renovation mode. Installing cafe curtains allows you to cover up under-sink clutter, busy open shelves, and untidy bookcases without needing to carve out new storage spaces or alcoves.

These half-length curtains can be hung from tension rods and easily drawn to conceal items behind them. Choose a fabric that complements your decor, and you'll find that a once cluttered space takes on an 'intentionally curated' appearance.

To create a DIY cafe curtain, I bought a brass tension rod from Amazon and purchased these affordable cafe curtains from Wayfair.

5. Storage boxes

A mudroom with storage baskets and a bench

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

This next tip is a tried-and-tested method of concealing clutter that I've been doing for years. Decorative storage baskets are one of the most versatile and attractive ways to corral and hide the mess.

I use storage baskets everywhere in my home, and I even have a couple of empty baskets that I use for my 15-minute decluttering routine each day. You can place baskets in living rooms, bedrooms, or entryways to store items like blankets, magazines, toys, and more.

Personally, I like to opt for baskets made from natural materials like wicker or seagrass because they add a touch of warmth and texture to my home.

6. Clear Jars & Containers

Glass containers and wooden cutting boards leaning in the corner of a kitchen

(Image credit: Ivymore Living)

Sometimes, simply removing busy or unattractive labels from packaging can significantly reduce visual clutter in a kitchen. This method works well for organizing pantry items and it makes cleaning supplies look more attractive and less 'cluttered'. It can also elevate your bathroom vanity by giving your bottles and containers a more cohesive feel.

I also opt to decant food items into plain storage containers for a more streamlined look. Just make sure you keep a record of what’s inside labelless containers, especially for items with expiry dates or potentially harmful ingredients.

If you're still concerned that you have too many 'things' taking up valuable space in your home, try adopting some decluttering tips for collectors and hoarders. The act of letting go of household items can be the first step toward a tidier and more relaxing space.

Gabriella Dyson
Head of Solved

Gabriella is Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design, often found antiquing or browsing the aisles of her local hardware store. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and is in the process of renovating a Victorian coachhouse in the British countryside. 

For much of the past decade, Gabriella has worked as a freelance writer, crafting copy for national publications and renowned homeware brands. Most recently, she worked on Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, focusing on case studies for the magazine and website, as well as writing features about issues surrounding historic and listed building projects.