5 ways your home attracts clutter – and how to prevent it from building up again

These five common mistakes attract clutter – here is how to clear them up for good

The Margot free standing wardrobe with a partially open door full of lcothes, beside a small white square pouffe stool
(Image credit: Loaf)

If you spend all your time decluttering and tidying up but your home still feels disorderly, then it might be attracting clutter. 

We don't mean your home is a natural magnet for the mess, of course, but that your home organizing ideas may not be up to dealing with the stressors of daily life, meaning clutter is more likely to accumulate – even when you don’t mean for it to. 

These are the five ways your home attracts clutter and what to do about them to have a tidy home once and for all. 

Ways your home attracts clutter

When you notice repetitive clutter, consider asking yourself questions when decluttering your home to help identify why you end up in this cycle. While you are working, look at where the clutter is and what it is made up of. Determining a root cause is the best way to prevent it from happening again. 

With that in mind, these are the five most common reasons for recurring household clutter, according to experts. 

small clothing storage closet with hanging space, shelving, mirror

(Image credit: Sharps)

1. You have decision fatigue

‘One of the many reasons a home accumulates clutter so easily is because there is a lack of fast decision-making,’ begins Stephanie Deininger, home organizer and founder of The Organized Flamingo. 

This can happen for a few reasons. You may have decision fatigue, meaning you feel overwhelmed having to choose where to put things or what to get rid of, or you might find decluttering sentimental items difficult, meaning that you put them off. 

‘When you can't make a quick decision over where something goes or if it should stay or be thrown away, it leads to procrastination which can manifest into clutter very quickly,’ Stephanie continues. It is a good idea to nip this in the bud and ask for help from friends or a professional before the clutter becomes too much. 

Stephanie Deininger
Stephanie Deininger

Stephanie has been helping businesses and people get organized for over 20 years. She is also a member of NAPO National and NAPO Colorado Chapter (National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals).

2. You don’t maintain your organizing system

There are many home organizing secrets out there that help you to perfect the perfect system, however, it isn’t a secret that you have to put effort into maintaining your system to avoid clutter. It is not a once-and-done deal.

Kimberly Corey, professional home organizer and founder of Finely Sorted Organizing says, 'Things must be put back in their homes soon after use so that it can be found again when you need it.'

All-in-One Declutter Planner | $3.92 at Etsy

All-in-One Declutter Planner | $3.92 at Etsy
This printable decluttering planner is all you need to help tackle your home's mess without missing a step. It is perfect for both keeping on top of your belongings and starting off on your first big clearout.

Kimberly Corey
Kimberly Corey

Starting in 2000, Finely Sorted Organizing, LLC has been helping people declutter, downsize, rightsize, rearrange the basement, clean out a family home, with closet makeovers, garage resets, kitchen retooling, office optimizations, mudroom triages, file cabinet overhauls help to ease anxiety and feelings of frozen immobility caused by lack of systemization in a world filled with curve balls.

3. You haven't got a storage system

Of course, you can't maintain an organizing and home storage system if you do not have one – another core reason your home attracts clutter, says Craig Hoareau, APDO Member and Owner of A Tidy Mind London:

‘If things keep coming into the house but nothing leaves, and you have no system to organize these belongings, it can quickly get out of hand,’ he warns.

‘Similarly, when there isn't enough storage space or the storage you have is not organized, items don't have a specific place to go. This makes it difficult to find things and items tend to pile up in various places around the house. This will lead to frustration and buying duplicates of items you already own but can’t find.’

You need to declutter regularly and stick to a system if you want your home to stay neat and tidy.  

The Clutter Fix | View at Amazon

The Clutter Fix | View at Amazon
This practical, step-by-step resource will empower you to tackle the task of getting organized so both your home and your mind can finally become calm and chaos-free.

4. You overshop

Most of us are prone to indulging in some retail therapy every now and again, but if this becomes consistent, and you don't practice decluttering techniques such as the one-in-one-out method, clutter will inevitably build up, explains Jamie Hord, professional organizer and founder of Horderly.

‘Having a sense of awareness of what is coming into your home along with how much is leaving and when is important for maintenance,’ he shares. ‘It's important to stop and think before making a purchase in-store or online and ask yourself if this item is needed or if there's something old you can replace it with.’

Consider trying the scavenger hunt decluttering game to make decluttering fun before your next shopping trip. You might find items you forgot you had that mitigates the need for spending.  

Jamie Hord professional organizer
Jamie Hord

Jamie is the co-founder of Horderly, a professional organizing company that brings order to countless homes and offices, from the most cluttered New York City apartments to some of the largest homes nationwide. The team's goal is to make their clients’ lives clutter-free, streamlined, and more functional.

5. You don’t have house rules

Clutter is usually not just one person's fault. When you share a house with friends or family, everyone needs to pitch in to maintain neatness. As such, not having house rules will often result in a quick accumulation of clutter, says Craig Hoareau, professional organizer. It helps to set expectations to encourage your family to declutter:

‘Without guidelines, everyone might have different ideas of what's acceptable, leading to more clutter,’ Craig explains. ‘Try labeling where things should go and ensure everyone’s on board when it comes to keeping things in place,’ he suggests. 


Which room attracts the most clutter?

Bedrooms are often the most cluttered in our homes as we spend so much time in them. From getting ready to relaxing after a long day, bedrooms need to serve a lot of purposes, meaning clutter and mess accumulates more quickly.

What is the easiest room to declutter?

For many, the bathroom is the easiest room to declutter due to its limited storage and the products you keep in it. More often than not, all you have to tackle are toiletries so you can declutter without making a mess

If your home is prone to clutter, brush up on the signs it's time to declutter your home to help you stay on top of messes before they become overwhelming. It is easier to maintain a space than it is to declutter when you feel overwhelmed and are bogged down in a space you struggle to use without stress.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.