Less isn’t always best: How to organize when you have a lot of stuff

Minimalism has taken off in the past few years. People obsessed with this “less is more” lifestyle have gone by names like “aesthetic minimalist,” “eco minimalist,” or “essential minimalist.” The idea of less stuff to manage, less clutter to contend with, and fewer belongings to take care of is certainly appealing. However, it’s definitely not for everyone.

Some households simply can’t share only one pair of scissors or afford multiple streaming subscriptions to cut back on physical DVDs. Furthermore, the idea of consistent decluttering and going through your closet every season to maintain your capsule wardrobe can be a daunting and tedious task. If you want a clean, organized home that appears minimal without sacrificing the items you already own, know that it’s possible. The secret lies in how you manage the clutter.

distressed girl sitting on couch surrounded by clutterTake advantage of maximalist organizing

You’ve likely heard people identifying themselves as “minimalists,” but have you ever considered the opposite title of maximalist? Chances are you probably haven’t because we made up the term. Although, don’t let that deter you from considering yourself as one!

A maximalist isn’t the perfect opposite of a minimalist. Rather, a maximalist is simply a person who chooses to maximize the space they have so that they can take care of the clutter and keep their home organized.

The best method of keeping your home appearing clutter-free is to familiarize yourself with unique storage techniques that don’t look like you just piled all of your mail on the entry table. Below are some of our tips on how you can organize your home when you have a lot of stuff. There’s no need to declutter or throw out your items. Instead, we encourage you to focus your efforts on the organization and unique storage solutions that allow you to become a maximalist.

Hide the mess

The first solution people come to when eliminating visual clutter from their homes is to hide the mess. Visual clutter like cords, remotes, old paperwork, and knick-knacks can make a space look messier than it is. To reduce visual clutter, you can hide these objects much as you would a kitchen trash can. Have you noticed that kitchens look nicer when the trash is hidden in a pull-out drawer?

When you hide the things that appear as eye-sores in your home, you allow more attention to become drawn to your decor or overall cleanliness.

Cords can be wound up or neatly folded in small containers when not in use. Ones in use can be strategically hidden by large furniture, like a tv console. Remote controls can be placed in a small basket on the coffee table. They’re easy to reach, but the basket provides a cleaner look to the space.

Keep the mess in plain sight

One of the best ways to take care of visual clutter is hiding the mess in plain sight. Do you have several pots and pans that don’t fit in the drawer? Hang them up in your kitchen! Do you have limited space for your mail? Get a small organizer to hang on the wall and place your mail in there.

To make this concept work, you can attempt to turn your clutter into decor. If you have piles of books sitting on the floor taking up space, get a bookshelf and arrange them neatly on top. If you have several phone chargers and tech gadgets lying around, place them on a shelf or in a sophisticated organizer where they’re easy to reach.

If you have shoes lying around on the floor, get a shoe organizer and arrange them in a way that is appealing to view. You don’t have to hide all of your stuff from view to keep your home looking organized and clean.

Invest in various sizes of storage containers

When you move towards a more organized home, chances are you’ll purchase organizers and storage containers to help condense the clutter. To make the outcome more appealing, it’s best to invest in various sizes of storage containers.

You can use larger and smaller baskets to add a bit of diversity to the storage space in your pantry. Use different sizes of shelves and bookcases to prevent your home from looking too cookie-cutter. When using storage containers to hide the mess, look to purchase containers of different materials, colors, shapes, or sizes to add some variation to your space.

This is an essential tip if you plan to keep all of your containers in one space together. While you may be able to get away with three similar-looking baskets on a shelf, resting next to one another, an entire shelf of baskets can appear dull and boring to look at.

open shelving in kitchen for organization
metamorworks/Shutterstock

Store vertically to maximize space

If you live in a smaller home such as an apartment, you can benefit from storing vertically rather than horizontally. Interestingly enough, rooms appear larger when you see more of the floor. Our brains are easily tricked by seeing ample room for foot traffic and thinking the room is bigger than it is. This has the same effect as adding mirrors to smaller spaces to make them appear larger.

Try to use shelves or other vertical storage solutions in smaller places. It will eliminate floor clutter and will trick the mind into thinking there is more available space.

The idea of all of these changes is to help maximize your space without being forced to declutter or throw out the items you have for the sake of home appearance. You don’t need bare white walls and only one sofa to obtain that clean and organized minimalist look. Use what you have and get creative with how you manage your clutter. Try to hide things that look disruptive and use your clutter as decor. Use vertical shelving to store items off the ground, and be sure to add some variety to your storage solutions to make your home look more attractive.

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