​What Is Making Your House Messier?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Atelier Havanna, rio-regalsystem Study/officeCupboards & shelving
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Let’s be brutally honest: we all have a bit of mess in our homes (and we don’t mean your personal life). A little clutter here, a dirty surface there… there’s no harm as long as nobody sees it, right?

Wrong! Mess causes stress. Even if you close the cupboard door on that chaos, it lingers in your subconscious. That clutter constantly signals to your brain that your work is never done, and it also makes it more difficult for you to relax, both mentally and physically. 

Although there are obvious culprits when it comes to messy and cluttered homes (too lazy to take out the trash being one of them), there are also other areas that you may have not even thought of, or are just so used to ignoring. 

Let’s take a walk-through of the typical house, and see if its usual messy areas are shared by yours.

1. The kitchen fridge

No, we are not talking about those countless empty milk cartons in the fridge, although that does pose a problem, too. We are referring to your fridge/freezer’s surface being chock-a-block full of magnets, expired coupons, take-away menus, and who knows what else.

This adds to your house’s messiness factor. Those receipts, phone numbers and pictures that your kids drew are all taking up valuable visual space, and replacing it with visual clutter.

The solution? Remove it all and give your fridge surface a good scrubbing. Then tackle that pile. Throw out things you know you won’t need (like Mr Delivery’s 2015 menu). Save that fridge surface for relevant things, such as your kids’ chore list or a calendar. A family photo or two couldn’t hurt either, but don’t push it.  

Rather place your child’s drawings in a folder, keeping them all neat and together – and away from your kitchen.

2. The wrong lighting

A clean house is a cosy house – and one thing that can make your home more cosy is good lighting

Dark corners, fluorescent lighting, and insufficient lighting in each room will make a home seem bleak and uninviting. On the other hand, too-bright lights make things harsh, while dark rooms with closed drapes and no lighting make a room depressing.

Let’s make it cosy!  Place a lamp at opposite corners of the room, at least on two sides (table or floor lamps, it doesn’t matter).This balances out the lighting in the room and makes the room seem warmer and larger. 

And lessen those overhead lights if you want to enhance the cosiness factor and reduce the supermarket look.

3. Fake plants

Don’t have a green thumb? That’s why they invented the plastic plant. These lifelike arrangements bring the greenery of nature into your home without the added hassle of watering and regular maintenance. But although they may not need light and water, artificial plants still require regular cleaning. 

To get rid of that dusty, unsightly look, treat your plastic plant to a good wash. Fill a sink or tub with warm water (you may add a small amount of mild detergent if the plant is extremely dirty). As soap can leave a residue, it should be avoided. 

Swish the plants around in the water to remove the dust and dirt. Use a soft cloth to clean any stubborn areas with extra build-up. Rinse under clean water, and then set in the sun to dry.

4. That busy bookcase

To have the perfect (and clutter-free) bookcase, one must resist the urge to cramp in accessories on every shelf. Rather display only the books you love – this leaves breathing room and space for decorative trinkets. 

Keep a clean look by choosing a one-colour or tone-on-tone scheme for vases and figurines, and make sure to mix up shapes. Every so often, step back to assess the overall balance of your arrangement. Place items off-centre or try larger or smaller ones until you like what you see.

To add interest to your book collection, alternate between stacking books horizontally and vertically. Bold-colour picture frames make great bookends and help photographs stand out on shelves.

We have some: Novel bookshelf ideas you’ll love.

5. Your bathroom cabinet

Even though your guest(s) probably won’t see this, you will notice that messy cabinet every single day. And all those shampoo bottles and toothpaste tubes have no business lying on the bathtub edge, so take action. 

Throw away outdated bath and beauty products, and store new products in a plastic tub under the sink. Give each family member his own drawer for storing personal items, such as cosmetics, toothbrushes, and razors. Set shared items, such as lotions, tissues and toothpaste, in one corner of the countertop near the sink.

homify hint: Toilet paper itself is not ugly or messy looking, so don’t let it take up valuable space under the sink or in bathroom cabinets. Plus we want it within easy reach. Place rolls in a nice basket atop the toilet bowl or stack them on a toilet roll holder

6. Your messy wires

Your high-definition TV, game consoles, computer and sound system ensure fantastic entertainment for the whole family. They also bring forth a very ugly sight of messy wires tangled all over. And as difficult as they are to hide, they are also equally inevitable to do without. 

First of all, see if there’s anything you can eliminate (do you really need your PS3?) to lessen those unsightly wires. 

Then try to hide the remaining ones behind furniture (your TV set, a bookcase). And tying them together with some zip ties can also make a big difference.

homify hint: Don't forget about lamp cords or areas like your kitchen. Also think about the wires in your house that are used for charging, like your laptop or cell phone.

7. The entrance hall

Where your house’s facade and front garden is your guests’ judging factor for your exteriors, your interiors are valued by the state of your entrance hall. So, to enhance that first impression, you really don’t want your friends to be greeted by a litter of coats, backpacks, shoes and other elements that are strewed all around. 

Rearrange the coat closet in the entryway where the kids can hang things like jackets, scarves and hats. Or put a basket by the door that can be used for dirty shoes. This will also lessen grubby footmarks on your wooden floor or plush carpets.

8. Stop the paper inflow

Mail, magazines, bills, doctor’s prescriptions… these always have a way of assembling somewhere in the home, causing an unpleasant sight.

To stop (or even just lessen) that paper from coming in, keep a small recycling bin just outside (or inside) your front door for immediate elimination of junk mail. Invest in the few minutes it will take you to file the important mail in your filing system, whether that be in a cupboard in your study, or a neatly packed box in your buffet table. 

Cancel any magazine subscriptions for titles that you haven’t read in the past few months, or switch to digital. And consider doing a clean-out of shelves to clear out and donate old books to make room for any new ones that might be coming in.

Hopefully our hints will make a difference to your home clutter. Now tell us, what other tips do you have to lessen the mess?

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