In Defense of Clutter

Your stuff is not the enemy. This year, keep the tchotchkes and lose the guilt, instead. 

Cluttered, Full Closet With Hanging Clothes and Shoe Shelves

Cluttered, Full Closet With Hanging Clothes and Shoe Shelves

A great way to declutter your home is to get rid of clothing you're not wearing. Donate or sell any items of clothing you've had for more than a year without wearing. You'll clear out much needed space in your closet allowing you to be better organized and have easier access to the items you do use.

By: Liz Gray
Related To:

Since I starting working here at HGTV, I've interviewed at least 20 professional organizers, who, collectively, could whip the worst Hoarders nightmare imaginable into tidy shape overnight.

But here's the thing: I like having a cluttered home. Collections. A refrigerator full of photos. Colorful cookbooks. Yes, yes and yes. For me, more is more. Do I use some of the amazing techniques I learned from chatting with organizing pros? You bet I do! But that doesn't mean I want to get rid of every item that doesn't fill me to the brim with joy. (Sorry, Marie Kondo.) It's your home, not your uber-organized friend's home. Here are 5 things to remember before you toss Grandma's antique vase into the charity pile.

Eclectic Multicolored Living Room With White Sofa

Eclectic Multicolored Living Room With White Sofa

A cheery collection of mismatched frames and artwork bring plenty of personality to this eclectic living room. The white sofa serves as a blank canvas for all the colors and patterns around it.

Clutter and organization aren't necessarily enemies. Everyone has a system. For the super-organized, that system involves color-coding, label-makers and lots of bins. For you, it might involve piles of books sorted according to your personal author ranking system and a catch-all junk drawer. If you can find what you're looking for, where you were looking for it, that's a working system. Why change a good thing?

Home Library Hits the Right Note

Home Library Hits the Right Note

In need of a home for their beautiful bass and extensive collection of books and records, the homeowners turned to designer Harmony Weihs to transform an unused corner into functional storage space.

Photo by: Cory Holland

Cory Holland

Your stuff shows your personality. You are not your stuff, but your stuff does help tell friends and family what you're about. You'll find coffee table books about Salvador Dali and a shell and rock collection gathered from travels in my living room. An empty surface is just clean...there's no backstory.

DIY Pegboard Rock Collection Display

DIY Pegboard Rock Collection Display

You know all those rocks and shells from your travels that you stuff in bags or drawers? Give them prize of place in this do-it-yourself pegboard project from blogger Joni Lay of Lay Baby Lay.

Photo by: Joni Lay

Messiness (might) promote creativity. You've likely seen the study, shared by every messy person you know on Facebook: A messy desk encourages creative thought. Hey, it worked for Albert Einstein, right? Some people thrive in a messy environment. If that's you, own it.

Small Drawers Repurposed as Desk Organizers

Small Drawers Repurposed as Desk Organizers

Not convinced your dresser is worth salvaging? Give the drawers a chance, at least. Use them to house craft supplies, your rubber-band collection or other free-floating desk clutter.

Your things reminds you of people you love. Sure, I could take a photo of Aunt Jean's quirky shot glass collection, then donate it to charity. But I'd probably enjoy it a lot more if I got to share stories about said glassware while I was imbibing with friends and family. Cheers to clutter?

Decorating With Books: Orientation

Decorating With Books: Orientation

When arranging books on built-ins or bookshelves, break up the vertical lines by alternating the orientation of the books from horizontal to vertical. Next, add personality by incorporating objects with graphic shapes onto the horizontal stacks of books. This will help break up the lines and also allow the books to serve double duty as risers.

Photo by: Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

You like this stuff....remember? Tastes do change. But just because you don't love something today doesn't mean you won't long for it 3 months from now when you no longer have that family heirloom. Or a grater. Everyone needs a grater, even if it's sort of ugly.

Contemporary Workspace Tucked Under the Stairs

Contemporary Workspace Tucked Under the Stairs

Sometimes necessity brings about the best and most creative ideas. A shortage of space is an inspiring dilemma with potentially great results. In order to make use of absolutely every available space in her apartment, online lifestyle editor Briana turned the open space under the stairs into a home office. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn.

As British design icon William Morris put it, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." So if you find junk drawers useful, and old Christmas cards beautiful — and yes, I do —  keep them around. After all, it's not a magazine photo — it's your living, breathing home. In the new year, focus on visually-pleasing presentations for your collections and knick-knacks. Clutter doesn't have to be an eyesore. Start with your books:

Still feel the urge to donate half your stuff to charity? You do you. Here's how to get started.

12 Ways to Style a Book Collection

See All Photos

Shop This Look

50 Things to Get Rid of RN

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Keep Reading

Next Up

An Anti-Guru's Easy-Living, #NotSorry Version of the KonMari Method

Turning your home into a Zen retreat is as simple as deciding not to give a you-know-what. Seriously.

21 Ways to Make the Most of Leap Day

Wondering what to do with that extra day? We've come up with 21 ideas that are practical, rewarding and probably overdue.

5 Pantry Basics You Can Actually Clean With

We tested the top ways to clean with food, with surprising results. 

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts