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How do you know if you have too much clutter? While there’s never a wrong time to declutter, and it’s something you may want to do each year consistently, here are 18 critical signs it’s time to declutter your home.

We also offer more information and a few tips along the way, which you can access by using the drop-down feature.


You can expand and contract each task to see more or less information. You may also spot a few helpful habits and some tips to consider along the way.

Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships, and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” — Eleanor Brown

1. You find it hard to relax at home.


If you find that it’s often hard to relax when you’re at home and it’s not due to others or any known factors, then it may be due to your home environment having too much clutter.

At the same time, it can also make it hard to concentrate when you need to too.

Even when a room could be considered tidied, having too much clutter in a space can affect individuals on a conscious and subconscious level, resulting in visual over-stimulation and increased stress.

What to Do

Cutting back on the amount of furniture, decorations, or general stuff sitting out may potentially improve the look of the space and your mood. It may also help boost your level of concentration when you need to focus on things the most.

Work to declutter your home can be an ongoing project since we typically accumulate more stuff each year or because our needs change. You can always work at it over time and as you discover things you no longer need or even bother to use.

If you lack space for storing items that might otherwise be sitting out, such as in the kitchen, do the best you can do.

The Potential Benefits

By reducing the visual stimulation, you can quickly reduce anxiety or stress naturally. At the same time, having less clutter may even potentially boosting happy hormones and chemical reactions within the brain while improving sleep quality and focus.


You can test this concept by starting in the place where you’re supposed to relax the most: the bedroom. Try removing or putting away items you need and ensuring everything has a home.

Another good area to test out as you declutter your home would be the kitchen, where you can reduce the amount of stuff sitting out on the counters down to the barest minimum and see how much faster it is to clean and maintain, not to mention how nice it feels to be in when things naturally appear neater.

In rooms like the kitchen, try only to keep out items that absolutely need to be out and that you often use along with your most favorite decoration items. Things like a slotted toaster, cooking utensils, spices, or a blender can quickly be taken in and out of a cabinet, should there be room for it, but coffeemakers or a toaster oven would likely be left out.

4. One of your favorite things about vacationing is staying in a nice, clean environment, and you often feel depressed when you go back home.

Ever stay at a nice hotel, timeshare, Air BnB, vacation home, or relative’s or friend’s for a while and instantly feel at ease, more relaxed, and even dread going back home? Or, once you return home, do you instantly get feelings of anxiety, depression, like you want to redo the place, or get the sudden urge to move when you first arrive?

It may be a sign you need to declutter your home.


I often used to go through this, and it was a major sign that I need to overhaul our home. The part I hated the most was returning home and, while the home wasn’t filthy or overly thrashed, it just never felt as relaxing, tidy, or put together.

The Trade Secret

But the real trick to a lot of those places, or even places like model homes and homes in magazines, is that they don’t have a lot of clutter. You often feel less stress at a hotel or vacation home because it’s usually not cluttered and kept tidy. However, in many cases, places like model homes, hotels, and vacation homes aren’t nearly as clean as you might think…or even hope, for that matter.

Model homes or perhaps that “neat freak” friend or relative of yours may not clean as much as you think, or the house may not be as immaculate as you think. They just have less clutter out and/or an efficient weekly or monthly cleaning chores.

10. You notice clutter is starting to pile up outside the home, such as in the backyard or garage.

One clear sign that you may need to declutter your home is when things begin to leak outside—especially if it’s making that space unusable or creating problems with family, neighbors, property managers, city authorities, or HOA.

Common exterior hotspots:

  • Garage
  • Patio, deck, or balcony
  • Storage shed or other exterior building (aside from yard tools and other outdoor gear)
  • Front, side, or backyard
  • Vehicles
  • Underneath the house or in a cellar

Assess the Situation

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen any belongings that you might be keeping in these areas, it may be good to see what’s out there, the kind of shape it’s in, if it’s worth keeping, and how you can better organize what you do want to hold onto

It might also be a good time to consider if some types of clutter are more of a hazard rather than something of value.

This is more so the case because areas such as these also tend to be exposed more to the elements, rodents, insects, and other critters, all of which can quickly destroy your items or make homes out of your belongings if things aren’t properly stored.

This is also an excellent time to see what items matter and figure out if there’s a better place to store them. That way, you can get rid of what might not be a priority and take care of what is.

You can then work on finding ways to use up those items, particularly if you’re afraid to waste anything. And you might be able to find a means to get better use out of the more valuable things you want to keep.

13. You and/or other household members have a lot of clothes, toys, or other like-items that you never use (or even like much).

As with the previous clues as to when it might be time to declutter your home to some degree, another may be when you or another household member possess a lot of toys, clothes, or like-items that aren’t being used.

Such items might be things you’re saving for the future, such as clothes that don’t fit, toys that you may be saving for a possible future child, or that breadmaker you’re really one day going to use (promise).

Unused or unnecessary clutter could also be something like dinner or serving ware that you might one day need even though you’re a total introvert and hate having people over.

It might also include your dog’s first dog toy that you can’t seem to get rid of but that he likely doesn’t even remember because he’s too busy off frolicking with his newer dog toys. Pfft

A few common items that add up and might go unused:

  • Unused appliances you procrastinate using
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Pet items
  • Collectibles
  • DVDs
  • Cooking utensils
  • Holiday items
  • Mugs
  • Batteries
  • Reusable grocery or shopping bags, because you always forget to bring yours and end up having to buy them at the store.
  • Previous Holiday or sentimental family items you neither have the heart to ditch or allow to see the light of day, much less be displayed.
  • Once-spiffy items or gadgets that kind of fizzled out early in their novelty lifespan or became redundant (i.e., fidget spinner, Beanie Babies, MP3 players, the treadmill you don’t use, etc.).
  • Cleaning or maintenance items that once sounded great at the time but turned out not to be, yet you decided to keep them anyway to save financial face with yourself or maybe from your disapproving partner/parent/housemate.


In this post, we covered 18 different signs that it’s time to declutter your home. And while each household may vary, the more obvious clues that you need to work on decluttering often involve times when if you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed in your home, avoid certain areas, or feel uncomfortable when trying to relax, then you may need to work on decluttering.

The same goes for those who might procrastinate to clean and feel that it takes too much time, or struggle to find a home for the items you have.

Fortunately, it’s more than possible to take your time and ease into the process if you need to, particularly if you struggle to get rid of things on average or have a lot to contend with. However, some people may prefer more rigid or strict systems in order to help them get through the clutter.

In the end, decluttering isn’t a one-time fix but something to try to stick to regularly to keep the momentum going or keep things in check. However, many people find that they get better at it and can even let go of items they struggled with previously the next time they declutter, often finding it easier each time.

Above all, many find that it becomes something they look forward to due to how freeing and uplifting it can feel to eliminate items you don’t really need.

Stay tuned…

In the next few weeks, we’ll be covering steps on how to declutter your home and ways to help reduce what you have on a more consistent basis, and preferably without trigging Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) reactions.

Meanwhile, feel free to check out some of our spring cleaning posts, which touch on the decluttering process as well, or you can check out some of our related topics down below.

You can also read some of our affordable top-pick decluttering books for further insight or more in-depth processes.

Struggle to make your bed each morning?
Check out our post on 18 Ways to Reduce the Amount of Time and Effort It Takes to Make Your Bed next!

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