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Are You Blind to Clutter?

Because I’m hosting a clothing swap this weekend, I put a clothing rack in my living room last week. I put it there temporarily in the least obtrusive place. Still, the rack is tall and the hanging items partially obstruct a window. 

Stage 1: Completely Annoyed

Once the rack was in place, the loss of natural light and the blocking of the window itself bothered me. In fact I was amazed at how annoyed I felt about something that was only going to be around for 4-5 days. You may have experienced the same feeling with a stack of boxes in the corner, or a bag of your friend’s stuff which you set by the door until you will see the friend again. You know it looks bad, but it’s only for a brief time. Right?

There are probably spots in your house where you have stashed things in plain view to be handled later. And you may notice these piles because they are silently screaming to (only) you,


On the other hand, you may have become used to the piles.

Stage 2: Blind to Clutter

Take a look around your house in search of piles you’ve stopped noticing. What is blocking your light? What has been blocking a pathway for far, far longer than you intended it to? A suitcase that isn’t unpacked yet? A box from something that came in the mail last month? Something you mean to give to someone but you keep forgetting? 

Regarding my clothing rack, now its 4 days later and I barely notice it.

How did this happen? How did I go from being annoyed by it to not even noticing the clutter?

My house is pretty sparse, as you might imagine. We don’t have many superfluous objects. That I could get used to this big clothing rack so quickly is really surprising. It makes me wonder where else around the house have I become blind to clutter.

I notice my husband’s and our kid’s piles every time I walk by them. Ahem. But my own temporary clutter is much easier to dismiss. I know the back story on my piles and I know that I will eventually take care of them.

But! I’m human, too. And sometimes I don’t take care of my piles in a week or even a month. Shocking! Sometimes I am a clutter culprit myself. (Please don’t tell the Professional Organizer Police) 

You also have things in your space that aren’t even registering with your conscience but would make you feel more calm if they were removed. 

New Eyes

Here’s a trick to give yourself an objective view of each area in your home, to help you find those things you may have gotten so used to being there that you don’t even see them anymore.

Take a wide picture of a wall in your home or office. Go into another room and look at the picture. You’ll be amazed at what objects jump out at you from that photo– even though you walk by those things every day!

An objective eye may also be found in a good friend who has a gift for interior design. Ask them if they would come over to give you some ideas about what you could shift or replace or even get rid of to make a big difference in your room. 
You can always hire an objective eye by bringing in a designer or even an organizer. (hint, hint)


If you love looking at pictures of beautiful interiors, it may help you to look at those for motivation here. See if you can find one element or arrangement in the dreamy picture which you could incorporate into your room. Usually the biggest difference in magazine picture versus a picture of our actual living space is the absence of clutter.

Handle It

Take this opportunity to handle it. Take the stupid item to the car for your friend so you’ll have it when you see them next time. Unpack the suitcase. Change the light bulb.
Do you feel relief at the space you just reclaimed for the health of your home? I know I’m not the only person who loves checking easy tasks off of a To-Do list! 

For some very tangible motivation, watch one of these videos from our Clutter Challenge video series. 

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“My Idea of Housework is to Sweep the Room with a Glance” – Erma Bombeck

Read more about how becoming blind to clutter affects us

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