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Growing up, my mom would frequently tell me “you have to make a mess to clean a mess”.

In hindsight she was probably just telling me that to make me feel better about the fact that, while cleaning my room, it would frequently look worse than it did when I started until the whole thing was done.

But maybe she was onto something. There’s a lot of ways to clean and organize a house that may involve worsening the clutter during the process—the trick is to make sure it’s all nice and tidied up when it’s actually finished.

Therein lies the problem. There’s a lot of common organization methods that people use to get their house clean and reduce clutter that can actually make the house look messier than it was when you started, and that all adds up to a lot of wasted effort and frustration.

To help better prevent this in your home, take a look at these five common organization mistakes and how they can make your house messier than it needs to be:

 

Confusing “Clean” with “Organized”

We all do this sometimes, but it’s good to be mindful of the differences between “cleaning” something and “organizing” something. Let’s say your coffee table is covered in books and magazines. ‘Cleaning’ the coffee table involves simply stacking those books up on one side of the coffee table to give it the image of being less cluttered, but in reality you’re just moving stuff around without actually decluttering any of it. Try to keep this idea in mind when you approach messes in your home, and don’t be afraid to throw anything out.

 

Over-reliance on Storage Bins

Plastic storage bins can be handy for cleaning up around the house, but in a lot of cases people can become too reliant on them for storing things that may be better kept elsewhere. This can lead to a vicious cycle of storage bins taking up too much room storing everything, leading to you needing to buy more storage bins to make sure you know where everything is. Use these sparingly and focus on what you can store elsewhere.

 

Chaotic Entryways

It’s a hard truth to face, but it doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put into the rest of your house if your entryway is a pile of boots and jackets. Get some entryway storage like coat hooks and mail organizers to keep your entryway from falling victim to the same entropy, and create a better first impression for the rest of your newly-cleaned house.

 

Overstuffed Kitchen Cabinets

Nothing makes your kitchen look messy faster than a cabinet door you can’t close. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to take a look at the root cause of the problem. Are you hoarding canned goods and pastas? Are there too many dishes in there? Try to move some things around (and use pantry organizers as needed) to help your doors stay closed and get your cabinets looking like they ought to.

 

Too Many Decorations

Finally, this might be hard for some of you with a love of knick-knacks to hear, but in a lot of cases too many souvenirs and photos can add to a chaotic, cluttered feeling throughout the entire house even if everything has been neatly arranged and set up like you like it. Try to cut back on the trinkets on your shelves, and instead of having a ton of smaller family pictures take a few you really like, blow them up, and arrange them more artfully to create a better, more organized look.

 

Did you find any tips the last time you cleaned to make your house look even neater? Leave a comment below!

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