11 Ways to Display the Clutter You Just Can’t Bear to Purge

published Aug 27, 2018
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(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Moving often means you’re finally ready to purge. From donating clothes you never wore to just throwing out that box you haven’t touched since you moved in, a new address often unleashes a devil-may-care attitude in terms of some things. But you have to admit: There are just some things you can’t get rid of—no matter how unnecessary they are (we all can’t be minimalists, Marie).

In terms of myself: So what if I need every single magazine Backstreet Boys have appeared on or ticket stubs to every movie I’ve ever seen? It’s not a problem, it’s a lifestyle—especially when I find ways to expertly display that clutter. The following are some of my favorite products that allow me to display my treasures in a way that makes me look less like I need an intervention on reality TV, and more like a person who just has a bomb collection of things around their house. Trust me, I’ve done each and every one of these things and it has saved me from my mother’s extremely helpful “comments” when she visits.

  1. Cubby bookcases
(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Cubby bookcases are close enough to the traditional that no one really pays attention to them, but they also allow extra storage for displaying books and knick knacks on a low-key level. If that wasn’t awesome enough, but they also let you hide the randomness you’ve saved for who knows why with slide-in fabric drawers. The put-together look is a win-win for hoarders everywhere.

Our pick: This 6-Cube Organizer, Target ($35).

(Image credit: Target)

2. Pinboards

Greeting cards, postcards, stickers, and buttons—all of the above can pile up over the years. They did for me, and that is why I put up a framed board to display all of those things I had tucked away in drawers and shoe boxes.

Our pick: This framed pinboard, Pottery Barn ($249).

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

3. Magnets

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Almost every home has a fridge. While some see it simply as a place to store food, I see a blank canvas waiting to be adorned. Like a cork board, a fridge allows you to display your odds and ends, from posters to mementos, all with the help of some decorative magnets.

Our pick: This set of 45 magnets, Amazon ($10.99).

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Poster frames

Ever since I got my hands on my first “Titanic” poster back in ’97, I’ve been hooked with filling my wall space. As a youth, I did this with masking tape, but as I got older, I came to appreciate the power of the picture frame. Even the world’s silliest poster you can’t bear to part with looks upgraded with a thick frame.

Our pick: This white wood poster frame, Amazon ($25.99).

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Shadow box frames

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

While picture frames can help display the static memories, a shadow box allows you to add a little extra. Those rocks from your Hawaii vacation your partner said weren’t necessary to bring back home? Put them in the shadow box along with some pics from the trip and your boo will regret they ever scoffed.

Our pick: This 8″ x 10″ shadow box frame, Amazon ($17.99).

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Scrapbooks

When my fiancé was going through chemo, we got enough cards to fill an abandoned Hallmark store. His mother wanted me to display them, but there weren’t enough cork boards in the world (or wall space). Instead, I found a scrapbook and made a coffee table book that I actually look at!

Our pick: This scrapbook, Amazon ($18.99).

Credit: Amazon

7. Hanging baskets

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Two words that will bring a smile to any packrat’s face: vertical space. A hanging basket can be used for just about anything—I use mine for fruits and veggies, but you can use yours for the fabrics you’re going to use some day, your array of winter scarves, the plastic fruit you can’t part with. You know, all that great stuff.

Our pick: This rattan hanging basket, World Market ($49.99).

8. Jewelry displays

Jewelry tossed about in a drawer is a problem. Even I can see that. But your precious jewels on display? Not only does it look cool, but it also keeps your favorites from getting ruined (or lost).

Our pick: This recycled stand, Urban Outfitters ($49).

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

9. Shelves, shelves, and more shelves

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

You can run out of floor space for bookcases, but I believe there’s always more room for additional shelving in your life. We all know they come in a variety of shapes and styles to fit every Myers-Briggs type or horoscope, but lest you forget, they also help you show off your things in a clean-cut manner.

Our pick: This honeycomb shelving system, Crate and Barrel ($69).

(Image credit: Crate and Barrel )

10. Furniture storage

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life: You do have to hide some things. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hide things stylishly. Enter an ottoman or storage bench to stores your old books you can’t seem to part with, next season’s clothes, or really anything you can’t give up.

Our pick: This storage bench, Overstock ($208.99).

Credit: Overstock

11. Curio cabinets

Credit: Amazon

A glass-front cabinet is a big responsibility because you really have to make the inside pop. But thankfully, you have all those old toys, travel souvenirs, concert tickets, and other trinkets to display!

Our pick: This glass-front cabinet, Amazon ($126.99).