Yes, You Can Have A Lot of Stuff and Still Be Organized (Here’s How)

published Oct 12, 2015
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

There’s a war on stuff lately. Minimalist manifestos abound, both inspiring decluttering and shame. If you’ve gotten the impression that to be an organized person you can’t own more than one of a particular object, we want to assure you that yes, you can have a healthy love of stuff and collecting and still manage to have an organized home. Here are are best tips to have the best of both worlds.

Know your peak clutter level tolerance

We all have one, and it’s individual to each and every one of us. It’s the moment at which you all of a sudden feel like there’s way too much stuff in your house and you’re suffocating. It can happen from accumulating too much stuff, and it can happen when too much of your stuff isn’t where it’s normally stored. Knowing what your peak level is — the point at which you consider just up and moving from your home rather than trying to get a handle on your stuff — will help you look out for warning signs before you get to that point.

So think back to a time when you briefly pondered setting fire to an out-of-control part or room of your home. Can you think of any warning signs that you could have looked for before it got to that point? If you struggle with your closet exploding from time to time, is there a certain part of your bedroom that gets piled high with clothes right before the real clothes explosion hits? In your home office, is there a desk paper stack height that can usually signal you’re about to tip over into “have I ever filed anything ever!?” self questioning? Is the sign of an errant shoe or two in say, the dining room, evidence that your entryway might be poised to detonate?

Noticing before you get to stuff-level danger can help you stay a more organized person.

Clean often

Notice we’re not saying declutter often. You can declutter often if you’d like, but if you like stuff and don’t want to have to regularly choose between your favorite objects, just stay on top of the dusting and cleaning of your areas, instead. Even when you’ve got a lot of things, your home will feel better —less cluttered even — when you keep your collections and storage areas regularly vacuumed and dusted.

(Image credit: Alysha Findley)

Get really detailed with your storage tools

Want to keep, display and store a lot of stuff? Don’t count on being able to count on the same simple tools that people without a ton of stuff use to store objects and clothes. You’re going to have to dig deep, do your research and invest or make the kinds of tools that will allow you to store more items in less room, but also make getting those objects out again a task that won’t make you want to claw your eyes out.

Get really creative with your displays and collections

Same idea goes with the things you want to display as well as the stuff you want to store: You’re gonna have to get creative with both your display ideas and your display locations. If you want to fit a lot of stuff in your home, look to the ceiling, look to spots you’ve never before considered places to display a collection at. Think outside of the box in terms of shelves, hooks and other ways in which you can display a collection on a wall, on a table or hanging from a ceiling. Focus heavily on tips for making collections work, like grouping by a common design elements and practicing design principles like balance to achieve collection displays that make visual sense, even if they’re packed to the gills.