7 Reasons Your House Always Looks Messy

And how to keep it neat for good.

<p>Fresh Splash/Getty Images</p>

Fresh Splash/Getty Images

Do you ever feel like no matter how much effort you put into decluttering and organizing, your home never looks neat? Or perhaps you spend a lot of time on a cleaning project, and a few days later, you get busy, and the whole house feels like a disaster again? There could be a few things going on that explain the chaos—here’s why your home always looks messy, along with some helpful tips from professional organizers on what to do about it.

Related: I’m a Cleaning Editor—Here’s How I Fake a Spotless House

Meet Our Expert

  • Lindsey Mahanna, professional organizer and founder of Clutter to Clarity

  • Ashley Stewart, professional organizer and founder of organizing service O.C.D

  • Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space

There are Dishes Left in the Sink

Open floor plans are more popular than ever these days. But unfortunately, that means everyone is subjected to seeing your messy kitchen. Not only does a sink full of dishes look unsightly, it can also smell. So prioritize getting this done ASAP. “If you do your dishes as soon as you use them, you will never have a mess,” says professional organizer and founder of organizing service O.C.D, Ashley Stewart. “If it is too hard to clean dishes throughout the day, make it a point to make sure you go to bed with no dishes left in the sink.”

Toys are Everywhere

Children make it challenging to keep a home tidy, but it’s not impossible to get things under control. “The best solution for toys is to have baskets and bins where you can put the toys in,” says Stewart. “Not everyone has time to organize every day, but everyone does have time to pick up toys and put them in bins—kids included. When you teach your kids from an early age they clean up at the end of play, they will learn to put things away after they use them.”

Related: 10 Genius Organizing Tips That Changed the Way We Tidy Up

The Bed Isn’t Made

Your bedroom will always look clean and tidy if your bed is made. It only takes a minute and makes a big impact. “I can’t stress this one enough. There is something about a made bed that sets the mood for the rest of your house. If your bed is made, not only will your bedroom look cleaner, it will feel better getting into at night,” explains Stewart.

You’re Not Using the Laundry Hamper

We’re all guilty of wearing a sweatshirt for a few hours, failing to put it away, and leaving it on a chair or worse—the floor. This often results in messy piles. “If you don’t hang up your clothes after you wear them or put them in the laundry, you are most likely going to have that one chair in your room that becomes an abyss for your clothes,” says Stewart.

To avoid a cluttered space, the organizer advises making it a habit to put your clothes away or in the hamper after you wear them. It only takes a few seconds and makes a major difference.

Related: 4 Things to Do with Worn-But-Not-Dirty Clothes to Avoid a Messy Room

Things Don’t Have a Home

Lindsey Mahanna, professional organizer and founder of Clutter to Clarity, says when things don’t have homes, they often end up in random spots, creating messes throughout a space. “If you make the time to tidy, you need to know where to put away those items that have accumulated on the counter. If you haven't already figured out a home for each of these items, how can you know where to put them away?”

You Have Too Much Stuff

Whether you live in a studio apartment or a palatial estate, we all have a finite amount of room to store our things. So, if you have too much of anything, it’s crucial to declutter regularly. “It's hard to tidy when there are too many items that will fit in a space,” says Mahanna. “Now, if you are more than reasons in play, they just compound and make it even harder to tidy up.”

Make a decluttering schedule and stick to it. It also helps if you think about whether you truly need something before making a purchase. Do you really need another white T-shirt if you already have five?

There Isn’t a System in Place

Shantae Duckworth, professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space shares that one of the major problems messy homes have is a lack of effective systems “By implementing practical organizing strategies, establishing daily routines, and decluttering regularly, you can transform your space into a more organized space that will not get messy as quickly.”

So, don’t be afraid to figure out how to tackle this problem. Put the kids in charge of decluttering their rooms. Make a plan to sort through your pantry every third Wednesday. Evaluate your bathroom monthly. You can also hire a professional organizer to figure out systems that will be easiest for you and your family to maintain. 

Related: Should You Hire a Home Organizer?

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