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I asked the members of my decluttering facebook group a while back if clutter ever stopped them from enjoying their home as much as they could and many answered yes.
Several went as far to say that clutter stops them from inviting people into their home. I can only imagine that the core reason for this is that they are embarrassed by household clutter.
Dear cluttered friend, I have been there too. In the past I have looked around my home and thought, “No way am I inviting so-and-so over! This place is too much of a mess and I can’t possibly get it looking good enough for visitors by….”
But I am happy to say that those words hardly ever come out of my mouth now. Please don’t get me wrong, I am still dealing with clutter, but it no longer stops me from inviting people over.
How To Stop Being Embarrassed By Clutter
1. Come up with a doable plan to attack your clutter
I am not suggesting in this post that you decide to just feel good about your clutter and invite people over to eat dinner between the piles on your dining room table–nope! Clutter does need to be dealt with.
Clutter is not only embarrassing, it is a health hazard. Trust me, clutter is weighing you down both mentally and physically.
However, I want you to be realistic with how long it will take you to attack your clutter. In order to do that you must also be truthful about your decluttering personality.
Are you a weekend purger or a little at a time type of person? Whatever your decluttering personality type you need to write a plan that suits and stick to it.
If you prefer to follow a pre-written plan here are a few books that can help:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
- 31 Days To A Clutter Free Life: One Month to Clear Your Home, Mind & Schedule
- Lose 200 Lbs This Weekend: It’s Time to Declutter Your Life
You can also try my 52 weeks to a simplified home.
You can always change your plan if it isn’t working for you, but you cannot stop attacking your clutter. Keep at it!
2. Declutter the most public areas of your home first
Guests generally don’t enter all areas of your home, so focus on decluttering those they do first. Once these areas are clutter free inviting someone over isn’t as scary. Simply shut the doors on the other areas. It is a rare friend that would dare enter areas with closed doors without permission because truth be told almost everyone has a “closed door for a reason” room.
- The entrance way (for some homes this may include the front porch leading to the entrance way)
- The living area closest to the entrance way
- The bathroom guests use
- The kitchen
- The dining room (or wherever the table is that you use to share a meal with friends)
3. Make keeping them decluttered a priority
Too many times I have said, “Good, those areas are decluttered now I can move on to…” and then I do and I forget one essential step–keeping the public areas free of clutter.
If you want to get rid of clutter shame for good, you need to devote some time each and every week to removing clutter from the public areas of your home. Clutter grows quickly. A pile of unopened mail here, a pile of craft supplies there, a pile of stuff from the back of the car there and then BAM! The piles seem out of control and you cringe at the thought of company.
However, if instead each time you carve out time to declutter you devote the first portion of it to maintaining the public areas you already decluttered, it won’t have time to grow and your home will stay company ready.
Another way I keep continuing the fight against clutter in public areas in my home is by repeating these 3 simple steps over and over each day. After a while I just started doing them without thinking and they truly are my greatest weapon in keeping my home “almost” company ready at all times. To me “almost” company ready means that my home is fine for close friends, but about an hour away from making its best first impression on new friends.
4. Realize everyone is human
Trust me, your friends don’t live the clutter free lives they portray on Instagram. I for one will admit to actually temporarily removing a pile of clutter out of the way so I can take an awesome picture of the dessert I baked that turned out perfect for once!
Stop waiting for your home to be 100% clutter free in all areas to invite friends over. Instead, get the public areas of your home 80% decluttered and start inviting people over anyways.
Honestly, they won’t say anything about your random pile of your child’s school papers on the corner of the kitchen counter because they have one of their own at their house.
5. Come up with a visitor plan
I have two different visitor decluttering plans. I have the invite friends over because it will help me catch up on my clutter piles plan and the “Oh no!” a friend just called and said she is dropping by in 15 minutes decluttering plan.
In the first I purposely set a date for someone to come over and then make a plan to intentionally remove clutter piles from public areas of the home before they arrive. I like doing this because it gives me a reward of something I like doing, spending time with friends, in trade for sticking to something I hate doing, decluttering.
My “Oh no!” plan includes grabbing laundry baskets from the laundry room, throwing all random piles of clutter from the public areas of my home into them, and then shoving those baskets into my bedroom and shutting the door.
Both plans have their place and both work well for me.
6. Never stop decluttering
I know this one is hard to hear, but in our consumer society we fight what can sometimes seem a losing battle with conquering piles of stuff.
It might not even be stuff we buy, but stuff given to us as gifts or for free from events we attended.
I knew when I finished my 52 weeks of decluttering I needed a way to keep clutter at bay in my home, which is why I went on to making myself fill one box each month with things to drop off at the thrift store. I plan to make this a forever habit. Every month for the rest of my life a box is going to the thrift store–no exceptions.
7. Know you are not alone
You are not the only one fighting a clutter battle. Just check out the slew of decluttering books out there. Those authors don’t write books no one will read.
If you need decluttering support, join my decluttering facebook page. In the group we discuss areas we plan to declutter over the next week, post pictures of progress and cheer each other on.
You are not the only one to feel embarrassed by your clutter, but you are the only one that can put an end to those feelings.
Stop feeling embarrassed by your home and start a plan of action that will make you feel good about it!
More decluttering help:
- How To Start Decluttering When You Feel Overwhelmed
- How To Declutter Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
- The BIG Declutter Question: Resell It Or Toss It? A How To Decide Guide