From Marie Kondo’s “Tidying Up” series on Netflix to phrases like “life-changing magic” and “less stuff,” the decluttering trend is well under way. And while Kondo’s methods may have originated in Japan, 70 percent of Americans say they feel a sense of accomplishment after tidying their homes, according to a 2019 OfferUp survey.
But can decluttering go too far? Having too much stuff may be one extreme, but what do you do once you have completed the life-changing magic of tidying up? You might find bare bookshelves, empty walls, and a previously-cluttered coffee table that now holds a single, lonely vase of artificial flowers.
“Everybody wants to simplify, but you have to think about what’s next,” says Katy Winter, founder of Katy’s Organized Home. “You won’t always buy things that spark joy.”
You might return from a trip with a suitcase full of souvenirs that need a home, or receive gifts from relatives who visit over Christmas. You could feel the urge to fill spaces that have been emptied.
If so, you have entered the phase of recluttering, which involves repopulating your home with objects you love. Turns out, having a little bit of disorder here and there might be a good thing. Here’s why recluttering may be the way to create a comfortable, warm home guests love to step foot in.
1. Recluttering Helps Reset Your Space.
If you’ve focused on clearing out furniture and belongings you no longer use, you might find a room that is ready for a fresh start.
“We evolve over time,” says Julia Kohn, an organizing consultant in Long Beach, California. “It’s about making a space for how your life is right now.”
A former play room for younger children could be converted into a family theater. After the toys are cleared out, you might add a sofa, entertainment center, and family photos from your favorite trips. Memorabilia and framed children’s artwork could line bookshelves.
2. You Can Add Joy on a Budget.
After reducing your home to the essentials, recluttering offers the freedom to bring in additions that fit your lifestyle. If you opt for second hand, you’ll find plenty of low-cost options.
“People are selling things for pennies on the dollar – both large items like dining sets as well as small things like kitchen knick knacks,” Kohn says. “I have furnished homes on two occasions for under a few hundred dollars.”
If you took bags of clothing that no longer fits to charity shops when decluttering, head back to the same places. You might find a summer handbag you want for an upcoming vacation, a perfect antique teapot to round out your collection, or extra lawn chairs for guests to use.
3. Your Purchases Will Be More Intentional.
Focusing on filling a space with items you love creates the opportunity to search thoughtfully for new pieces. As you spend time in an uncluttered living room, you might make a Pinterest board of pillows, blankets and decorations that would add style to the space.
When searching online, “be mindful of what you have and avoid impulsive shopping,” Winter says. Waiting a day or week to buy more stuff will help you determine what you really want.
4. You Might Find the Perfect Spot for Stored Treasures.
If you stashed a coin collection in a box when sorting out your home after a move, or put away old picture frames years ago, now may be the time to get them out.
“Take inventory of what you have,” says Kealia Reynolds of House Method.
Items that hold special meaning could be put on display in cleaned out areas.
“Note your favorite pieces and be sure to prioritize these,” Reynolds says.
5. Recluttering Lets You Express Yourself.
If you’re devoted to Star Wars, look for areas in the home where movies and posters can be put on display. If you love to read but now keep most books on your kindle, consider putting hard copies of your favorite works on a shelf.
“Though a minimalist home can help you be more mindful, personalizing a space can inspire you and bring you peace,” Reynolds says.
Small spots on a bedroom dresser could be filled with memory-inducing pieces, like pressed flowers from your wedding or a stopwatch that has been in the family for generations.
“No matter what else is happening in your home or in your life, this space will be a gentle reminder of comfort and happiness,” Reynolds says.
6. You’ll Steer Clear of Perfection Tendencies.
Spots for odds and ends, like a junk drawer, can be healthy if they reduce stress. You’ll avoid guilt from not having absolutely everything in place.
“No one’s home is ever perfect,” Kohn says. “It’s about feeling good in your space.”