Style & Shopping News & Trends

The One Thing That Makes 46 Percent of Houseguests Uncomfortable

Don’t worry. You can change it.
Photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

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Ever since the Marie Kondo craze sparked a veritable cultural movement, which saw niche industries like cleaning influencing take off, we’ve all become a little bit obsessed with organizing. A survey by mobile marketplace OfferUp reminds us of just that. The report analyzed the tidying habits of 2,000 Americans, and it looks like, as a whole, we think about decluttering quite a bit.

Around 37 percent of us are purportedly devoting an entire day (or more!) to cleaning, while 24 percent are setting aside a couple hours. This kind of commitment pays off: Seventy percent of those surveyed swear by cleaning to feel accomplished; 61 percent use it to de-stress; and 54 percent do it to feel relaxed afterward.

That said, decluttering has as many external benefits as it does internal. It can help you find a roommate—34 percent of those surveyed say tidiness is important when looking for one. It can also influence your entertaining habits, as houseguests notice clutter right away. Forty-six percent of respondents say they “suffer quietly” when visiting a messy home, and 28 percent would avoid going back. So whether you’re prepping for picky in-laws or looking to turn over a new leaf and live a clutter-free life, here are some ways to make tidying up a breeze.

Break It Down

living room with pink sofas
Photography by Bethany Nauert; Styling by Scott Horne

It’s one thing to dedicate a specific day to deep cleaning your home. It’s another altogether to relegate all cleaning to that day. Think of decluttering as a daily ritual, so that when you tackle the big stuff seasonally, the task feels less overwhelming. Fashion designer Jesse Kamm, whose sleek, minimalist office holds enough decluttering inspo to last a lifetime, swears by a nightly sweep-through. “It’s easy to keep a neat space when there is very little to clutter it,” she says. “Spend about 10 minutes each day putting things back in their place. When you do a bit each day, you’re more likely to stay on top of organization.

Invest in Some Stylish Fixes

wood bathroom vanity
Photography by Jason Frank Rothenberg; Styling by Rosy Fridman

Trays for your favorite beauty products, vintage wire baskets for your kitchen textiles, repurposed candle vases for your desktop essentials: There are a myriad of chic storage solutions that prove you don’t have to resort to plastic bins to clean up your home. Once you’ve figured out which materials work best with your personal style—for example, opt for woven baskets if you lean more boho or sleek acrylic trays if you’re a die-hard minimalist—take your time finding organizational tools that double as decor.

Approach It Categorically

tidy linen closet
Photography by Heidi’s Bridge

When all else fails, channel the queen of clean herself. Lisa Tselebidis is a certified KonMari consultant, and she recommends tidying by category instead of location. “You can only grasp what you have and how much of it you have when you gather all the items of one category in one spot,” she explains. Start by tackling your clothing pile before turning your decluttering attention to your books.  

Help Guests Help Themselves

teal fridge
Photography by Alyssa Rosenheck

Elsa Elbert, CEO of Composed Living, a Los Angeles–based organizing company, knows how to whip a fridge into shape. One of her top tips: Invest in stackable glass boxes to save on space and then label the containers with a few key pieces of information: What’s inside and when you made it. That way, no one has to come find you and ask where something is and whether it’s still edible.

Tame Your Tote Collection

hallway closet
Courtesy of Amber Lewis

The common denominator of most homes? An overflow of shopping bags. Designer Amber Lewis had the smart idea to place a wicker basket on the top shelf of her hall closet labeled specifically for the totes. That way, when friends and family go to hang up their coats, they’re not greeted by a toppling pile of Target bags.

This story was originally published in November 2019. It has since been updated. 

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.