The Case for Clutter: 7 Reasons to Over-Decorate

The Case for Clutter: 7 Reasons to Over Decorate

Source: Viktoriia Hnatiuk/

The trend for decluttering and minimalism is so pervasive that it is often considered the right way to keep your home. However, a vocal backlash to this thinking has come from proud maximalists who, much like the Victorians of the 19th century and the neo-expressionists of the 1970s, believe that more is more when it comes to interior design. You’ve probably heard all the arguments against clutter, but have you ever stopped to think of its benefits? Read on to discover seven reasons to over-decorate your home.

  1. Clutter Creates Coziness

While minimalist decoration is often touted as an effective way to reduce stress in the home, it doesn’t create the warm, cozy atmosphere that many find appealing. Filling your living area with meaningful objects and displaying your home treasures, from pretty soft furnishings and family photos to vacation souvenirs and books, makes your home feel lived in and full of life. The various textures and colors found in maximalist homes can be much more inviting than clean lines and clear spaces. There is often a hardness and a clinical feeling associated with a chic, minimal design that, while stylish, is not necessarily homey. 

Whether you enjoy French country or boho decor, layering furniture, ornaments and soft furnishing with a generous hand and personal touch will take your house or apartment from a cold showroom to an inviting, cozy home. 

  1. Clutter Allows You to Express Yourself

Besides making your home feel welcoming, clutter is a way to express your personality. The objects found in anyone’s home are a window into their life’s story, hobbies, family, taste and perspective. Hiding away your personal objects behind cupboard doors and in drawers may make your home look tidier, but it can take away its individuality. If everyone subscribed to the minimalist style, our homes would all look like a chain of impersonal hotels. Just as your clothes tell others a bit of who you are, so does your home. If minimal decor is something you love, you should embrace it, but if you struggle to keep your cluttered tendencies at bay, why not accept who you are and fill your home with things that truly feel like you?

The Case for Clutter: 7 Reasons to Over Decorate

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  1. An Over-Decorated Home Is Full of Memories

Another benefit of embracing clutter and over-decoration is that it allows you to relive some of your happiest memories. The objects you accumulate over a lifetime tell many stories. From the tapestry blanket you picked up on that vacation with the girls in Mexico to the lamp you bought in a flea market for your first home, these objects spark memories and act as snapshots of your life in the same way photographs do.

This doesn’t mean you have to live in a constant state of nostalgia or that you have to keep every little thing just because there is a good memory associated with it. However, the popularization of decluttering, which seemed to develop into a national obsession when the softly spoken Marie Kondo burst onto screens in 2019 with her hit show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” has made a lot of people feel guilty about their clutter and feel they need to get rid of everything. Yet, even Marie Kondo, the queen of organization, says that it is worth keeping if an object sparks joy. If your home is brimming with joy-sparking possessions, imagine what a happy home it must be!

  1. Clutter Is Fun

Sticking with the topic of happiness and joy, for many people over-decorating a home is fun! Being able to see the things you love, whether that’s a selection of bobbleheads or your book collection, is enjoyable and can put a smile on your face. For some, the act of decluttering is extremely therapeutic; it is a relief to rid themselves of the possessions that clutter up their lives. However, for others, the pleasure is in acquiring and enjoying objects that speak to them. 

The Case for Clutter: 7 Reasons to Over Decorate

Source: Creative Lab/

  1. Clutter Can Inspire Creativity

If you’ve ever heard of the expression “a tidy desk, a tidy mind,” you know it’s believed that living in a neat environment makes you more organized. While this may be true, it ignores the benefits a bit of clutter brings. Studies indicate that disorderly environments spark creativity, innovation and untraditional thinking. 

  1. Clutter Can Be Relaxing

The benefit that reducing clutter has on anxiety and stress has been reported in-depth over the last few years, and a messy environment can be overwhelming for many people. However, for others, being surrounded by their favorite things makes them more comfortable. While a minimalist may enter a cluttered home and feel overstimulated, a maximalist may feel unable to relax and be themselves in a clutter-free space. 

  1. Decluttering Is Not Alway Sustainable 

Having many things often gets a bad rap; it suggests materialism and even being environmentally irresponsible. However, this is not always the case, and there is an argument to be made that keeping your clutter is more sustainable than getting rid of it. When you go on a decluttering frenzy, one of the significant issues is what to do with the stuff you no longer want; do you sell, donate or recycle? Ideally, these items will be passed on to a new home, but charitable donation programs don’t accept everything and, ultimately, many goods get thrown out. Not to mention that often people end up re-buying items that are very similar to what they previously got rid of, continuing the cycle of consumerism and creating waste. Keeping hold of things, therefore, is sometimes more eco-friendly than decluttering. 

Clutter Is Personal

Ultimately, whether you embrace the clutter or swear by minimalism comes down to how you like to lead your life and how you want your home to feel. Unfortunately, clutter has garnered a bad reputation, and people can feel inferior because they struggle to meet minimalist standards. If that sounds like you, stop and ask yourself: Do you want to get rid of your clutter, or do you want to enjoy it?