Aussies are battling to cut the clutter

Linley Wilkie
Updated May 13 2024 - 9:19am, first published May 11 2024 - 3:00am
Aussies are battling to cut the clutter
Aussies are battling to cut the clutter

How neat is your house?

Depending on who you live with, your castle might be the very definition of orderly, or you could be drowning under groaning piles of stuff.

According to new research commissioned by Choosi, clutter is on the rise, with one in four Australians surveyed revealing their homes are more cluttered than they were five years ago.

More than half of Aussie households reported they experience clutter or disorganisation at least once a month, with general odds and ends, clothing, footwear and paper (think magazines and receipts) listed as the things causing the most clutter.

According to Edel Beattie, professional organiser and owner of The Happy Organiser, impulse purchasing is one reason we accumulate too much stuff, with many unaware we're even doing it.

"Although consumerism and advertising play a role in this behaviour, we can build our own awareness to help us make better decisions," she says.

The Clutter 2.0 Report 2024 found Aussies are spending more than three hours a week decluttering their homes. Picture Shutterstock
The Clutter 2.0 Report 2024 found Aussies are spending more than three hours a week decluttering their homes. Picture Shutterstock

In theory, we know what to do, with respondents recommending donating or selling unused items, starting small and avoiding impulse buys.

However about three in five of those surveyed reported that finding time to declutter and clean is a challenge, the most common reasons being a lack of motivation, limited free time and a lack of storage space.

"As the research shows, many Australians feel that clutter and disorganisation builds up over the month," says Beattie. "Many find it difficult to give time to decluttering and cleaning due to busy schedules.

"Dedicating time to both decluttering and cleaning is important, so scheduling the time into your calendar helps. Regular resets and short 20 minute power tidies can really help keep the clutter at bay."

A team of 18 bakers began the process at 3am, using a specially designed open oven. The 140.53m loaf returned the title from the previous holders in Como, Italy where a 132.62-metre long baguette was baked in 2019.

Even the thought of tackling the job has deterred two in five from moving or selling homes, highlighting the many and varied ways clutter is affecting Aussies' lives.

"Moving home can be overwhelming, however it can also be viewed as an opportunity to finally clear out a lot of clutter," says Beattie.

"Even if you have no imminent plans to sell or move, start decluttering now and focus on one room or small area - a slow and consistent approach feels much less overwhelming."

The study found younger people more affected by clutter, with 39 per cent of Gen Z and 35 per cent of Gen Y experiencing clutter at least once a week, compared to 17 per cent of Baby Boomers.

An emotional connection can be one of the biggest challenges when trying to part ways with an item, with nearly two in five people reporting nostalgia as a key barrier, together with perceived usefulness, financial value and difficulty in making decisions.

"In the beginning of any big decluttering task, it can take more time to see the impact and build momentum," says Beattie.

"However longer term, the goal is to have less clutter coming into our homes meaning we will eventually spend less time decluttering and tidying up."

Linley Wilkie

Linley Wilkie

Senior journalist, group features and special publications

I've been a lifestyle and features writer for 23 years, covering everything from fashion and beauty, to homes, parenting and travel. Having worked for Text Media, Fairfax Media and now Australian Community Media, these days I attend more kids sports games than fashion parades.