Visual Clutter

Danny is a masters architecture student, currently studying how architecture can help in leading a fulfilling life for people living with dementia and carers

Visual clutter becomes a problem when the eye can see too many things which causes a distraction in what you are doing. Even if you are not aware of these distractions, it can happen subconsciously. When there is too much visual clutter, it can make it harder to concentrate on carrying out a task or to find something in a room.

Here are some tips on how to reduce visual clutter in your homes:

1. ‘Don’t put it down, put it away.’ Pearl kindly offered this saying that she uses to make the first point easy to remember. If you have been using an item, put it back in the place it belongs so that it does not create any extra visual clutter. This will also make it easier to find the item if you need to find it later. This one is sometimes hard to keep on top of, especially if you have a busy or stressful life, or indeed, if a family member or loved one puts items back in the wrong place, but it’s definitely a good thing to get in the habit of doing wherever possible. If there is something particularly important, like documents or medication, make sure to always keep it in a safe location where you can always access it.

2. Keep things that make you happy on display. The next step is reducing other visual clutter, such as ornaments and decorations around the house. The problem with this step is that a lot of the things you choose to display can be very meaningful and important to us, for example, small trinkets that remind us of a special time in our lives, photographs of a loved one, or even silly objects we have become attached to over the years. Removing some of these items could in fact cause us distress if it was no longer in the place we had put it. One tip is to go around the house and ask yourself whether each object you have brings you happiness or a positive memory. If it brings you happiness, keep it there, if it doesn’t, put it into storage or remove it. By reducing the amount of items that do not bring you happiness, you can bring much more attention to the ones that do and create a happier home. 

3. Store some items in a scrapbook, photo album or memory box.You may find that there are items that you would never throw away, but do not need to be out on display all the time. Keeping a scrapbook or memory box, like some of our members have mentioned, can be a great way to store memories that you enjoy looking at from time to time and fun to get out when you fancy going through some old memories.