Organized Chaos = No Clutter

The subtle art of having things appear “clean” is really the practiced art of PLACING things.

My OCD brain has organized this segment into three types of placing:

  • Clumps
  • Layering 
  • Placemats


A clump is a group of items that fit cohesively together. Usually tied together by function, size, and aesthetic.

  • For example: A stack of the same size books, with a round vase placed on top
    • Function – book storage
    • Size – large rectangles offset with large round 
    • Aesthetic – elevated – books are same colour and there are two different shapes

Clumping is essentially stacking and grouping

Group things together that have complementary colours (Ie: black/white with colour/metal) AND with opposing shapes (Ie: square with round, short with tall). 

Stack things with opposing sizes (Ie: large mirrors with small candles).

  • The variety of items adds dimension to your space and makes it appear BIGGER!

Okay, practice time. Let’s look at the two pictures and decide which looks better:

Let’s break it D O W N.

Which one do you like better? 

Personally, I like the one on the right. Here’s my reasoning:

  • Green vase and black statue are too similar of shapes to be stacked
  • Round beige vase is okay with round thingamajig above BECAUSE of the square books
  • Brass file holder parallels shiny-ness of round thingamajig and looks nice diagonal

Sounds pretty obsessive hey? Well hear me out, once you place something – it STAYS that way. When you begin intentionally organizing things, two things result:

  • This habit becomes automated
  • You DON’T lose things


Same principles as clumping, but with emphasis on overlapping.

The key to this is a variety of sizes, colours, and woods/metals. For each layered clump, try to have a shade (black, white, grey), an accent colour (mine is beige), and a metal or wood (I chose gold, big shocker I know).

It can also be fun to pick a theme! Above, I was inspired by the squiggle paintings so I threw them together and tied in the gold clock and candlestick to parallel the fireplace.

Here’s a simple chart to illustrate this:

Some trix:

  • Pick your colour palette
  • Center around an anchor – the largest piece that goes behind everything 
  • Include some greenery for contrast
  • Have items of various levels (heights) to separate the space

Let's make something weird.

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