The Choosi Clutter 2.0 Report 2024

The Choosi Clutter 2.0 Report 2024 In our latest installment of research, this report investigates the behaviours and attitudes of Australian households in the battle against clutter.

As the old saying goes, a tidy house equals a tidy mind. Although let’s be real – not everyone likes to clean and organise. But while we’re still feeling that new year inspiration, now could be the time to tackle the clutter around the house before we start hibernating through the winter months.

The Choosi Clutter Report is back after its first iteration in 2017, shedding light on Aussies’ habits and attitudes toward clutter, revealing the barriers that hinder us from getting rid of it, and how it affects our lives, both physically and digitally. It also provides insight on how to free up our space and minds, and even increase our bank accounts!

The state of clutter

We’ve all been there – digging out that old, slightly worn, around the house t-shirt we just can’t let go of. While we always like options, these are just adding to the ‘clothes chair’.

In fact, it seems things have only gotten worse, with over one in three (36%) Aussies now unable to stand how many things are in their home. That’s more than the nearly one in four (24%) who couldn’t stand how cluttered their home was just a few years ago.

We all have that one room or space that acts as a bit of a dumping ground. When it comes to the most cluttered space in the household, the garage or shed topped the list (19%), followed by the trusty spare room (15%). When breaking it down, the top three things cluttering homes are general odds and ends (46%), clothing and footwear (34%) and paper, including magazines, special offers and receipts (28%). There was one group that bucked this trend, Gen Z, who cited clothing and footwear (40%) as their biggest source of clutter.

Despite not being able to stand the mess, three in five (62%) find it challenging to find the time to declutter, clean and organise, with a lack of motivation (46%), limited free time (40%) and lack of storage space (39%) the most common reasons. Where is Marie Kondo when you need her?

Almost half (49%) said cost of living pressures had impacted their ability to declutter and organise the home, highlighting the unexpected ways in which we’re all feeling the pinch. Those who declutter found that it encourages them to make more thoughtful purchases (30%), helps them realise what they already have (28%) and helps prevent impulse buying (26%).

Despite the temptation, more than three in five (62%) wouldn’t pay someone for home organisation. Because of this, we’re spending more time decluttering our homes than destressing on holiday each year – swapping the beach for a broom (3.6 hours decluttering each week). We know which we’d rather (hint: it rhymes with “peach”).

Infographic showing the percentage of cost and impact of clutter in Australian homes

Edel Beattie, professional organiser and founder of The Happy Organiser shares her top three tips to finding the time to declutter.

  1. Set Up a ‘donate box’ somewhere in your home or garage and declutter as you go. When you come across an item to donate, don’t put it down, put it in the box. When that box is full, take it to your local op shop.
  2. Do regular ‘5-minute Clutter Audits’. Stick to small spaces for best results. You could tackle under the kitchen sink or the utensils drawer while the dinner cooks.
  3. For the bigger decluttering tasks, schedule time in your calendar (just as you would for any other appointment). If you don’t commit the time, you’ll be sure to find something else that needs to be done.

But I might need that!

Even though we can’t stand the clutter, the “what if” factor is just too much for some. The research found that one in three Aussies find it challenging to throw out belongings due to a perceived usefulness (33%), financial value (32%), and difficulty making decisions (31%).

It’s affecting us all differently. Much like how many of us indulge in a good Friends re-run, nostalgia emerged as the top emotional reason as to why so many of us are holding onto our belongings (39%). However, men were found to be less sentimental than women (12% vs 19%), but don’t worry, only by a smidge!

The research also found that younger generations are experiencing clutter more than others, with almost two in five (39%) of Gen Z and over one in three (35%) of Gen Y experiencing clutter at least once a week, compared to only Baby Boomers (17%). That’s more than twice as often – so long missing sock.

Edel shares her top three expert tips to making the tough decisions when it comes to throwing away the “just in case” items we just can't seem to let go of.

  1. A mindset that makes discarding things easier, includes shifting the focus from ‘letting stuff go’ to ‘what is being gained’ e.g. more space, breathing room, organisation, giving to others in need.
  2. Ask yourself these questions to help with your decluttering decisions; “Would I buy this today?” “Does this add value to my life right now?” “Will I use this in the next 12 months” and “Do I need to own this or is it something I could borrow?”
  3. Create an album in your phone labelled “Memory Items.” If you keep an item because you attach a memory to it, try taking a photo of it for this album. Often that helps people finally let go of the physical item.

Selling online: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

As we feel the cost-of-living crunch, more of us are turning to the second-hand marketplace to help clear out unused items and make more space, while making some quick cash (45 per cent in 2017; 61 per cent in 2024). Many of us are partial to a Facebook Marketplace hunt so it’s no surprise that Meta’s Facebook (67%) has come out on top as the number one choice for selling online, followed by Gumtree (43%) and eBay (38%).

However, it pays to be vigilant when surfing second-hand marketplaces as over a third (36%) have encountered scams, and nearly three in ten (28%) have faced scam attempts within these online marketplaces.

Make money from home

When it comes to the why, nearly half (48%) were motivated by the potential cash injection while others listed the desire to give unwanted items a second life (39%), the convenience of online selling (31%), and the ease of finding buyers (31%).

A change in shopping habits

However, the benefits don’t just stop at making some extra cash – the act of decluttering influences the purchasing habits of 7 in 10 (71%) of us. Many are opting for more considered buying choices (30%), recognising existing possessions to avoid unnecessary purchases (28%), and curbing impulse spending (26%). It’s time to stop the shop and scroll and abandon what’s in our checkout.

Decluttering and mental health

No, it’s not 2021, but is it time we all tried Marie Kondo’s ‘Spark Joy’ in our homes again? For many of us, a clutter-free and organised home provides a sense of mental clarity and positive health benefits (80% and 78%, respectively).

Logically, we all know we feel better when our spaces and home are organised. With over half (57%) feeling stress or anxiety due to the state of their homes, we do not need that energy in 2024.

Interestingly, when looking at the factors that impact Aussies perceived pressure to keep the home clutter-free, social media and influencers emerged as a key driving force in this (37%). So, it’s not just their endless European holiday snaps that have us feeling some type of way.

Infographic showing a percentage breakdown of benefits for Australians decluttering the home

Digital clutter

While the ‘clothes chair’ can be hard to miss, there’s one type of clutter we tend to forget – our digital devices. Surprisingly, half of us (52%) revealed they have 0 unread messages, and a further one-third (33%) reporting 0 unread!?

If you’re reading this now thinking about your hundreds of unread messages, you’re not alone. The average Australian has 202 unread emails, 38 unread messages (texts, DMs and PMs) and 1,463 photos or videos on their phones. That’s a lot of food snaps.

Just like flossing daily, two in three (67%) have adopted digital hygiene practices to boost their productivity, with almost half (45%) taking to clearing their digital devices at least once a month.

When it comes to the satisfaction of clearing our digital space, having no unread emails (43%) came out on top, followed closely by an empty recycle bin (36%), and no unnecessary apps (33%). If only you could bottle and sell that empty inbox feeling – hello money!

Interestingly, the research found that whilst younger Aussies were more likely to have more photos, videos and unread emails on their phone, following a digital declutter, they were also more likely to report a sense of enhanced productivity, with the majority of Gen Z (85%) leading the way, followed by Gen Y (76%) and Gen X (63%).

To maintain an organised digital life, many are turning to deleting unused apps and software (41%), regularly removing unnecessary files (39%), and unsubscribing from email newsletters (38%). One in three (34%) are avoiding unnecessary downloads, and a similar amount (33%) regularly review and delete old photos.

Infographic showing the percentage of Australians and their digital decluttering habits

Whether you’re looking for extra space around your home or to make some extra cash, decluttering can make all the difference. While taking the first step can be the hardest, future you will thank you in the long run. Now, about that Tupperware cupboard...

The Happy Organiser Edel Beattie

Edel Beattie

Edel Beattie is the founder of The Happy Organiser, a professional organising business started 3.5 years ago, grounded in the philosophy of simplicity. Edel's journey into professional organising was sparked by her own experiences with the transformative power of decluttering.

Realising the profound impact a clutter-free space had on her well-being, she was inspired to share this revelation with others. Edel's work goes beyond mere tidying; she empowers her clients to reclaim their space and live a fuller life.