Social Question

keobooks's avatar

Would you rather be in an extremely messy house or an extremely cluttered house?

Asked by keobooks (14276points) August 5th, 2013

I am a messy person. Everything I do makes a mess. I am not great at cleaning it up. There are always dishes in the sink, papers scattered everywhere—laundry and shoes in random locations—you name it. We don’t have visitors often because our house is too messy for guests.

We have some friends who aren’t messy—what little space they have, they will keep clean, but their house is incredibly cluttered—like there are huge boxes of things everywhere and they have paths and trails everywhere to get from point A to point B in the house. If you want to sit somewhere, they have to move piles of stuff so you have a seat.

In my opinion, messy is a lousy situation, but it’s better than being cluttered. It’s easy to clean up when I want to or need to. While my husband and I are messy, we don’t have much stuff and we don’t mind throwing everything away. But in my cluttered friend’s opinion, cluttered is better because the main areas—kitchen and bathroom are mostly always clean and spotless and the boxes and stacks might get dusty, but they are in tidy rows.

I know most people wouldn’t want to be in either situation, but I was just wondering—which house would you rather be in? The messy one, or the cluttered one?

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24 Answers

Seek's avatar

I’m messy, my husband is cluttered. We drive each other completely batshit.

He stacks boxes of stuff in front of my dresser, I somehow always get paint on the dining room table.

All in all, I don’t mind a mess, as long as it doesn’t smell bad. I don’t like clutter, because you never know if someone will be upset at you for moving something.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I guess I don’t mind cluttered as much as messy.

Response moderated
ucme's avatar

In terms of having kids, particularly when they’re little, messy & cluttered comes with the territory. It’s what I liked to call a clean mess, wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Now though I like clean & relatively tidy, depending on what kind of weekend I might have had.

cookieman's avatar

C. Sleep in my car.

Okay fine, if I have to choose, I go with cluttered.

El_Cadejo's avatar

My room constantly looks like a bomb recently went off(and yet I know exactly where every thing is :P) . To me though there is a huge distinction between messy and dirty. I don’t mind stuff not put away etc it’s when its food stuff that is left out and other things that are sticky/smelly that it bothers me.

muppetish's avatar

I think it depends on the room of the house. I would rather have a cluttered kitchen and bathroom, but prefer a messy bedroom or living room.

gondwanalon's avatar

This like asking which would you rather have done to you a “root canal”, or “ oral bone graft” procedure. HA!

flip86's avatar

Messy. I don’t like having unnecessary crap. If I do keep something, it goes into a closet. When the closet gets full, I clean it out. I should throw the crap out in the first place, but I like to make sure I’ll never need it again.

My apartment is always a mess. My daughter scatters her toys from one end to the other, we always have dishes in the sink, and clothes are always scattered on the floor.

I clean the bathroom religiously though. It is the cleanest room in the apartment.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Messy. Cluttered is too…..busy.

I read that the old English like to clutter, with lots of bric a brac, pictures, dried flowers, etc…which is not dirty, just busy. Sounds horrible, no clean lines, no walls/ floor clearly visible, I’d go nutz.

Seek's avatar

@knowitall, that’s how I feel. I like a house that looks lived in. Not trashed, but not reeking of disinfectant either. My home is small, and if I had a lot of stuff, it would just get in the way of my bookshelves.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Messy. If a home is uncluttered – a place for everything, and everything in its place – it can be cleaned quickly and thoroughly.

When someone lives with clutter, however, it’s a major effort to clean. That person needs to move piles of stuff, from one spot to another, just to vacuum or dust. Also, a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind, which leads to a cluttered life. Everything just sort of falls apart, much like dominoes knocking each other down.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

For the record, having either would be like torture to me.

Aethelwine's avatar

This is hard for me to answer because they seem to mean the same thing to me. papers scattered everywhere—laundry and shoes in random locations sounds like clutter to me.

I’d rather live with stacks of papers and clothes here and there than piles of dirty dishes in the sink. I guess I’m going with clutter.

keobooks's avatar

Clutter and Messy are NOT the same. You can make a mess with a sparse few odds and ends. Clutter—you need a LOT of stuff. I think my friend may even be a hoarder. Things are neat and tidy but the boxes of junk are all over the house and it crowds out everything else.

She thinks she’s better off because it’s neat and tidy. I still fear that boxes are going to fall on me when I go there. I think I’m better off because I don’t have very much stuff—it’s just in disarray. When I clean my downstairs, it takes an hour or two. When she cleans her living room, she has to hire people to haul her junk away to a storage facility and it could take a week. But it IS neater than my house.

Aethelwine's avatar

Clutter and messy are the same in my mind. Maybe not for you or others, but if I look at clutter or a hoard, I’m going to think “ugh, what a mess!”. just my thoughts and opinion. I don’t think there is any right or wrong here.

Blondesjon's avatar

According to the dictionary:

Messy = characterized by a dirty, untidy, or disordered condition: a messy room

Cluttered = a disorderly heap or assemblage; litter: It’s impossible to find anything in all this clutter.

I don’t really see a difference.

YARNLADY's avatar

My house is cluttered and my son’s house is always messy. They are always getting sick from the bacteria and germs that their house is filled with. We seldom have anyone sick in my house.

They leave food, soda cans and dishes on every surface of the house. If crumbs or chips fall on the floor, they become part of the rug, along with any clothes that are there.

My table currently has piles of folded, clean laundry, a clean blender, unopened boxes of tissue, folded grocery bags, a few children’s blocks, some books, a container of cd’s, a couple of pens and some note pads, some spools of thread and ribbon, and a blood pressure monitor. There are no scraps of food or such on it.

The shelves in my house are similarly cluttered, but again, nothing rotted or spoiled anywhere.

To me, that is the difference between cluttered and messy.

augustlan's avatar

My house probably qualifies as both messy and cluttered. We lack storage and I like stuff, so: clutter. We both tend to be disordered and hate to tidy up, so: messy. I can live with it, but really wish it was cleaner. In better financial times, we hire a maid service to come clean every two weeks. When it’s clean, I don’t really mind the mess/clutter.

We are not good at domestic stuff. Well, he’s a good cook, at least. But he makes a huge mess while he’s doing it!

tranquilsea's avatar

This question made me shudder. I can briefly handle both types of houses but my peace of mind needs order.

jordym84's avatar

I’m right there with @Mama_Cakes! I hate mess and I can’t stand clutter. I like coming home to a clean house at the end of a long work day; it gives me lots of mental peace.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t like my house being dirty. I can handle dishes in the sink until we load the dishwasher (which we do at least once a day). I don’t want food on the benches or that type of mess. We live in a hot climate and that’s just a recipe for attracting flies and other bugs.

As to clutter, it depends on the type of clutter. I have a lot of papers and books. I also have too many pairs of shoes and clothes. I can live with that, although it eventually gets on my nerves and I have to organise things! I can’t stand clutter in the form of ornaments and stuff in shelves everywhere. I’d rather have most surfaces fairly sparsely covered. My stepmother had heaps of ornaments and the like sitting all over the place. I hated it. Dust collectors.

Coloma's avatar


I’m a tidy type, not messy or cluttered but not an OCD clean freak either.
The dust and vacuuming can always wait an extra few days if there is something I’d rather be doing. I am the antithesis of a hoarder, I’m a thrower away-er, the messiest thing in my house for years was the usual junk drawer or weirdness. haha

It has been a huge challenge for me this past 16 months living with both messy and cluttered friends. I do most of the dishes just because I like things cleaned up but they have so-much-stuff, everywhere, it is out of control. It is hard for me after years of having my own home kept the way I like it, organized and tidy.

Nobody needs 40 freaking coffee cups or every closet, drawer and cupboard cram packed with stuff, including under all the beds in the house ( 4 bedroom, one is an office ) except mine. haha
My friend is a compulsive shipper and bargain hunter and buys multiples of everything, the most recent was some crazy sale on beach umbrellas and she bought SIX or them. They have been propped in a corner of the dining room for weeks now. Gah!

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