Here’s an interesting question: Is cozy a polite way of saying cluttered? Does it have to be? Cozy does frequently stand in for cluttered – it’s an easy way to brush off clutter or to elevate it to a higher status. “These books piled everywhere in my apartment? That’s a sign of my eclectic genius and what makes my home cozy.” It’s like the term ‘lived in,’ which can mean so many things good and bad.
Which isn’t to say you can’t have a lot of stuff without clutter! I think the difference between cozy and cluttered is a feeling more than anything else. Cozy to me means that a space feels inviting – it has signs of life in it instead of being a sanitized space that looks like a catalog or a museum display. A big house with lots of space can still feel cozy, for example. And a big house can be cluttered, too, if all that space isn’t used effectively. A cluttered home will feel different than a cozy one. It won’t be inviting, and all the stuff strewn about willy-nilly can even be a little anxiety inducing. Visitors are afraid to touch anything, for fear of knocking something over or losing their keys.
That’s what cozy versus cluttered means to – what does it mean to you? Can you separate the two terms in your mind, or does cozy always feel a little cluttered to you?
TIP: If you would like to downsize some of your stuff, check out Unstuff Your Life!. It’s not about trading in chaos for minimalism, but rather figuring out the best way to use the spaces you have.