top of page

are knickknacks clutter?

knick·knack: (noun): a small trivial article usually intended for ornament.

Merriam-Webster definition

Knickknacks, small trinkets, objects of affection, chachkas, thingies, collectables…


The short answer: yes and no :)

It all depends on what your knickknacks are.

The Online Etymology Dictionary dates knickknacks back to the 1570s as a “pleasing trifle toy.”

If your knickknacks are from 1570, keep them.

Mine are not.

I have knickknacks from my childhood. Some that have been passed on from relatives. Gifts from friends. Trinkets the kids have made. I have picked up little things here and there that make me smile. They add up.

When looking at your knickknacks there are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Where did it come from? Is there a memory or story behind it or did you pick it up at Target?

  • Do these personal touches add to your style or take away from it?

  • Do they have a use?

  • How does it make you feel? Does it spark a memory or make you smile?

  • Do you have so many that you feel overwhelmed, or you have no place to put them?

  • Can you pass it on someone or give it away?

After evaluating your knickknacks, here are some tips for displaying your favorites.

Display sparingly.

Try to find it a use.

Personal touches do add to your overall style.

Occasionally swap them out.

Box up the ones you aren’t using. Label and date the box. If you don’t go back into that box looking for anything for a year, chances are, you don’t miss those knickknacks.


bottom of page