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Decluttering a bedroom can be a spiritual experience and a practice of mindfulness that involves setting intentions and feeling gratitude. For some people, having a decluttered bedroom is part of a life philosophy to keep visual clutter from interrupting their peace of mind.
Still, it’s fair to say that most people clean out of necessity rather than spiritual fulfillment, and that’s fine, too. You can benefit from thinking big-picture about your space and how you want to use it, even if you’re not a minimalist.
We’ll walk you through how to declutter your room, how to clean once the clutter’s gone, and—most importantly—how to maintain a clutter-free space.
6 Steps to Declutter Your Room
There’s no right way to go about clearing your space, but these six decluttering tips can help keep you on track.
Think About Function
If you haven’t decluttered in a while and you’re looking at a serious mess, you might want to rethink how you use your space. If you’re forever collecting piles in a specific area—for example, clothes on an empty chair or opened mail on a desk—you might not have a good designated space to put it.
Think about what areas you want to keep clear and how you can better use your existing drawer or closet space to meet that goal.
Put Things Back in Other Rooms
Your bedroom can become a dumping ground for things that belong in other places in the house simply because it’s convenient. You can often rid yourself of a layer of clutter by putting things back where they came from.
Be deliberate, so you don’t find yourself moving the mess around your house. Return linens to the linen closet, take paperwork to your home office, put cups or dishes in the kitchen, hang clean clothes on hangers, and so on.
Start with the Floors
Having empty floor space is crucial to getting around your room and taking the next steps in organizing, so start there. Put dirty clothes in the laundry basket, return books to the bookshelf, and put shoes away. Take note of the things that tend to end up on the floor and make it a goal to find a better place for these things.
Make Two (or More) Piles
It’s not enough to move things around; you’ll also want to eliminate things you no longer use. Separate items into piles, boxes, or bags before you assign them to permanent storage space.
You can sort as simply as one pile to keep and one to get rid of or get as granular as the following five categories.
- Keep: These are items you regularly use that ought to stay close at hand.
- Store: Anything you use seasonally or rarely, such as out-of-season clothes or heavy blankets, can go into long-term or out-of-the-way storage.
- Trash: Have a large trash bag on hand for worn-out or broken items that can’t be reused.
- Recycle: Check your local guidelines, but old papers, torn books, cardboard boxes, and plastic containers may be recyclable.
- Donate: Whether you give it to a friend or Goodwill, ensure unwanted items that are still usable get into the hands of someone who needs them.
You may also want a designated area for sentimental items so they don’t get lost or misplaced. Whatever you pick, be honest about how much you need—or have space—to keep. Having a pile just for giveaways or donations can help you remember that someone else might use something you don’t.
Tackle One Area at a Time
Whether it’s a closet full of knick-knacks or a set of overstuffed dresser drawers, many people choose to take one area of a room at a time. It’s an easy way to break down a large clutter problem into several smaller steps. After you’ve decluttered, say, your vanity, you can step back and proudly look at the space you’ve cleared.
This method can sometimes help you make the most of your time. For example, if you’ve only got half an hour to devote to the project today, take on a small area, such as a bedside table, and save the closet for a weekend when you’ve got several hours to work.
Tackle One Type of Item at a Time
Alternatively, you might find it helpful to sort through one type of item at a time, such as clothes, shoes, books, or papers. Marie Kondo famously recommends organizing by category and not location. This technique can help you get rid of duplicate or unnecessary items.
How to Clean Your Room After Decluttering
Once the clutter’s gone, you’ve got a perfect opportunity to give your room a deep clean while there’s nothing—or at least much less—to get in the way. Though there’s no step-by-step order set in stone, cleaning certain things before others can produce a better overall result. Here are some simple steps for cleaning your primary bedroom.
- Do laundry: Take your dirty clothes to the laundry room, and get them in the wash while you do the rest of your cleaning. Don’t forget to include your bed sheets and blankets.
- Dust: Start with fan blades and high shelves since dust will travel downward, and you don’t want to clean things twice. Don’t forget the tops of picture frames, door frames, televisions, window blinds, and other small horizontal spaces.
- Wipe down surfaces: If dresser tops, nightstands, or other surfaces need extra care, use a damp cloth with an all-purpose cleaner or antibacterial wipe to clean them.
- Vacuum: Pay special attention to the areas that tend to gather clutter now that you’ve tidied up. If your vacuum has a hose attachment, you can also take this opportunity to vacuum between the couch and chair cushions or along the seams of your mattress.
- Clean glass: You can wipe down windows and mirrors with glass cleaner or a mixture of white vinegar, dish soap, and water.
- Take out the trash: This will include wipes, paper towels, or non-reusable rags you used to clean.
- Put away clean clothes: If your laundry is done, don’t leave it sitting around in your sleeping space to fold or hang up later; go ahead and do it now.
- Remake the bed: Putting fresh sheets on the bed is a great way to cap off a cleaning day.
How to Keep Your Bedroom Clutter-free
Often, it’s less challenging to declutter a bedroom than to keep clutter away for more than a few days. While you’ll need to find a method that works for you, here are some suggestions for preventing clutter from building back up.
Unfortunately, there’s no real secret to keeping a clutter-free bedroom; you must keep on top of the clutter. The exact way you go about this is up to you. You can resolve to put everything away right after you use it, and if this method works for you, great!
Most of us will need to set aside time, perhaps once a week, for tidying up. The good news is that the more regularly you clean up, the less time it will take.
Clean Out Your Closet Regularly
If you frequently buy the latest fashions, it’s a good idea to let go of clothes you no longer wear. Things that end up out of sight in the back of your closet are probably clothes you don’t wear very often, but someone else might.
You can try to sell them at brick-and-mortar or online consignment shops or donate them to local charities. Many charitable organizations are always on the lookout for business wear in particular.
Look into Storage Solutions
Sometimes, clutter happens when you don’t have a suitable place to put things. Luckily, there are myriad innovative ways to use even small storage spaces.
Take advantage of under-bed storage with long, flat boxes or bins. Use drawer dividers to keep even small items sorted. Make use of your wall space by installing shelves. You can often find pieces of furniture, such as benches or tables, with built-in storage.
While plenty of stores offer storage solutions to fit your bedroom decor, maximizing space doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. For example, you can put headphones and charging cords in toilet paper tubes and store them on end in a shoebox. If you’re wondering how to store it, chances are someone’s made a blog post or TikTok showing you how they solved the same problem.
Hire a Professional Organizer
If your clutter problem outlasts your DIY motivation, you can always call in a professional for help. A professional organizer is part interior designer and part life coach and can act as a nonjudgmental facilitator for helping you reach your cleaning goals. They will enable you to figure out where to store things and also teach methods that make it easier to keep your room and home clutter-free.
The best way to declutter your room is to start now instead of putting it off. Remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Some people prefer to take a weekend and tackle the whole problem, but others may find it less overwhelming to do a little at a time. Whichever method you choose, don’t let yourself get discouraged. Set small goals, and reward yourself for achieving them.
How to Declutter Your Room FAQ
How do I organize my room with too much stuff?
Here are some tips for organizing an overcrowded room:Sort the contents of the room into things to keep, things to store, things to donate, and things to give away.Be honest with yourself about how much you need to keep. Ask yourself when you last used each item.Use boxes or stackable plastic bins for storage.Start with large items, such as furniture and heavy coats, and make your way down to small items, such as paperwork and jewelry.Set smaller goals and work toward these milestones, such as tackling one area of the room or accumulating one trunk load of donatable items.Once you’re finished, keep up with your cleaning and decluttering regularly.
Should I clean or declutter first?
Always declutter before you clean. You need to clear floors and countertops of clutter first, or you’ll find yourself wasting time and energy moving things around to clean under them.
How can I motivate myself to declutter?
While motivation will look a little different to everyone, here are some ways to help you get started:Ask yourself why you want to declutter. How will your life be less stressful with less mess?Start with one small area or set of items and see it through to completion.Set a time limit for each decluttering session.Put on music or a low-stakes television show in the background.Reward yourself when you’re done with relaxation or a small treat.Set your next decluttering goal, and find a space for it in your schedule.Ask for help if you need it.Try to establish a cleaning or decluttering routine.