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Your bedroom is supposed to be a serene haven, a place where you breathe a sigh of relief as you walk in.
Unfortunately, they tend to easily become a dumping ground for everything we carry around, looking for where it should go. A pocket of receipts gets tossed on the nightstand; Clean laundry fills the chair, waiting to be folded; books are stacked in corners and discarded clothing is draped at the foot of the bed. The closet is a mess from hastily hung up clothes that haven’t been gone through in a long time, and dresser drawers are jammed with clothing.
Decluttering your bedroom is doing something for yourself.
You are the one who’ll enjoy a peaceful, tidy and relaxing bedroom. And that may be part of why it’s the way it is.
You work hard at cleaning and organizing the rest of the house but don’t make yourself, or your bedroom, the priority.
Let’s change that. As a matter of fact, make your bedroom your first declutter project if you can. Create the environment you want for yourself, your relationship with your partner, and as a touchstone as you move through more difficult declutter areas.
Begin small and create zones.
Just as you did (or will do) in the kitchen, create zones in your bedroom. Complete each zone before moving into the next.
I suggest you create the following zones:
- Closet – clothing
- Dresser drawers
- Closet – shoes
- Closet – purses
I’m not going to address the laundry on the chair or the stuff on your nightstand. It will take you less than 10 minutes each to do and you should address that before starting on the real work of decluttering your bedroom.
If you have other areas of your bedroom that you need to work on, ask yourself if those items really belong in your bedroom.
A stack of family board games in your closet?
Your family and financial files in a filing cabinet in your room?
All the DVDs and books live in a bookcase in the corner?
While I can relate to having a small house and limited areas to store things, it would be best for your decluttering efforts if you move all non-bedroom items out of the room and try to find them another place to live. When they’ve had their own declutter treatment, it might be that the best place to keep them is your bedroom, but that decision needs to come once these things are edited.
Keep the items on your bedroom surfaces to a minimum. Remember that if something belongs in another area of the house, it’s just clutter in your bedroom. Don’t make a keep or toss decision. Just move it to its proper area.
Space is restful and there’s no place you need more rest than in the bedroom. Surfaces catch our eye if they’re cluttered with clothing, books, candles, pocket debris, beverage cans, remote controls, and so many things that you can’t even dust around them.
Remember the last time you were sick in bed. The nightstand was cluttered with half-finished glasses of water, medicine, wadded up tissue, and random magazines. The minute you felt better, you couldn’t wait to get it all out of the room. Space is healing.
Think of function first, then beauty.
A lamp and alarm clock are basics. Maybe a carafe of water if you need it during the night. The book you read yourself to sleep with. You don’t really need much more. TV controls, your night mouthguard and other items can live in a drawer or in a box on your nightstand shelf.
The top of the dresser is a natural catch all. If you have a TV in the bedroom, the dresser might be the perfect place for it, but there’s no space for anything else.
If not, then let yourself have a pretty grouping of flowers or your favorite things and keep the rest of the surface clean and shining.
Clothing is personal. We are always trying to look our best and clothing influences how we feel and how we present ourselves to the world. That makes it difficult to be objective sometimes.
This is where Mari Kondo’s advice to spark joy comes into play. Rather than looking at your clothes with the idea of what to get rid of, think of what you most want to keep. If you love something and it makes you feel great when you wear it, keep it. Don’t keep the items that are boring, do nothing for you, or are worn and tired.
If you have a bit more time, do your closet first.
Take all the clothes out of your closet and lay them on your bed, removing the hangers first.
Go through each item and decide if it is something that you love and use.
Don’t fall into the trap of keeping beautiful things that don’t fit you for “someday” when you’ll lose weight. These someday items just make you feel bad about yourself. Promise yourself that you’ll treat yourself to a new wardrobe when you do lose weight and say goodbye to clothes that aren’t right for you right now.
When you’re done, put all the discarded clothing in a bag or box to take to your favorite charitable organization or shelter.
If your closet needs dusting and tidying, do a quick job of that before carefully rehanging the clothing you’ve chosen to keep. Have all the hangers go in the same direction and, if you’re a little detail-obsessed like me, line up the clothing by type and color.
Now step back and admire the job you just did!
Only a little time to spare? Work with one dresser drawer at a time.
Even your sock drawer can shine in a few minutes. Pull everything out and go through it the same way you went through your hanging clothes. Toss old, worn or mismatched socks and make a note to replace what you need. Mari Kondo has a neat way of folding socks. Take a look here. (https://youtu.be/CW_9iwzhAjk)
Mari Kondo recommends grouping like-items in boxes in dresser drawers. This is a great way to keep your things from getting jumbled together. Nestle your bras one into the other and fold and place your undies in a box to one side. Pretty and neat!
You can find small boxes everywhere once you know to look. I’m obsessed with beautiful Italian soaps (I buy them at discount stores like Home Goods and Tuesday Morning). They come in small groups in pretty boxes that are the perfect size for small items to be stored in drawers. You can even group a few and use them as jewelry or hair accessory storage on top of your dresser if you don’t have enough things to warrant their own storage. Kids’ shoeboxes, gift boxes, and plastic containers you no longer need are the perfect size for many things. Once you look around, you’ll want to repurpose many of the things you throw away to get your belongings even more organized. In a pinch, check out the selection at a craft store.
Folding your clothing the Mari Kondo way will keep your drawers gorgeous and your clothes neatly organized. Take a look at this video for how to fold your clothing. I’ve never gone back to any other way since I started doing this!
Decluttering shoes is a quick job that should take you less than 15 minutes. As with clothing, keep a notepad with you so that you can list things you might want to buy. It makes sense that if you toss your old, worn slippers, you will probably want to replace them.
Keep using the Kondo method to go through your shoes. Do they spark joy? Are you using them regularly?
I recently got rid of all my heels.
It was time. I never wore them, though I was drawn to the way they made me feel when I wore them. But each time I did, I wanted to throw them through a window because they were painful and left my weak ankles painfully tingling for days. When I accepted that I would wear only the prettiest and most comfortable shoes I could find, I looked at my shoe collection much more objectively.
Do you love heels?
Great! But which do you always feel fantastic in? What gets you the most compliments? What pair do you know will always be the perfect fit with everything in your wardrobe?
How about those multi-colored sparkly shoes that go with exactly zero in your closet and give you blisters the moment you put them on? They were an impulse buy that came from just loving to look at them.
So display them!
Put them on your dresser with a couple of objects that will set them off and enjoy their beauty. But don’t keep something that you don’t love and can’t wear (or display).
Purses and bags
Some people keep their purses hanging in their closets, others like to put them on shelves with their shoes, and others keep them in deep drawers and out of sight.
Mari Kondo’s approach to bags is to place smaller ones inside larger ones to keep them stored in the least amount of space possible. This is what I’ve chosen to do.
Purses can also be a tough thing to declutter. They’re largely bought on impulse or because fashion declares you must have the color of the season and the best way is to buy a purse in that color.
Pretty soon, you have purple, red and green purses that match nothing in your wardrobe. Or, if you wear mostly neutral colors, they go with everything but you find that they draw too much attention. After all, you want people to see the whole you, not spotlight the purse you’re carrying.
If you can resist the fickleness of fashion, you can do very well with 2 to 3 versatile bags of different sizes and similar colors. I wear a lot of black and gray (I prefer my color in accessories like scarves & jewelry), so my purses are black for the most part. I get frustrated by clutches so I don’t own one, though it’s a good choice for going out in the evening. Instead, I have two medium but different style purses, and a larger one that lets me pack files I may need.
A laptop case is necessary for most people and they come in all kinds of styles. The problem is that we usually shop for them without our laptops in hand. I’ve bought several and then decided I didn’t like them when I actually needed to fill them with my laptop, cords and files for travel. I could have returned them but by then I’d usually either forgotten where I bought it, or no longer had the receipt. Get rid of the cases you know you won’t use. If you don’t have one you like, take your laptop with you to the office supply store or wherever cases are sold, and actually try it out. Is there room for extra electronics? For files and books you may want to add?
And that gorgeous electric blue designer bag you bought because you loved it, and still do?
Either keep it and commit to taking it off its shef to wear, display it (like the sparkly shoes) or be brave and give it away so that some lucky woman will wear it proudly.
Would you like some quick wins? Download my free 50 Quick Decluttering Projects You Can Do In A Half Hour Or Less and see results beginning today!
Check out all the posts in the Decluttering series: