Slaying the Clutter Monsters in Your Home’s Bedrooms

Learn how to declutter your bedroom and create a serene, relaxing space meant for sleep.


Is a messy and cluttered bedroom giving you nightmares? If so, it’s time to get organized!  Here are some ideas to help you slay the bedroom clutter monsters and prepare your room for a good night’s sleep.

Master bedroom

Most professional organizers will tell you that if you want an organized bedroom, start by cleaning out the closet. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, you should:

  • Go through your closet, and pull out everything you haven’t worn in the last year. Clothes tend not to improve with age.
  • Decide what you want at your fingertips and what can be hidden away in containers under the bed, on top shelves, or in drawers.
  • Keep the closet bright and inviting, and you should be able to see what you have. If not, consider installing good lighting.
  • Hang like items together—group shirts together, pants together, dresses together, etc.

Once your closet is in order, what bedroom hotspot should you tackle?  Some experts recommend improving function and organization by removing furniture and reading materials.  For example, arm chairs may give your room a cozy look, but if a week’s worth of outfits end up “sitting” on the chair, then it’s time to remove the chair. If stacks of books and magazines contribute to your bedroom clutter, try to limit yourself to one piece of reading material on the nightstand. Put the rest in the bin or on a bookshelf. 

Bedroom Clutter

Experts also recommend removing computers, televisions and other electronics. These items are considered distractions that can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult. If you fall asleep with the TV is playing you may soon find yourself jarred awake by a loud infomercial.  There is a chance you’ll fall right back to sleep, but more often you’ll spend precious sleep time trying to get resettled and back into R.E.M. mode.  It’s also not a good idea to use your cellphone as the alarm clock.  With the sound engaged, you will be exposed to the routine buzzing of text messages, voicemail, and other sleep-disturbing sounds. Even if you ignore these alerts they will disturb your rest.

Kids’ bedrooms

Well-known home organizer, Peter Walsh (author of the book “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff”) has this to say about organizing in children’s bedrooms:

“When it comes to your kids’ rooms, remember that children learn more from what they see than from what they hear. So if your room is full of clutter, don’t be surprised if your kids’ rooms are messy. Model the behavior you want from your children!”

Walsh is also a big proponent of establishing zones for activities and item storage:

“Zones help kids understand the concept of everything having a proper place. It also makes it easier for them to tidy the room and take responsibility for their own space. Create zones for your children’s favorite activities (reading, art projects, etc.). Then, get creative in labeling these areas, and get your child involved. Make sure the shelving and storage units are the right height for your little one.”

Another fun organizing technique in kids’ rooms is to use colorful plastic bins for storing loose items. They not only fit on shelves, under beds, and in closets, they add a splash of bright color to the room décor.

READ ALSO:  How to Get Organized for School at Home

Guest room or spare bedroom

Do you still have that bag of old clothes destined for the local thrift store? How about craft supplies from last year’s holiday wreath project?  Chances are that these items are stashed in a guest room where “out-of-sight out-of-mind” forgotten errands tend to pile up and cause clutter. Taming this monster becomes more challenging with time. It begins when you decide what to keep, what to sell or donate, and what to throw away.  The best way to start is one step at a time. Start in one corner of the room and make your way around the perimeter where pesky items reside.  Then hit the closet. Use these tips to systematically whittle away bits and pieces until you have created a neat, usable spare bedroom:

Pack the items to be sold in boxes or bins. Then temporarily store them in the garage or shed so they are on hand and ready to display at your next yard sale.  Make a date for this sale so that you are getting rid of clutter and not just moving it to a new place.

  • Pack the items to be sold in boxes or bins. Then temporarily store them in the garage or shed so they are on hand and ready to display at your next yard sale.  Make a date for this sale so that you are getting rid of clutter and not just moving it to a new place.
  • Put items to be donated in your car.  Deliver them ASAP.
  • Destined for the trash bin?  Take it there immediately and don’t look back.  If you put it in the trash box, you don’t need it.
  • If you have items that don’t fit in the other rooms, but still to be kept close at hand, the spare bedroom is the perfect place. But you have to make sure to organize it just as efficiently as your other rooms.  If your spare bedroom is rarely used, fill the bottom dresser drawers with extra sheets, blankets, and bedspreads.  It’s a nice idea to leave the top drawer empty for guests, but, if you only have visitors once or twice a year, you are better off utilizing the space to control clutter.
  • Under-the-bed storage containers are very useful for seasonal items, especially for winter sweaters, summer shorts, and shoes.  Look for multi-compartment containers at favorite stores including Target, Wal-Mart, and The Container Store.

If you need a little more assistance with organizing bedrooms, try the The Container Store’s online closet design tool.  The “elfa” Design Center helps you design a closet organization system based on your personalized needs.  It then gives you an option to buy the DIY closet shelves and hooks or request further assistance from professional closet designers.

After all of the hard work turning your bedroom into a clutter-free haven, you will want to keep it that way.  Take 5 minutes twice a day to discard errant items on bedside tables, relegate loose pieces of clothing to the laundry basket, and wipe away dust and crumbs from surface areas.  The result?  Beautiful bedrooms that soothe your mind and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.



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