It’s one hour before your company is due to arrive. If you’re like me, you’re rushing around to get the last minute things ready. You realize that you don’t have time to clean up your bedroom so you close the door. Right? Sure some people close their bedroom doors because they want them to remain private, but when I see a closed bedroom door I think, “Oh, they ran out of time to clean it up.” And I always wonder just how bad it is. Closed doors bring out the snoop in me.
When I have company I always clean up my bedroom because invariably somebody says, “Oh this is such a cute house. Do you mind if I see the rest?” or “I need to put my feet up for a little while. This pregnancy is wreaking havoc on my feet and ankles, but my kids will shoot me if we have to leave early,” or “Your toilet appears to be stopped up. Do you have another bathroom?”
When company comes, it’s best to expect the unexpected. No matter what kind of shape your bedroom is in, you can be ready for company in 30 minutes if you periodically follow the four simple steps described here. I like to do this once a season.
How Much Magic Do You Need In Order to Get Your Bedroom in Shape?
Is your bedroom bulging at the seams with shoes piled up in the closet, clothes on the floor or on chairs because there’s no more room in the closet? Do you have to shove a pile of stuff off your bed before there’s room for you and yours? Is it scary under your bed?
Are you somebody who LIVES in your bedroom? Is it a place where you eat, exercise, watch TV, and work on your computer? The more you do in your bedroom, the more difficult it may be to declutter because each activity has its own “toys.” You may need a 12-Step program if you have more than 5 dirty dishes under your bed.
Or do you just have an ordinary messy bedroom because you’re usually in a hurry dashing in and out, dropping clothes on the floor and bed as you rush off to work, to a party, or to get dinner ready.
Regardless of whether your bedroom is a total disaster or if it just needs tweaking, you’ll follow these same four steps.
Step 1: Start by taking EVERYTHING out of the bedroom that doesn’t belong there. For many of you, that step alone will get you half way to a clean and tidy room.
If you have a lot of things that belong in other places, you might get sidetracked if you take them there now. Solution: Have a box or laundry basket (dump truck?) to put everything in that is out of place. Fill it up and set it aside to empty as soon as you’ve finished the other steps.
Step 2: Open the closets and drawers and scan your room to see if you have too much stuff and need to get rid of some it. Here are some things we usually have too much of- shoes, nick knacks, clothes, jewelry, socks and underwear with holes in them.
Tips to Help You Let Go of Excess Stuff
Create a visual of clothes you don’t wear. Here’s a handy tip to let you know what clothes you are actually wearing and which ones you aren’t. Turn all of the hangers around so that the point of the hook faces you, instead of facing away.
When you wear something, hang the hanger up as usual with the hook facing away from you. At the end of the season, consider letting go of anything you haven’t worn – which will be obvious by the clothes on hangers with the hooks facing you. This is a cool visual reminder. You may be surprised how many things you haven’t worn.
Team up with a friend. If you have difficulty getting rid of things, have a friend join you. Just their presence may help you see that the worn down heels on your shoes are not appealing, and you’ll put them in the give-away or trash pile. When you hold up an old piece of clothing that you never wear, it will LOOK unattractive when your friend is sitting there with you. I’ve done this with my friend, Brenda. A couple of times she said, “dated” or “not your color” and that was all it took to school me in the art of letting go. Now she just sits and folds as I rifle through my clothes and shoes. It’s fun and it’s quick.
If you get bogged down now and then, ask yourself if you would wear it on a date, to a special event, or out to dinner. If the answer is no, hand it to your friend to put in the give-away pile.
Set a percentage goal. If your closets are packed and it’s unpleasant to hang things up, set a percentage goal of how much you’d like to clean out. Twenty-five to fifty percent is not unreasonable if you haven’t purged in a while. With a little breathing space in your closet, you’ll be more inclined to hang things up and to wear things that you didn’t remember you had because they were smashed and hidden between things you never wear. This step may reduce the amount of ironing you need to do too. Use this strategy with your drawers as well.
Get Real. Realistically assess the shape your stuff is in. Getting rid of excess shoes can be a challenge for some of us. They become like old, comfortable friends. Try seeing your shoes through someone else’s eyes. Are the heels worn? Are they scuffed and dirty? Are they covered with dust, cobwebs and dead flies? Would these shoes make your outfit look great and be a nice accessory, or would you be better off going barefoot? Do the shoes hurt your feet? Chuck them! Maybe they won’t hurt somebody else’s feet. Do you have so many shoes that you NEVER wear some of them? Get rid of them and give the shoes you love some breathing space.
Step 3: Clean off all horizontal surfaces (floor, bed, chairs, bedside table)
- Hang up any clothes on the floor. If your closet has open, inviting places, you’ll be more likely to hang up your clothes rather than drop them on the floor. Right? Hanging things up only takes a few seconds and it dramatically simplifies last minute cleanup.
- Put dirty clothes in the hamper as soon as you take them off. Do you have a hamper or laundry basket in your closet? That would really help you keep things picked up. I have one laundry basket for colored clothes and one for whites. I toss the clothes in the right basket right away so I never have to sort clothes before washing them. Yes, it’s great. Do this in your kids’ rooms too.
- Look at your bedside table (if you have one), and see if you actually USE everything on it. Bedside tables tend to get stacked with all kinds of things–books and magazines, plates and cups, snacks, nose spray, antacids, reading glasses, earrings, change, etc. Clear away any items that you don’t need to have on that table.
- Avoid piling shoes in a corner or in the closet. Easier said than done because most of us have way too many shoes, including me. There isn’t enough room in my closet for them, so I bought a squat plastic tub that fits nicely under my bed. It holds favorite shoes that I’m wearing that season. Every night I pull the tub out and put away the shoes I wore that day and select shoes I will wear the next day. I love that simple system.
Step 4: Create Systems and Routines That Suit Your Life and Your Lifestyle (and help you stay clutter-free and organized)
Here’s an example of a home organization idea that works for me – my evening routine. I’m a night owl and hate to get up. That’s why it’s been a lifesaver for me to select everything I’m going to wear the night before – everything. I put my underwear, socks and earrings on my dresser, my shoes go by the closet, and the clothes I’m going to wear hang on a fancy hook on the outside of the closet door as if I had a handmaiden laying out my clothes.
I pack my tote bag and lunch the night before too! I can be out the door in minutes if I have to. Sure the weather may throw me a curve, but it usually doesn’t. And I can easily grab a slightly warmer or cooler jacket to wear if need be.
With a Clean and Tidy Bedroom, Let the Magic Begin
It will feel great to be able to see what you have in your closet and give your favorite outfits breathing room. The less you have to take care of (dust, polish, wash, sort, store, step over, root through), the more time and less stress you will have in life. And you’ll have one more room that is ready for company in 30 minutes or less.