8 Ways to Declutter: Bedroom.

 

On Thursdays, I post a guide with ways to declutter a certain area in your life. If you’re not ready to toss everything out, try these ways of reducing clutter, one area at a time. Like me, you may not think you have much, but you’d be surprised to find how much stuff you have that you really don’t need.


Your bedroom/sleeping space is the most important area of your home. It is your sanctuary. In this space, you relax and unwind, sleep while your body grows, and may have some fun with your significant other. What you think about before you go to bed will affect your sleep and how you feel when you wake up will affect your day. To ensure a peaceful mind, it is very important to have a calm, relaxing, clutter-free bedroom. Also, who doesn’t want a room that is easier to clean?

1) If you have a television in your bedroom, remove it immediately. Watching television before bed will lead to a bad night’s sleep and related health problems. Television is too stimulating and you need something calm in your space before going to bed. The same concept applies to browsing the net or watching videos on your computer before bed. Close the laptop. Turn off the television. Read a book, meditate, pray, talk with your spouse, play under the covers with your spouse, or listen to quiet music. Do this for a half hour before sleep. You will be much more relaxed! Your room will also thank you for uncovering a little extra floor space – this can make a huge difference!

2) Put your clothes away as soon as you take them off. Unless you’re doing a sultry striptease and putting your clothes away would disrupt the flow of the performance, just put your clothes away! Drawers, closets, hangers, laundry bins – you’ve got them, so use them! I’ve done this since I was a little girl – I never had clothes on the floor of my room and I don’t understand how other people can leave their clothes everywhere. I attribute this to being a neat freak, but neat-freak or not, it will be so much easier to move about and organize your clothes if they’re not on the floor!

3) Clear off surfaces. I find that clear surfaces immediately creates a sense of peace. File away/recycle/shred papers. Decide which physical items are important and what can be tossed/donated/put away. Important items can be put back in a designated spot – but try to keep it basic! Also limit the number of items you have out: one book, one pair of slippers, one picture frame, etc.

4) Store personal items in quality containers. You’re probably not throwing away everything you own. Solution: hold onto those trinkets and photographs but keep them out of sight. If they’re valuable enough to keep but hide, organize items neatly in cute boxes or similar kind of container. Put them on a closet shelf, or stack them artistically somewhere in the room.

5) Find a place for everything! I cannot stress this enough It is so much easier to manage your space and items if you have a designated spot for everything. If you don’t have a spot, then you probably don’t need it or something else has to go to make room for it. If you have something that doesn’t even belong in the bedroom (plates, cups, towels), remove it!

6) Spice up the walls. Unless it’s your style, plain white walls can be unappealing and make the room feel incomplete. Paint the walls (or just one, or two) your favorite color, hang up a few (just a few!) tasteful photos or pieces of art, or add some curtains to the windows. Doing something with your wall space can help bring the room together and make it feel cozy without adding too much clutter. I love re-visiting my bedroom at my parents’ house because it was painted a calming shade of green – my favorite color.

7) Rearrange the furniture. This is not essential to having a clutter-free room, but it can help you become mindful of the objects you have and how difficult it may be to handle everything if you have too much stuff. Keep in mind the function of pieces of furniture in your room. Do you use them? What do you use them for? Do you need it? Can you do without it? Minimally, you just need a place to sleep and a place to store clothing. You don’t have to be that extreme, but perhaps you don’t need that second dresser or chair in the corner of the room that you use to throw clothes over rather than just relax in. If you’re curious, all I have in my sleeping space right now is a mattress on the floor (OK, honestly? Two mattresses, one for each of us  – long story.), a two-drawer nightstand (one drawer for me, one for him), and a floor lamp. Everything else fits in our tiny closet. On top of the nightstand is a clock and a lovely wooden box that holds a few small items.

8) Streamline your closet. I saved this for last because it is perhaps the most daunting task: so many bags, boxes, and clothes! I could probably write a separate post for this but here are some quick guidelines:

  • Create three piles: keep, donate, toss.
  • Find your favorite signature items. Keep those.
  • Try to create a flexible wardrobe based around those items with things you wear often.
  • If you haven’t worn it in the past six months, get rid of  it.
  • If it doesn’t fit you anymore, get rid of it. Don’t wait until you ‘will fit in it again.’
  • Not sure how you feel about a piece of clothing? Pack it up, put it out of sight, and go back to it in three months. If you don’t miss it, get rid of it.

Check out Project 333 for more inspiration!

Remember, if you plan to tackle this project, do one area at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself!

For more inspiration, check out How to Create Your Bedroom Oasis.

6 Ways to Declutter: Living Space.

Every Thursday, I will post a guide with ways to declutter a certain area in your home or life. If you’re not ready to toss everything out, try these ways of reducing clutter, one area at a time. Like me, you may not think you have much, but you’d be surprised to find how much stuff you have that you really don’t need.


Most of you just sat through the blizzard and spent the past couple days shoveling snow, so cleaning is probably the last thing on your mind. That’s fine. Sit back. Relax. But if you’re like me and you have another snow day today, then this is a great chance to get some decluttering done!

Your living space is an important area in your house for relaxing and entertaining guests. However, it is also the space in your home that usually ends up with the most clutter (aside from your closet). Consider your living space and what purposes it serves. Is one area used for entertainment and another as an office? A child’s play area? Reading area? Do you have people over often or are you the only one who uses the space? Tackle each area one at a time – don’t overwhelm yourself by doing everything at once! Also, check out the other posts in my decluttering series (and the links) before tackling the living space. I suggest reading 10 Ways to Declutter: Papers & Office again because the majority of clutter in a living space comes from magazines, mail, and assorted office paperwork. Keep in mind that everyone’s living space is different. You and I have different purposes, things, and values. What works for me may not work for you, and that’s OK. Now, ready to declutter your living space?

Get two bags or boxes – one will be for donation, and one will be to toss.

1) Clear all flat surfaces, including the floor. Shoes on the floor? Put them in the closet or neatly by the door. Toys piled neatly in the corner? You’ll have to find somewhere else to put them. Take things off surfaces and decide if you want to keep them (put them back somewhere – but not before reading the rest of this post), donate them, or toss them. If it’s one of the latter two, put items in corresponding bags/boxes.

2) Clear off your walls. You may love displaying the three dozen photos from your Costa Rica trip on your wall or your immense collage of family and friends, but you need to think about taking them down and filing them away or putting them in a scrapbook. And don’t scatter twenty photos of puppies on each wall. Too much visual clutter is still clutter. Your brain is overwhelmed as it tries to process everything, leaving your mind in a state of chaos rather than peacefulness.

3) Use simple decorations. Of course, a space that has completely bare walls can be a little boring (unless that’s your thing), so don’t be afraid to spice it up with some character. Adding an wonderful art piece to a wall or displaying your prized antique vase on a flat surface is very tasteful. Love those puppies? Keep one or two of the best photos on the wall. A good family photo or two are excellent items to put on display. Replace pictures every few months to keep it fresh (ex: putting up your family holiday photos during the winter and replacing them with sunny photos in the spring). Just remember to keep it simple! The less you have, the more you appreciate them.

4) Reduce the amount of storage space. The best way to limit the items you have is to limit the space you have to put them! Once you have your surfaces cleared off, you will be left with shelves and storage bins – if you even have room for them! I suggest the use of boxes like these – but only to keep what you really need and cherish, not just to hide things away. The boxes offer a great solution for organization and keeping your room looking polished and clear. Be clever about where you place them, too – maybe a couple under the coffee table, or strategically placed on a bookshelf to look like accent pieces (with surprise storage inside).

5) Keep furniture to a minimum. Essentially, keep furniture that you use and donate the rest – you will enjoy the extra space in your room! If you keep furniture you use, you will find you may only need just one couch, a chair, a coffee table, desk, and entertainment center. Or maybe you can forgo the couches and just have two nice chairs. Maybe you don’t need a desk (I don’t have one). You may or may not need a bookshelf or side table. This is something I’ve focused on recently as we eliminated our two couches earlier this week. He likes to watch television and play games while sitting on the floor. I rarely plop myself in front of the TV. We also don’t have friends over very often and we’ve been fine using the floor for games and sleepovers. Therefore, we had no need to bring the couches to our new place and a friend came to take them earlier this week. I am loving the extra space in our already large living room! We do plan to buy two chairs in the near future to replace the couches. While getting rid of the couches might be a bit dramatic for you – many people use the couches – do take a look around and assess what you have and use.

6) Find a shelf, drawer, or container for things to go. This ties along with the need to find a place for everything. If you can’t find a place for something to go, it doesn’t belong. Always remember to put things back where they belong after use, immediately.

Done? Now sit back and relax. You deserve it.


Other articles that will help you with room decluttering:
How to Declutter an Entire Room in One Go
A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home is a fantastic resource.

7 Ways to Declutter: Your Kitchen (and Diet).

Every Thursday, I will post a guide with ways to declutter a certain area in your home or life. If you’re not ready to toss everything out, try these ways of reducing clutter, one area at a time. Like me, you may not think you have much, but you’d be surprised to find how much stuff you have that you really don’t need.


Tired of dishes piling up in the sink? Do you usually take a few minutes before you find the wok you need in the cupboard? Found expired food in the back of your pantry? Need to manage food better? Want to make your kitchen space more efficient and attractive? Great! Let’s get started.

1) Wash your dishes right away.

  • When you wash them right away, they are clean sooner and available for use again immediately.
  • The longer you leave dishes, the more food particles stick, and the harder it is to scrub off.
  • No one likes unfinished chores. Do them right away and you don’t have to worry about it later.
  • You will impress other people with your cleaning habits!

Furthermore…

2) Avoid the dishwasher. When I lived on my own for a year and a half after college, I didn’t have a dishwasher. I washed pots and dishes by hand and left them in a rack to dry. There were times I didn’t wash them right away and they would accumulate, which left me frustrated because I didn’t have a dishwasher like everyone else. I thought it was a waste of my time to wash dishes. Then I moved to this apartment, used the dishwasher twice, and realized how much I disliked it. I would ‘hide’ dirty dishes in the dishwasher until it was full and I had no clean dishes left to use! The wash and dry cycle takes a couple hours and when the dishes were done, they still seemed dirty! Ever since, I have washed the pots and dishes by hand. It takes no more than ten minutes to wash a meal’s worth of dishes, they’re clean right away, and I don’t need to use as many! I encourage you to wash your dishes by hand for a week. See how it affects your eating and cooking habits.

3) Use things that serve multiple purposes. Obviously, if you’re a chef or an avid baker, you’re going to use more items in the kitchen than someone who just wants to cook quick, simple meals on regular basis – but you can still cook amazing meals with a few tools. I prepare a majority of my food using only a cutting board, mixing bowl, skillet, two pots, and a few hand tools. A third, larger pot for boiling pasta is around in case I am cooking dinner for the both of us – which isn’t that often. I love my skillet and can use it to cook a day’s worth of meals (although lunch is usually a vegetable wrap and fruit). Since I wash the dishes by hand after each meal, I don’t need more than a few basic pieces of cookware. Consider the items in your kitchen and whether or not you can use the items for more than one purpose. If the item serves only one purpose and it isn’t that often, toss it. If you have a vegetable peeler that only peels vegetables but you eat them daily, keep it. You can judge for yourself. Apply the same mindset to your plates, bowls, and cups, too. I used to have seven mugs and got rid of five of the because I never used them!

4) Keep surfaces clear! You probably have a few small appliances that litter your kitchen counters and you use most of them once a month (if at all) while the coffee-maker gets a daily use. Keep the coffee-maker, and get rid of everything else. Got a ‘just-in-case’ slow cooker that you’ve never used? Get rid of it – if you haven’t used it yet, you won’t need it in the future. All I have left is a toaster oven that will be donated when we move because I never use it anymore. (We have a microwave but it is part of the kitchen unit.) Keep only the essentials. Also, no random knickknacks. You don’t need an assortment of cute cow figurines. You shouldn’t have any papers strewn about the kitchen too, if you followed some tips in last week’s post.

5) Only eat food that you prepare. Not only is this a good way to keep your kitchen simple, but it is very beneficial for your health. This point probably requires its’ own blog post, but I’m just going to throw a few things at you right now:

  • eat only food that will go bad (fruits, veggies, dairy, meats, bread)
  • avoid frozen foods
  • don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients in the label – especially if you can’t pronounce it
  • don’t consume processed foods
  • shop within the perimeter of the grocery store
  • prepare simple meals (five ingredients or so – StoneSoup is a great place to start!)
  • keep some staples that can be prepared in a variety of ways (rice, pasta).

It is hard to remember all of these at once (and of course, there are more tips and methods in existence!), so pick one – say, no frozen foods, and go with it. Then add the others. Do your research. Oh, and ultimately, I always have pasta in the pantry, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, and assorted spices if I’ve run out of things to eat. I wouldn’t recommend eating that every day, but as long as you have those, you won’t be hungry. (Many posts about healthy eating habits are floating around right now. Ironically, I couldn’t find any to link to but will edit this post as needed when I find them again.)

6) Buy only what you need for the week – plan your meals. Keeping this in mind will also help you save money. You might be tempted to buy things in bulk from Costco but I would advise you against that. Bulk items tend to sit unnoticed on a pantry floor for months and it can be overwhelming to have 40 large cans of beans! Planning your meals for the week means you will think more about what you really want to eat, what tools you have to prepare the meals, and what you need (or don’t need) to create them. If you create a list of items for your meal and buy only those items when you shop, your wallet and shelves will thank you. If you buy less food, you eliminate the experience of opening your cupboard, staring at everything you have, and declaring, “I have nothing to eat.” If you buy less, you know what you have and it’s easier to select a meal to prepare. Additionally, you run a lower risk of keeping around too much food until it expires and you have to toss it out. If there’s anything I hate, it’s throwing out extra food.

7) Have a place for everything. Usually items are placed on a counter top because there is no where else for them to go – they just don’t belong. If they don’t belong, why do you have them!? If they do belong, then there will be a place for them – be it a drawer or cabinet or specialized spot on the counter for your only small appliance. Use drawers and cabinets to put items out of view – they’re there for a reason! But remember that you are simplifying – not just putting all your unused food and dishes out of sight. You need to be able to find cooking and eating items quickly to ensure a smooth meal preparation and simpler kitchen. Then remember to put them back exactly where they go.

What tips make sense and work for you? What doesn’t? Am I missing anything? Any feedback is greatly appreciated! I have to admit that my kitchen has always been pretty minimal, so I did not have a need for extensive decluttering. Because of this, I have probably overlooked a few issues that family-sized kitchens may have.


Other posts with more tips and strategies that will interest you:
Washing Dishes the Most Eco-Friendly Way
Why I Stopped Using a Dishwasher
Outfitting a Minimalist Kitchen
The Minimalist Kitchen: What You Need (and Don’t Need) to Set Up Your First Workable Home Kitchen
A Minimalist’s Kitchen and Cooking Utensils
Minimalist Kitchen
Living With An Uncluttered Kitchen
Also, check out Minimalist Packrat’s Kitchen Decluttering Series!