Have you ever lost something amongst the clutter of your room, even though you were sure you knew exactly where it was? Someone else must’ve moved it, right?
Or maybe you are secretly embarrassed by the disorganised mess that sits in front of you, and you just keep putting off that dreaded clean up.
A decluttered and well-organised room is a symbol of how you live your life. Messy living often translates into a messy lifestyle, one that’s full of stress and haphazardly juggling different activities and friends.
Instead of enrolling yourself in the next season of Hoarders, let’s take a look at 15 simple steps you can take to declutter your room. Before you know it your room will be more organised, your life will feel more focused, and none of your favourite clothes will randomly go missing anymore!
1. Do it in sprints
It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you try to do everything at once. Instead, try doing it in “sprints” or “chunks” to make it more manageable.
To ease yourself into it, make a schedule of dates with smaller goals set on certain dates. For example, you could set a deadline of decluttering your desk by week one, moving on to your bookshelf by week two, and so on.
If you’re feeling more ambitious as you go along, try adding two tasks in one week.
Don’t be afraid to take some time off if it begins to get tedious. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Decluttering is a new way of life, not something to just do and get over with. Enjoy it!
2. Create a daily habit
Start with something easy, a confidence builder. For example, you can start by giving away one item every day to a friend or a sibling (or to a charity).
Try it for a week until you have given away seven items. Then you will realise that you don’t absolutely need everything that has made it into your room over the years.
Another easy daily habit you can try is by making your bed everyday. It takes no more than 5 minutes each morning and gives and instant upgrade to your room. Make mom proud!
3. Fill up one trash bag
Have you ever filled a trash bag all the way to its limits? If you have, I’m sure you know that trash bags can fit a ton. As a challenge, try to fill up one trash bag with things that you no longer want or need.
Take that bag to goodwill and pat yourself on the back for contributing to an admirable cause.
4. Use the reverse hanger trick
Thank Oprah for this tip; she’s the one that made it famous!
See that closet full of clothes on hangers? Do you even know what’s in there anymore?
Well next time you wear something from the closet, face the hanger in a reverse direction. At the end of each season, or every 3 months or so if you don’t have seasons, see which hangers have not been reversed. Chances are if you haven’t worn it in three months, you will not wear it again.
Styles change, your tastes change. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you still want it. And life’s too short to have closets full of clothing we don’t like! Take another trash bag and say hello to goodwill, or you can sell your preloved clothes on Carousell.
5. Make a list
To make a list, break your room into different segments; such as the closet, the desk, the plant collection, the scarf rack, the jewellery collection, the makeup drawer, etc.
Write down every item in each section and take that list with you everywhere you go. Whenever you have down time, look at that list and decide which items you want to keep and which you will get rid of. That way, even when you are not in your room, you can work on decluttering.
Also, make note of items that you have multiples of and get rid of any extras you don’t need. No one needs 32 blue ballpoint pens with missing caps. No one!
6. Categorise your items
Once you have a list of all of your items, now is time to get into action.
Get 4 boxes and label them “Give Away”, “Keep”, “Sell”, and “Trash”… then start putting things in them.
A great place to sell your preloved items for extra money online is Carousell. Our app is really easy to use and we’ve got a community of buyers looking for a good deal on your items.
Once you have all the items categorised in your boxes, simply take each item to its new home, whether it is goodwill, Carousell, back into your closet, or into the trash.
7. Make use of organisers
Shelf organisers can help you make better use of space. It will also make things easier to find because every type of item has its own designated area.
One easy way to do this is to buy portable drawers and use them to store smaller items such as makeup, jewellery, or paper. By having a section for everything, you will not have to think twice about where to put things.
8. Buy multi-purpose furniture
Let’s face it, real estate is expensive and every inch counts when it comes to keeping a room feeling spacious and decluttered. Multi-purpose furniture will save you space and money.
For example, don’t waste that awesome flat surface on top of your bookshelf. Use it to store purses that you want to display. A desk can double up as a vanity table. Just add a mirror and some glam lights.
Maybe you can even consider getting an elevated bunk bed, creating your own loft space and making room below for a clothing rack or your desk.
9. Hook everything up
It doesn’t end with drawers. Hooks are another way to make use of wall space. A series of hooks behind the door is a great place for hanging jackets and coats that you’re wearing for the week. You can just grab them and go on your way out.
Instead of a standing mirror, buy a mirror that can be hung up on a door or on the wall. That way, you can free up more floor space for other things or just for walking and standing around in general.
Nail some simple shelves on the wall next to your bed and showcase your favourite framed photos and artwork. Is there an unused corner in your closet? Try hanging a foldable shoe rack so you can stack it up.
10. Store things under your bed
There are organisers specifically designed for this and you can easily find them at any furniture store. But you can also just make use of your suitcases. Instead of keeping them empty and in the closet, use them to store your off-season clothing and stick them under your bed. When you need to use your suitcases for travel, simply take the clothes out and put them on your bed until you return.
You can store all sorts of things under your bed, from boxes of photos to cartons of old papers from elementary school. Be sure to keep them in plastic containers (not cardboard!) so they don’t gather dust or bugs.
11. Use the 5-shoe rule
Only ever have 5 pairs of shoes. I know, this is hard. It sounds impossible. But wait, you can do it.
Start by picking out the one pair of shoes you wear the most to school or work. Keep that pair. Next, see which pair of shoes you wear most on the weekends and make that number two.
Number three. After that, pick a fun colour that can be used to spice up your neutral outfits.
Number four. Pair of sexy heels that you don’t wear every day, but when the occasion calls for it you bust them out.
Number five. Finally, the pair of shoes that you will pass down to your child and grandchild, the pair that has been with you through thick and thin, overseas and in the rain. Okay, it doesn’t have to be that serious. But seriously, pick five that you like and stick with it. The rest? Goodwill or Carousell.
12. Have a system for storing new items and clothing
Now that you have added in all the cool storage containers, organisers, hooks and shelves into your room, you can make a system for storing new things.
For example, to make sure that you don’t make the mistake of forgetting to wear new clothing (hence the tags from five years ago!), make it a point to put new purchases in the most visible section of your closet.
Whatever your system is, stick to it so your room does not return to its previous messy state.
13. Reduce flat surface area
Do you like plants? Well they are a great way to freshen up any space. They are great for corners where you’ll be tempted to pile your dirty laundry.
Take a day to shop for some pretty vases for your plants, and place them in every corner of your room. The less flat surface area you have, the less tempted you will be to throw things on the floor and trick yourself into believing that you will pick it up. No, it will just stay there for days and months and you will have to go back to Step 1.
Also, any flat surface on a bench or nightstand is asking to be cluttered with your every day throw about items. So keep these areas to a minimum and enjoy your clutter-free new room!
14. Schedule in a weekend
Once you get the ball rolling with short tasks that you have accomplished in this decluttering process, now is the time to go pro and schedule in a full weekend dedicated to completing room declutter.
Make it fun. Invite some friends to help you and have a decluttering party. Have an after party even, with you and your mom. You deserve to have a room as clean and decluttered as an art museum.
Curate it and make every space yours. Make everything you have count. After this weekend, start Monday off as a new person.
15. Use storage for seasonality
Not everything has to be displayed at once. Keep seasonal items in rotation. That will keep your room decluttered as well as give you a makeover with each season.
Put away winter clothes in the summer and vice versa. Put away schoolbooks during summer vacation and bring out the beach gear. Use the space underneath your bed or a top shelf in your closet to store your things.
Just keep decluttering!
Wow, that sure seemed like a lot, right? Don’t worry; once you get started your room will be clutter-free in no time.
To summarise, start slow and start small. After you donate, sell, or give away any unwanted items, tidy up your room one space at a time.
Then develop a system for maintaining your new decluttered room by using organisers and maximising storage space. As needed, hold a room decluttering party!