Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: My Bedroom Is Where Junk Goes to Die

You want a clean bedroom, but starting the task of decluttering feels so overwhelming. Where do you begin, and what should you do with all your stuff?

Q: “How can I start decluttering my bedroom when I have clothes all over my room and things aren’t where they belong? I have trouble starting and finishing the job.” — BeccaP1992

Hi BeccaP1992: 

Sometimes I sound like a broken record in my own columns, but this advice bears repeating.

Do you know where everything in your bedroom lives? Whether you are organizing all day and getting nowhere or feeling like you can never get started, knowing where everything goes in your bedroom is step #1. Simply put, you’re more apt to let things sit wherever they land if you haven’t designated specific homes for all of your belongings. Also, make sure your areas are clearly labeled. When you’re tired after a long day, visual reminders make cleaning up that much easier.

Use my Triple S system for decluttering your bedroom – short, simple, and specific – to set daily goals. Try to organize everything in one day, and you’ll end up overwhelmed and frustrated. Specific daily intentions work better. “Thursday night I’m going to put away the clean laundry.” “Sunday morning I’m going to gather all the dirty clothes from the week.” In other words, break it down into small parts so you feel in control.

One of my favorite tricks to help my overwhelmed clients is the “black tablecloth method.” If you walk into your bedroom and all you see is your clutter, you are most likely going to feel overwhelmed and not know how or where to start. So try draping black tablecloths over the areas of your bedroom you are working on decluttering and organizing. Only expose a small amount at a time so you can stay focused, on track and, more importantly, less overwhelmed. In this instance, out of sight will help you NOT be out of your mind!

[Self Test: Is Your Clutter and Disorganization Out of Control?]

Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, answers questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

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