How to ‘Dejunk’ Your Bedroom

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<i> McCullough, based in Colorado, is the author of five books on home management. </i>

The bedroom is a retreat, a haven. Every day it gives you the first and last impressions of home. It influences your self-image. Organize it. Take a few extra minutes each day to keep it tidy.

Basically, there are three types of rooms. Some rooms, like the living room, are mostly for show. You read, rest and visit there. Other rooms, such as the kitchen, office, laundry room and bathroom, are primarily for work. To make life easier, keep these areas free of extras and try to arrange supplies and equipment efficiently so you can quickly accomplish the task at hand. The third type of room is for storage.

Housekeeping is easier if the purpose for each room is well defined and the activities that take place in that room stay within those perimeters. For example, the kitchen is designed for easy cleanup of food but the living room is not. So don’t eat in the living room.


Now, the question is, what kind of room is your bedroom? Is it for show, storage or work? I recommend that your bedroom be primarily a place of show, that it be decorated and kept tidy. Certainly not to impress other people, but to impress you.

In my opinion the living room and bedroom are impression rooms. The living room is to welcome guests; a nice bedroom builds self-confidence. When you wake up in the morning, what kind of impressions do you have of your house? The bedroom environment determines that. First impressions count. A nice bedroom makes you feel as though you have some control in life.

If your bedroom is a room where looks count, furniture will be kept at a minimum to give the feeling of spaciousness, and all flat surfaces such as dresser tops and bed stands will be free from clutter.

The secondary purpose for the bedroom would be to have clothing available for dressing.

Many people use the bedroom as the stash-it place. They wake up feeling as if they have slept in the utility closet. Sometimes they live in small apartments or homes and are desperate to find space to put things. In such cases, the occupants can give a little extra time to that room to keep it in order. But as soon as possible, move all the extras out of the bedroom. If you need to use part of the bedroom as a study or sewing room, arrange the furniture to divide work and sleep areas.

There are two spheres of being organized: First is to arrange the physical elements in a simple and logical manner. Second is to maintain it. To be totally organized is to do both: organize and maintain.

First of all, “dejunk” the bedroom. Get rid of extra furniture. Move out some of the sentimental accumulation. Either give it to a charity or pack it into labeled boxes and put it in long-term storage areas. Move out clothing that you don’t wear anymore.


Mending should be in the laundry area, not the bedroom. Prime space in the bedroom is for clothing that is clean, repaired, in season and ready to wear. Ideally, out-of-season and out-of-size clothing would be in another closet or at least put in the back of the closet or boxed and put on higher shelves.

Simplify. The more you have, the harder it is to clean. Go through accessories and jewelry. In my opinion you wear 20% of it 80% of the time. Most of the rest of it is just filling drawers. If you really want to feel in control, don’t put anything under the bed. Simplify linens and blankets so the bed is easy to make. And, certainly, take five minutes to make the bed each morning.

Organize. Put shoe boxes in drawers to define space for socks, underwear and lingerie. Set out a basket in which to empty contents from pockets . . . keys, wallet, comb, etc. Group similar things together. Keep the system simple so that it is easy to put things back.

Keep it as easy as possible. If you don’t have a laundry shoot, you’ll need a hamper for dirty clothes so they can be taken care of instantly. An ashtray-style dish may be better for earrings than an earring tree, which requires you to attach every single piece.