You’re standing in the doorway of your bedroom...
Pay attention to both your thoughts and feelings? Do you like what you see? Is it a peaceful place? Or, do you find yourself thinking, “What a mess! Who could get a good night’s sleep in this dump?” Are you feeling pleased, proud and happy about the state of the space, or is your gut clenching and jaw tightening as you face the prospect of tackling the clutter in the space?
Clearing any room is rarely a linear process, but I am going to provide you with steps to take so you have a reference point to come back to if you get off track. Use the following list as a guide, not as an edict.
1. Take a deep breath. Actually, take several deep breaths and remind yourself of your intentions. You want to create a comfortable environment for sleep, changing your clothes and, if you’re part of a couple, intimacy/sex.
2. Take several “before” pictures of the room. You’ll want to be able to brag about your progress to those in your life who can appreciate your hard work and commitment to clearing clutter to create a comfortable, peaceful home where you can thrive. Before and after pictures are a great way to document progress and remind you to celebrate your efforts. Be sure to share them with the Clutter Clearing Community as well!
At first, limit your work to those things that are out and visible. You will tackle dresser drawers and closets after you clear those areas that are out in the open.
3. Take a look at all the furniture in the room. Does the room feel comfortable with the furniture it currently contains? If the room feels too crowded, identify and remove pieces of furniture until it feels more comfortable. If the room has too much clutter to determine whether or not there is too much furniture, postpone this step until later in the clutter clearing process. Removing excess furniture will make it easier to make decisions during the clutter clearing process.
4. Is there any piece of furniture you hate or that has a negative association? If so, remove it from the room.
5. Remind yourself of the functions of a bedroom: sleep, changing your clothes, and possibly intimacy/sex. Begin identifying things in the room that don’t fit its function. Examples include: papers, project materials, computers, exercise machines, sewing machines, ironing boards, tools, bills, professional journals.
6. If you have many papers in the bedroom, gather them all up and put them in a bag or box to be sorted later. Place the bag or box just outside of the bedroom door. Resist the urge to read papers or sort little items on top of the dressers. Doing that will only distract you from making significant progress on bigger items that are easier to deal with.
7. Move other items that don’t fit the function to the door of the room, either just inside or just outside of the room. DON’T LEAVE THE ROOM TO PUT THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE.
8. As you are moving items to the door, sort them into the following piles: trash, donate, move to another part of the house.
9. When you’ve accumulated enough items at the door that it is difficult to get through the door or you are at risk of tripping over them, shift your focus from identifying items to move out of the room to bagging or boxing and removing the items from the room.
10. Take the trash to the trash bins.
11. Put bags and boxes for donation directly into your car. You won’t feel the full benefit of the energy shifts resulting from clutter clearing until things are removed from your home.
12. Move items that belong in other areas of the house to the room where they belong. Unless it is almost effortless to do so, do not stop and put those things away. Plan to come back later and tidy up those spaces that receive items from the bedroom. Again, any stop in another room could distract you from your goal of clearing the bedroom.
13. Return to the bedroom and take a look at what you’ve accomplished. Continue identifying items that don’t fit the function of the space until you are fairly certain that you’ve gotten most of them.
14. Take a picture to document your progress. Notice hot spots of clutter, those places that attract your eye and bother you.
15. Starting with the largest items in the room, the furniture, evaluate each item to determine if it is worthy of being in your sanctuary using the Love It, Use It or Lose It clutter clearing method. Do you love an item for sentimental reasons or a some type of positive association or do you use it at least once a year? If the answer is no on both counts, consider losing it. In other words, it’s leaving the room to be relocated to another part of the house or donated.
16. Again, place any and all items that will leave the room by the door. DON’T LEAVE THE ROOM.
17. Move from evaluating furniture to clothing to shoes to books and other large objects like CDs and DVDs.
18. Leave small items like jewelry, coins, and medications for last.
As you work your way around the room evaluating objects, begin clumping like items together, items that will be stored together. For example, you might start piles of dirty laundry, clothes to take to the dry cleaners, shoes that will eventually be taken to the closet, books, CDs and jewelry.
Resist the urge to put clumped items away until you’ve finished evaluating all items. It’s instructive to be able to see the quantities of individual items. For example, if you put items away as you work, you will miss the opportunity to get an accurate picture of just how many pairs of running shoes, ball caps or T-shirts you own. Also, when you open drawers or enter the closet to put things away, you run the risk of being allured by chaos that calls to you from those places.
If your brain shuts down and you find you are unable to make decisions about what to keep and what to pitch, check to see if you’ve inadvertently drifted from larger items to little stuff. If so, shift back to larger items. If not, take a short break and move items that have accumulated at the door.
When your brain recovers, continue the process until you’ve covered the whole room. This could take several sessions depending on how many items there are in the room – but that’s fine. You’re making progress with each step. Remember that be sure to breathe deeply between each step, smile and congratulate yourself for all you’ve accomplished.
Author and Feng Shui Organizing Expert, Debbie Bowie is a professional organizerand leading authority on using clutter clearing and feng shui principles to attract more of what you want in your life. If you're ready to finally free your life from clutter, get started today and download her free report 10 Feng Shui Organizing Tips to Improve Health and Prosperity.