Get It Tidy Gather your declutter tools — timer, boxes, and garbage bags — for a STOP clutter session in the bedroom. Because so many unauthorized items wander into the bedroom (or are thrust there, unwilling, at the sound of the doorbell), the Put Away box will do extra duty during a bedroom declutter.
- Sort. Set the timer for 20 minutes, and start by tackling the bed area. Drag everything out from beneath it, and behind and inside the nightstand. Sort each item into one of the boxes: Put Away, for items that belong in other rooms; Sell/Donate for no-longer-needed items that are still in good repair; Storage, for items that belong in storage areas. Using the same strategy, move onto dressers and bureaus, and any clutter littering the floor. Work systematically around the space and, little by little, you'll reclaim the bedroom as the sanctuary it's intended to be.
- Toss. As you sort, consign broken items and litter straight to the garbage bag.
- Organize. The smart declutterer notes where the clutter is coming from, and then looks for ways to prevent the buildup in the future. As you declutter, pay attention to the cause of the problem. Scattered piles of dirty clothes signal a need for a laundry basket in a nearby spot. Linty piles of pocket change, subway tickets, and crumpled receipts can be kept under control with a pretty copper bowl or wooden box designated for pocket-emptying at day's end. Stacks of unopened moving boxes, resident along the wall since you moved in, indicate a need for a household storage plan.
- Put away. When the timer bell rings, stop the session. Circle the house with the Put Away box, put Sell/Donate items in the car trunk for delivery to charity. Add Storage items to attic, basement or garage storage areas.
Keep It CleanIf the bedroom is to be a calm and peaceful haven, it's not enough for it to be tidy — it must be clean, too. To achieve this, include it in the household cleaning schedule. The primary goal: to reduce and remove dust, dander and other irritants.
Weekly vacuuming and dusting is a must in the bedroom. Pay particular attention to window treatments; vacuuming drapes and dusting shades will help to keep air quality high. Baseboards, too, need regular attention to keep dust buildup away. If the room contains a television, computer or entertainment center, use an electrostatic dry cleaning cloth to collect dust weekly, as electronic equipment attracts dust.
Wash windows seasonally, and wipe down sills and window fittings to remove dust and dirt. A lamb's wool duster picks up any dusty residue on walls and snags cobwebs on ceilings or in corners; when necessary, wash the walls to remove smudges and stains. Seasonal cleaning should also include lampshades and the light-diffusing bowls from overhead fixtures; you'll see clearly and cut the dust with clean lighting. Allergy sufferers may want to add a portable air filtration unit to improve air quality.