Love by Decluttering | The Master Bedroom Project – Update #1

I’m decluttering and organizing The Master Bedroom this month as part of my Love By Decluttering project. And I’m so thankful that Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie is doing a 29 Day Organizing Challenge this month, too!

I started out the project by procrastinating for several days. Great start, eh?

Then I realized that I really needed to get moving and do something. Anything. Just start.

It really helped knowing that I told all of you that I was going to do this project and that there are deadlines in Org Junkie’s 29 Day Organizing Challenge. Laura is one smart lady.

So I set the timer for 15 minutes. This is something that I have learned works well for me. It’s not overwhelming. I can do something to help that room for 15 minutes.

I decided to start with the mega pile on my side of the bed.

I moved 2 laundry baskets with Anna’s clothes to her room, and I started picking up the rest of the clothes that were in the pile and putting them in one of these places:

  • Dirty laundry pile
  • In the closet (Brilliant, I know)
  • Give away or sell bag
  • A pile to go to the kids’ rooms
When the time was up, I wanted to keep going, so I reset the timer. And this is how I’ve been working over the last few days. I find a 15 min. slot and set the timer. Sometimes when it goes off I just keep working.
When you look at the before pictures of my mega clutter pile, it looks like my main problem is clothes. Not entirely. Here’s what was under the clothes:
There’s a lot of paper clutter there, mixed with a bit of other miscellaneous clutter. Not paper clutter again! Grr.
After I took this picture, I moved one already-sorted paper clutter box next to the desk (not in the bedroom), a recycle box moved outside (Yay!), and a shred box moved next to our broken shredder in the kitchen (hmm…).
As I was working, I put aside some other things that did not belong in my bedroom. Here’s a picture of some of the things I found:
The Free box is left over from our yard sale. Then we have old balloons, toys, snacks, school papers, and a small stick.

Some Analysis

I cleaned and decluttered this exact space 11 months ago. So now that I see what has piled up in that spot over the last 11 months, I can work on analyzing the situation.

What has been working in the closet area

  • Hanging up clothes on hangers. For some reason, I’m pretty good at this.
  • Organizing the clothes by type and color. I really like the look of it, which matters when you have an open closet. Also, I’ve  been able to keep up with it fairly well.
  • I like those shoe racks/shelves. As long as I don’t block them with clutter, they work well.

What isn’t working? What are the problems and possible solutions?

Problem #1: Using the master bedroom to hide clutter from around the house.

Possible Solution: The only thing I can think of is get rid of all of the clutter and keep up with maintenance so that I have nothing to hide. That is a solution over time, and one that will take a while to implement. Maybe some of you have another idea to add?

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Problem #2: Laundry baskets with clean laundry

Possible Solution: Keep up with putting laundry away as I do the laundry. Remind/help the kids to put away laundry. Maybe I don’t go to bed until the laundry is put away?

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Problem #3: Clothes that have been worn, but aren’t actually dirty and could be worn again (e.g. sweaters or jeans). That was what most of the clothes in the pile were. Either that, or clothes I tried on, but then decided to wear something else that day. And a few of the “I’m too tired to do anything but throw these clothes in this pile as I fall into bed.”
Possible Solution: No more limbo-land. I must make a choice. It’s clean or it’s dirty. Either put it away or put it in the laundry pile. I’m actually really happy with this idea! Why didn’t I think of it before?
_____________________________

I’ll be back next Friday with Update #2!

How are your decluttering projects going? Do you have any ideas or insights for me?

I’m excited to be linking up with the 29 Day Organizational Challenge over at Org Junkie!

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24 Comments

Filed under Declutter, Motivation, Time Management

24 Responses to Love by Decluttering | The Master Bedroom Project – Update #1

  1. WilliamB

    Hurrah, an update.

    And of course, this being me, a suggestion. Implement the solutions in order of ease: easiest first. Based on your post:

    1. Fish or cut bait about dirty-ish clothes.

    2. Clean laundry put away as soon as it’s folded. Based on photos your kids are likely old enough to help. What is it that leads you to leave folded clothes in the laundry basket? (I can’t imagine because for me, folding is the dreary part, putting away is easy.)

    3. Keep up with clutter so it doesn’t accumulate in your bedroom. This is a long term project, got that? It’ll get easier as you get rid of stuff and as you get a better handle on the easier solutions. Step by step you can walk around the world … but not all at once.

    • Elizabeth

      That’s a good tweak on my possible solutions. I don’t know why I leave the the clean folded clothes in baskets! I think it goes back to my finishing problem.

      Step by step, yes!

  2. Walnut

    One of my habits to get into this year is to put away not-yet-dirty clothes IMMEDIATELY after taking them off. To help me with this, I put worn-once clothes in one specific place in my closet. It helps me remember what sweaters already have one wear. Also, having an empty space in my closet will remind me that I have something to hang up.

    • Elizabeth

      That sounds like a good system!

    • V

      i do something like this, too. when i’ve worn a work/church dress, sweater, or slacks once (and they can be worn again before washing), i hang it back in the closest INSIDE OUT. This way, the next time i wear it, i know that it needs to be washed. this was a happy accident — i was so tired one night that when i took off the dress over my head, i just hung it up inside out. the next morning in a moment of clarity, i thought that’d be a really great way to know whether or not something needs a-washin’. ;)

      Great progress. Your work has inspired me for this weekend…i have a lot of paper clutter next to my clothes closet.

      • Elizabeth

        Great idea! Thanks for sharing! And I’m so glad I’m not the only one working on paper clutter in the bedroom.

      • This is a great idea. I’ve never quite known what to do with slightly worn clothes.

      • EngineerMom

        I hang the once-worn-not-quite-dirty clothes inside out, too!

        For clothes that I don’t hang in the closet (small closet, big dresser), I have an over-the-door set of hooks on my closet door. I hang up things like my nightgown, shirts I normally keep folded in the dresser, workout clothes I want to dry out before putting them in the laundry, etc.

        If someone is going to be looking into our bedroom (it’s on the first floor right next to the only bathroom on that floor), I just flip the over-the-door hanger around to help the room look a bit neater.

        On keeping a master bedroom clean:

        I struggled with this for a long time. My side of the bed was pretty awful, made worse by the fact that you can’t see that part of the floor from the door. A couple of things I started doing that helped a LOT:

        1. Make the bed every day, preferably first thing in the morning, but at least by naptime (I’m a SAHM). Having that large clean, neat space in the room feels so good. We have handmade quilts, one for spring/summer, one for fall/winter, and seeing them spread neatly on the bed reminds me of the lovely women in our families who made them for our wedding.

        2. Dust once a week. I hate dusting. It feels so pointless, since it’s hard to “see” the result. However, just grabbing that dustrag and starting to go around the room forces me to deal with the items that have started to build up on flat surfaces like our dresser and the one bookshelf. Do I want to dust around this piece of paper, or just toss it in the trash? Do I really want to carefully dust a pile of coins, or just drop them in our coin jar in the kitchen?

        3. Bedroom is for sleeping and intimate relations ONLY. No projects, no reading the mail, two books max on my nightstand, other than my bible and journal. I will occasionally fold laundry in there, but I fold it on the bed, with the mental rule that I can’t get into bed until I finish dealing with the laundry.

        4. We keep clothes hampers in our closets – my closet has the whites hamper, DH’s has the colored hamper. A small basket sits on our bookshelf to house delicates like bras. When we get undressed, we immediately sort the dirty clothes and hang or put away the clean-enough ones. This makes it impossible to let stuff accumulate on the bottom of the closet, since the hamper covers the entire closet floor!

        5. We keep one wastebasket in the room, on DH’s side of the bed right by the door. That makes emptying it easier, and keeps us from having an overflowing-but-not-visible wastebasket.

        The last one isn’t directly related to the master bedroom, but has really helped keep other-room clutter out of it: I cleared off one complete shelf of a sofa table in the living room. Then I put empty baskets on the shelf. Whenever we have that “quick, have to hide the clutter!” panic, I dump the items in the baskets. Then when the visitors have left, I pull the baskets off the shelf and put them in front of the sofa so I have to see and deal with them the next time I sit down to check the weather or whatever. So far, it’s worked pretty well. They’re big enough to deal with that panic clutter, and it keeps me from dumping a bunch of stuff in our bedroom to collect dust and be forgotten.

        Now, all that said, our bedroom is still not tidy all the time. We have hardwood floors with rugs near the bed, but our stick vac stopped working at the end of December (the replacement part is FINALLY coming on Monday). I hate sweeping, and I hate shaking rugs out even more, so there are definitely fuzzballs in the corners. I also have long hair. Enough said. DH likes to just put his once-worn jeans on the floor, rather than back in the dresser, and I have a habit of just kicking my shoes off in the corner rather than putting them away on my shoeshelf (top shelf of the closet).

        My son likes to use our footboard as a “race track” for his cars, so I’m forever finding cars or little people or trains in, on, and under the bed. We do nighttime stories in our bed since his baby sister is asleep before him, so I’m also constantly putting away the books he drags in there. In fact, I finally gave up and just gave him some space on our bookshelf.

        DS also likes to get dressed in there in the morning, and although he’s usually pretty neat, I sometimes have to return his pj pants or socks to his room. So it’s definitely a work in progress.

  3. Good work! Office Depot (probably other office stores too) shreds for $1 per pound. Throw the Free stuff in the trash.
    Thoughts on the issues you noted:
    1. Don’t take anything into your room that doesn’t go there. Ever. Then once you get everything cleared out it won’t become a problem again. My kids aren’t even allowed to bring their toys into my room; after we read a book they take it back to its place in the living room.
    2.I’m training myself to take laundry out of the dryer, fold it, and put it away — as a single process.
    3.For clothes that may be reworn, I hang them up (even clothes that are usually folded) inside out in a specific area in my closet.

    • Elizabeth

      Great advice! Thanks! It would be great if I could train my brain to think of laundry folding and putting away as one task. I love that.

  4. For issue number two, I do one of two things:

    First, I either fold stuff and IMMEDIATELY put it away (which majorly sucks, but keeps it from lying around at all! Win!) OR if because i’m rushing or short on time, i fold and put the basket on my bed.

    Its easy to just toss it on the floor at the end of a long day, but I just remind myself, then i’ll have to do it in the morning and I whine about it while I put stuff away, but 9 times out of 10 i dont want to do it in the morning enough to do it right now :)

    Good Luck!

  5. Regarding #1…I’ve heard it said many times that you can’t just organize clutter. You have to get RID of it.

    So true.

    Get it out of the house!! :)

    Hey, do you want some reinforcement anytime soon? Sonia and Zoe and I could come over one afternoon and help rid your house of some clutter.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes! More of it out of the house! Correctamundo!

      Let’s see…do I want you to help…let me think about that..YES! Let’s schedule!

      • WilliamB

        It did seem like a no-brainer. ;-> Dunno about you but I find it helps immensely to have someone around to keep me honest and on track.

  6. Alice

    I like the ideas so far! A suggestion for #1 is to accept that (for now, at least), there’s going to be a clutter waystation somewhere in the house, but budget time weekly to attack it. If I have to deal with my waystation super-often, I find that it stops feeling as ‘easy’, and I’m more likely to put stuff away during the first decluttering run.

    And you get to choose your waystation! If having it in the bedroom doesn’t work for you or Mr. RSS, then maybe there’s another not-too-public spot that’d work better. Or maybe a more confined part of the bedroom?

    And congratulations! Sometimes it’s hard to feel happy with incremental progress, so I think it’s extra-important to celebrate the ‘it’s improved and not yet finished’ stages.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Alice. I greatly dislike the idea of there being a way station at all, but I think you are right. It should probably be a place in the basement. And you are right that I need to budget time to work on it!

      • WilliamB

        I think every place has at least one clutter way station. The advantage of putting it out of sight is that it’s out of sight. The possible disadvantage is it’s out of sight. Are you an out of sight, out of mind type?

        • Elizabeth

          Well, yes. But I’ve tried both ways, and I can’t say that it seems to make a big difference either way…at least up to this point.

  7. Mrs.Meyer

    This was me seriously… like 12 months ago. I was always telling my husband “we need bigger closets, we need more shelving, we need another shoe rack!”

    Then one day it occurred to me. I don’t need a better way to store the clothing. I need LESS clothing.

    And I’ve never looked back.

    • Elizabeth

      Awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    • EngineerMom

      Love it!

      My big “ah-ha” came in college. I lived in a tiny dorm room. I was doing ballroom dancing, so in addition to the sort of “regular” college clothes, I had my formal dresses. I had nowhere else to keep them, my parents lived too far away for me to just drive home and pick them up when needed, so I had to make it work. I scaled down my regular wardrobe, chose my three favorite formals, and got rid of everything else. It was so liberating.

      I wore everything in my closet, and on laundry day, my closet and the one drawer I dedicated to clothes were nearly empty. It was incredibly motivating to do laundry regularly, since I would literally have nothing to wear if I didn’t!

      Ever since, I’ve tried to make sure I only keep what I actually wear. It means our older (1952) home with tiny closets actually feels like it’s just the right size, rather than like we have to move and pay for even more room. It means I don’t spend much on clothes (about $100 per year), and only buy pieces I love. It means doing one load of laundry a day is enough to clean clothes, towels, and sheets every week.

  8. I have the same problems than You. Number 1 So much that as the Bedroom is now full, I have started to leave things on that space I’m now trying to “save” in the challenge.
    Must read all the solutions above :)

  9. Good start and ideas to keep you going! Keep up the good work!

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