6 Helpful Tips For Tackling That Mess You Call Your Room (You Know You Need To)


When I moved back into my parents’ house after college, it took me about a week to get unpacked and settled in. By that, I mean I got all my clothes out and put away, and then got just enough boxes and suitcases unpacked (the contents of which I shoved either under my bed or into any drawer or corner I could to keep from tripping over it on a daily basis) to where I didn’t feel like my bedroom was a storage unit. After that week, I started working at my new job.

For the following two months, I had very little time to worry about finishing my partially unpacked room. There were events to work, a trip to New York with my family, and just not enough hours in the day.

This weekend was the first time I really had any time to approach working on cleaning and reorganizing my room since that first week back from college. I wanted to start working on some other things (my cross-stitch project, a book I’m working on writing, other crafts, putting together my blog), but after looking around my room, I realized I had no other choice but to at least attempt to start on my room. Maybe it was because this is the first weekend I’ve had any real free time, or maybe it was because my desk was covered with papers and the chair was so covered with clothes that I had forgotten what color it was (FYI, I discovered that it’s cream colored, and quite lovely).

So instead of sitting by the pool to work on my tan (which, trust me, I desperately need to do), I buckled down, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work.

I have one piece of advice for anyone who wants to take on this sort of project: Stop and think, “Am I really going to be able to do this? Do I have the time, patience, and sanity required to do this?” Because if not, you need to re-evaluate. It is not for the weak-willed.

I immediately realized that this project that I had taken on was, in fact, not going to take “5-6 hours, tops,” as I had so naively thought. This was a project that was going to take up my entire weekend, maybe even longer. Even though it was time consuming, I did learn a few things along the way (including that it’s okay to cry over your sock drawer; these things happen to the best of us).

1. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

When it comes to getting organized, you might find yourself on a budget (i.e. broke). In order to get yourself organized without racking up massive credit card debit (If you don’t already have it, which if we’re being honest, you totally do), you have to change the way you think and find ways to use things that otherwise might find themselves in the back of a garbage truck on the way to the dump. For example, I took something that was meant to separate/organize shoes in one of those under-the-bed-bags (which is currently being used to hold winter clothes and halloween costumes) in order to organize the drawers of my dresser. That way, when I go looking for a t-shirt or a pair of shorts, I don’t end up messing up each drawer so bad that it just ends up looking like a laundry basket full of dirty clothes. After taking a pair of scissors and some duct tape to it, I am pleased to report that it has helped me organize my drawers tremendously.

2. Get creative.

Speaking of scissors and duct tap, in order to get yourself organized (and I mean really organized, I don’t mean shoving everything under your bed or into the back of your closet) you need to get creative. Always remember that the essence of getting creative is using tools (like duct tape, among an array of others) to help get yourself organized. You can rework a surprisingly large amount of stuff just by getting creative with it.

3. Double up.

Hanging up your clothes keeps them nice and wrinkle-free. The only problem with it is that it takes up A LOT of space. So what I usually do is put a couple of similar clothes, like a few nice skirts, together on the same hanger. I can usually fit up to three on a hanger without it having any affect on the clothes. That way, you don’t use up all your hangers. This works best with bottoms, not tops or dresses (at least in my experience). If you can find a way to make it work well, than go for it (and let me know how too, because I have yet to find a way that works for me).

4. Utilize the space you do have.

Got space under your bed? Use it. There are plenty of under-the-bed-storage-bags that are truly gifts from above. You can literally fit anything in there. I fit probably an entire second wardrobe (which, considering how little money I have, I should probably be wondering why I have as much clothes as I do, but I try not to think about it or I’ll cry) in just two bags. Two! They fit a little snugly (but still counts, they fit), but it’s perfect if you have no space left in your closet or in your dresser. Then, get a bedskirt. Voila! Storage space that is easily hidden.

5. Be willing to part with unused objects.

Yeah, that pink cowgirl hat is super cute. You could totally wear it out. Everywhere. To work, to the beach. You’ve got plenty of places to wear that thing.

Reality check: If you’re not going to use it, ditch it. You don’t necessarily have to throw it away, (unless it’s ruined) you could donate it. If you haven’t worn it in the past year (or three at the very most) than there is a very good chance that your never going to wear it ever again. Get rid of it. Free up some space for the stuff you do use. That way, you actually know what you have.

That goes for everything, not just clothes. If you are never going to use it, get rid of it. Don’t just keep convincing yourself with “What Ifs” — What if I do get invited to a rodeo? What if I get invited to go square-dancing?

Just stop. Unless you do those things you are What If-ing about on a regular basis, you are never going to wear it. You are never going to use it. Stop kidding yourself.

(Quick Tip: If you are totally a pack rat and an absolute “What If” Queen who can talk yourself into keeping almost everything you own and don’t use, than have somebody who is your polar opposite help you. That’s what I do. My brother has sternly told me “No. You are never going to wear it. That reason is stupid. Put it in the give-away pile or I will.”)

6. Make piles.

Three piles. One marked “To Keep,” one marked “To Give Away” and a third marked “Trash.” You’ll thank me later.

featured image – Hillary Boles