My big bedroom declutter (Part 1) ~ By Andréia

When you have been a clutterer for a long time, decluttering never seems to end. Reading posts and articles I found that there is always room for improvement. Last year I was very much upset with my bedroom, but I had no idea where to start. Frustrated I asked Colleen for help and she told me to make a plan. My bedroom didn’t just need a declutter, it needed a new life. I always felt a mess in my bedroom. Not a nice feeling to have at all in one’s sleeping place! So I started to point out to myself what were the trouble areas: the furniture in a whole, the excess stuff I put off dealing with and crammed into my bedroom and my excess clothing, my husband’s excess clothing, my load of shoes and this and that and lots of bits and pieces. One of the first things I did to help me declutter was to establish my “Untouchable box”. So, treasures secure, time to tackle whatever else was in the bedroom.

The first item to go was the rack you see in these pictures.

Andréia's Posts & Photos

It does look lovely empty, but it never had such luck being in this house. It was my husband’s “throw” place. I will explain: “I will use it later: throw over the rack; It is a tiny little piece of something I am fixing one day: throw over somewhere in the rack; It is a piece of iron/plastic/wood/whatever I might need one day in my life in a future I can’t envision: throw it in the rack!” However, my husband bought the rack and it was a piece of furniture from his single days (the only one left). I thought I would first gradually declutter the things in the rack, then I would donate it, but I found out that, in this case, Moni’s hurricane method was all for the best: I emptied the thing and called someone to take it out of my house immediately. The things I wanted to keep soon found their rightful home (some CDs that I had a nice place to put, for they were not so many) and some toiletry that should not have be there. Most things, stored there “just because”, are now gone. I still have some things I have to deal with that are sitting on my closet floor, but in no way resemble the mess that rack contained…

I had this lovely bed. However the mattress had seen better days. As I have a bad back I can’t stand a bad mattress for too long. So when a night’s sleep started ending with back pain, I knew it was time to have a new mattress. As I was contemplating a new mattress I had the idea for a trunk bed. It would store all of my heavy bed covers (blankets, comforters, extra pillows, bedspreads) and leave my wardrobes free to hold only clothing. First of all, before going out to buy the new trunk bed and mattress I found a buyer for the old bed. I had a double bed and wanted an upsize to a Queen. It would be more comfortable for me and my husband. I sold the bed and gave away the mattress for free.

However there is a catch to this changing beds – the bed linen. I always thought I did not have enough bed linen but boy, was I wrong! As I was moving things to put in my trunk bed I started to unearth (I was digging things out from a wardrobe!!!!) lots and lots of bed linen. I gave to a relative six complete sets of sheets for a double bed. These were in excellent condition. Then I donated four complete sets that weren’t so good. And I still donated incomplete sets that added up to 7 or 8 extra sheets. I could have opened a motel!!! I had no idea I had this many sets of sheets. There were also old pillows and lots of other stuff as you can see in the pictures.

365 Less Things 2013

Maybe you will ask me: why didn’t you look? Didn’t you change the beds? Well I am ashamed to say I did not want to look. I knew it was a lot, but I could not bring myself to part with any of it. Some I bought on impulse, some were gifts from my grandmother and most of the good ones were not even used a lot because they had to be saved for better days…Whatever that means because I saved a set of sheets for ten years and used it once before donating it because it did not fit my bed anymore.

I have decluttered, this time 65 items, including in this count the bed and the rack. Back in January I declutterd almost 80 items including clothes and some small stuff like earrings (small stuff does take up space as Colleen said here) all featured in the pictures.

Well, this was the first part of bedroom declutter. I am, by no means finished. I still have two massive wardrobes to take care of, but hey, soon enough news will come on that front.

Today’s Mini Mission

Dust around the frames of all of the wall art or photo frames you have hanging on the walls in your home. I do this at least every two weeks. A slightly damp microfibre cloth is the best tool I have found to do this job, as it will not only hold any dust it encounters but will also give the glass a nice polish. Glass on the walls can tend to get grimy over time if not wiped regularly.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

  • Owning your life skill ~ By Doodle One of our long time regular readers Doodle has kindly agreed to help out here at 365 by writing a blog post for me every other Wednesday. Today is her first regular post although not the […]
  • Clutter Maintenance Every time I have moved house I have had a reasonable length of notice. Although, sometimes the definite ~ "Yes we are moving." ~ may have come a little last minute but the maybe had been […]
  • Clutter, why? Clutter isn't about what we have, it is about why we have it.  We acquire stuff for many reasons, aesthetics, functionality, sentimental, recreation and entertainment and even societal, […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Wow, Andréia!
    This is really impressive!

    We had a desk-like table – it’s classified as “computer desk” here, that means basically a small desk with lots of shelves – in the bedroom for a long time as well and although I first emptied it some months back, I didn’t declutter it right away and it soon became a clutter hot spot. Laundry baskets got put up there, books and other random things as well. We finally got rid of it last week when we also got rid of some other furniture and I’m so happy about that. Sometimes it’s really better to declutter the furniture of doom right away, even if a few items to deal with remain.

    Well done and all the best for your wardrobe declutter! I hope your bedroom will soon be the haven you want it to be!

    • Hi Sanna! I still have not decluttered the wardrobe that is in the pictures. The bed is gone. I have to write a new post showing all the changes that have been made since I took those pictures. I noticed that what made a big difference was weeding out clothes slowly. All the difference in the world.
      It is very hard to declutter furniture. Someone always says that you should have kept it and that you might use it someday and so on. And I think you are absolutely right when you say that empty furniture attracts clutter. It is so tempting to just put it there over that empty shelf than to return it to its proper place…
      Thank you for your support!

      • I am looking forward to your update!

        You are right about the slow declutterings. Actually, I am still not really happy with my wardrobe, although I don’t own that many clothes anymore. I think, this is also because at the moment I also store out-of-season clothes and sheets in my wardrobe and this just makes it feel crammed. I think I will declutter some more in my storage/laundry room, in order to make space there for the out-of-season clothing. Maybe, I’ll manage to get rid of some more sheets as well! You gave me a new project! 🙂

  2. Congratulations on a job well done, Andreia. Doesn’t it feel good to have it all gone? Unlike you, we were never surface clutterers we just had too much all neatly stored in it’s “proper” place. You know what, even if it isn’t seen it can still drive you to distraction. I sometimes think it is easier to declutter when it is seen because it is distracting. For mom, if it is all neatly put away then why bother.

    • Hi Deb J! I think that is what drove me insane – the clutter outside and inside everywhere! There was no place to put anything anymore because it was all crammed up. Imagine that I have 2 wardrobes, not just the one that is in the picture and they were both filled to the brim…And I agree with you that “put away” does not mean “no clutter”. I had lots and lots of stuff that were “put away” in my monstrous wardrobes that were clutter. I just got tired of searching for stuff and never finding it. I am glad you convinced your Mom that even though it was “properly stored” it was still clutter.
      I feel more liberated in my wardrobe than I ever had in my entire life and it is not even ready yet.

  3. I am mostly a lurker here but had to come out of hiding to give you a standing ovation. You have done a great job!
    I know first hand what it is like to have a bedroom you dread. We just moved and changing things around and putting things away has reduced a huge amount of stress. I sleep so much better now and I bet you do too! Kudos on a job well done and I look forward to seeing more!

    • Well Veronica, firstly a most warm welcome to 365lessthings in the name of the readers and Collen’s! Yes, I am feeling so much better in my bedroom! All that stuff in constant sight all those clothes we never wore but could not or would not be disposed of (donated or sold). It was too much.
      Thanks for your support and I will make sure to send more pictures after I finish my bedroom declutter/project.

  4. Jumping up and down for you! That is really fantastic. You should be really pleased and what a great feeling, eh? Some days I really whine about how tiny our house is, but it is a motivator to try to keep it clean and organized. It is just a wreck right now with finishing up that project, but I’d better get my hiney in gear because the in-laws are coming over tomorrow for BBQ!

    I haven’t heard of a trunk bed before but I am guessing that it has a lift top that you can store linens under the mattress? That kind of sounds cool. 🙂 Good job, you!

    • Hi Michelle! I am greatly pleased and so happy! I am even making my bed every day… 😀 Trust me a tiny house is the best house because you have less to clean all around! Are finishing up the laundry project? If I have not confused you with someone else, then keep calm because remodeling can be a pain in the head, to not say anything else :D. A trunk bed is one you can store bed covers and linen under it. I have stored pillows and bed covers. It does save a lot of space in wardrobe storage and it is a good place to store that because I don´t open it everyday.
      I am sending pictures in part 2 with the trunk bed and the wardrobe gone and my new and improved bedroom!
      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement!

      • Yepper, that’s me with the laundry remodel. Hubby is home today, putting the washer and dryer back in, and then yippee!! I can do laundry!!! 😉

        I am really liking the sound of a trunk bed as we have no linen closets and look forward to Part 2 of your story! Keep up the good decluttering!!! 🙂

  5. Very impressive, Andreia! How nice to get your bedroom looking and functioning how you want it to. Looking forward to Part 2!

    Your statement about keeping some sheets for better days rang so true for me. Why do we do that?! I remember years ago being at my grandparents’ house and my grandmother was looking for some more knives and forks and my grandfather teased her about using “the ones you’re keeping for when we’re dead”. At the time it just sounded rather funny to me but now I understand that sentiment and I try very hard not to fall into it although I know there are various things still in this house that I am afraid to use but don’t know what to do with them.

    • Hi Christine! Actually my grandmother made my trousseau when I got married. She bought all the bed linen and towels that came to my house at first. And she was the one that instilled in me the “save for the good days” and “not use until it tears”. She passed away 7 years ago and to part with anything she had given me or not to follow her saying seemed outrageous. At first, when I arrived here I thought my decluttering was done with. I have been here since 2011. Frankly I did not agree with many posts, I had the space to keep all I wanted. However I liked the way Colleen wrote and the guests posts and gradually started to let the meaning “sink”. That was when I realized I still had too much. my bedroom was a sore spot because it was were the remaining clutter stays.
      Use your stuff. This year after a post I read from Cindy, she was talking about a nice set of sheets she had kept unused for 10 years. She wrote that she used them until they were worn out and later they were used by dog, until she disposed of them. That was when I put to use a very nice set of sheets that had been siting in its original package for 10 years! (ever since my marriage). So, remember, it is just stuff, it is in your house. Use them until they wear out. If they break, they broke, be done with it. They, as I realized, are only objects and can be replaced at any given time.
      Good luck with using the stuff! 😉

  6. Incredible!
    That storage furniture looks way better empty, somebody will be able to use it. Its hard to admit that something like furniture isn’t working for me, but I am getting better 🙂
    I have recently purged some linens as well, it felt good to have the space though I had some anxious thoughts about sending them away (sheets do wear out after all). But I must remember that they make new sheets every day, and they dont even have to be expensive! When my existing twin sheets wear out, I can replace them. Meanwhile I have the space… glorious space…

    • Hi Cretive me! Somebody is already using it! I donated it to a family member who needed it to put her TV. I have been to her house and it is looking great in her bedroom and so uncluttered. I understand what you are saying. It was very hard for me, up until this year to even think about letting furniture go. Every time I read here that Colleen had let go of this or that piece of furniture I would gasp outrageously and say: ” Dear God! How can she let go of furniture! What if she needs it again?” However I finally learned that any piece of furniture that is in my house is here to serve me and not the other way around. And as this weeks posts with its Feng Shui referrals explain that I did not need so much furniture anymore. It was time to let the past go.
      About the sheets, that is how I regard them these days. Use them until they wear out and buy a new set when needed.

  7. Congratulations Andreia!!! Getting rid of the ‘rack’ , one small step in the right direction is all we need sometimes to get an amazing result.
    Thank you for sharing your story. Made my heart feel great. 💙💙💙

    • Thanks Wendy F! Just the lovely space I had in my bedroom made up for the guerrilla warfare my husband involved me when I got rid of the rack… 😀 😀 😀

      • Andreia, tell me about the guerrilla warfare. How did you get rid of the last piece of furniture from his single days (the only one left)? When I married 5.5 years ago, I had to get rid of a lot of things from my three bedroom home to move in with my husband. He was kind enough to empty an entire room for my use, my stuff. I am still eliminating my excess, plus trying not to use more than half of the master bedroom closet. He has been more then generous accommodating my wardrobe. We had a storage unit that moved into the garage 1.5 yrs after our wedding. (Thank goodness for no more storage fees.) Another 18 months later there was again room for my car — a goal we had together.

        • Hi Eilleen! The rack was a “a-ha” moment. I was always trying to get that rack in order and I never had any success. Every time the rack was looking a little orderly, he would mess it all up again. As I organized more and more it started to bother me a great deal. I talked to him about it. He said I just wanted to be rid of “his” stuff. I said I was tired of the mess, he said I was just being annoying. Finally I asked him, again, if I could donate the rack. He said yes. Then he said no. Then, later, he said I should do whatever I wanted because as he said “that is what you always do anyway.” This whole talk lasted some weeks. Then I got fed up and donated the rack. He was angry, then he was…not. I am big on decluttering my own stuff and the wardrobe that is going to be decluttered shortly was from my single days. It is not the last piece, but he knows the other ones will soon be on its way. And HE is the one using MY furniture from my single days (computer desk – his now/ bookcase – his stuff mostly).
          I am glad your husband was so nice. It is really good you don´t pay for a storage unit anymore, as it can be such a waste of money. I am still pairing down on my clothing, but it is not and easy or easy task.
          It took me a while longer to conquer my garage after we married because we filled it up in the first 3 years of marriage 😀 . Then we emptied it in the next 5.
          Now we seem to have reached a better point in the whole decluttering business me and my husband.
          Best of luck with your decluttering and thanks for commenting.

  8. Andreia – great post! I like your comment “the things I wanted to keep soon found their rightful home” – I’d never clicked onto that fact before, just the other week I was complaining about ‘residual’ items that are left over from a big sort out, they’re neither in nor out – but this explains it, if I didn’t find them a rightful home straight away, then I obviously already knew that they weren’t to be permanent residents. And 99% of the time, as those items remain out and underfoot they fall into the nuisance category and end up being moved on. Thank you for switching on the lightbulb above my head!

    Can’t wait to read part 2!

    • Hi Moni! I am so glad I helped you! I put some of those residual in that bookcase (remember, the one just like yours?) and I am accessing them in a few weeks. Probably more items being decluttered.
      Part 2 will come soon, as I have been offered to get my bedroom painted next week. I still have not removed the wardrobe. I was hanging on to it, so I stalled and the person taking it stalled, but I am letting it go next week for sure.

  9. That’s a fantastic job Andreia! It is a little wrenching getting rid of lovely furniture that no longer has a use, but just take a look in the op shops and vintage stores: there are so many beautiful pieces of furniture, ALWAYS available, and usually fairly inexpensive, should you need more!!

    • Hi Loretta! I have a lovely dresser that I inherited from my grandmother that I am putting to use in my bedroom. I had it renovated when my first child was born and it will be great to store towels and all my now bed linen (in reasonable numbers, not as it was before – LOL). It will be there in part 2, in the pictures.
      I don´t think I am ever buying as much furniture as I have this day. I will try and attend our needs as family without going overboard.

  10. Calico ginger :

    Oh wow – I can’t wait for the next set of photos – I love before and afters! And I am sure you are really enjoying your room so much more. Bedrooms are such a challenge – maybe because they are private rooms and not usually on display.

    • I am feeling great Calico ginger! I dare say I might even be sleeping better (that is probably due to the new mattress 😀 ). I can tell you that having less linen, less clothes and smaller places to store things made me feel so much better. It is like I know where my stuff is now. Not the work is finished, but if something stayed “forgotten” in the wardrobe and was not pursued by me to use, then it is most likely, clutter to me and it needs to go.
      I am still availing a lot of stuff, but I am more sure now.

  11. Great work! Seems like some pieces of furniture just invite clutter because they’re an easy place to store things indefinitely. Get rid of that piece of furniture and things have to go to their proper homes or be dealt with.

    • Totally agree with you Rebecca J! My husband was deeply upset when I got rid of that rack because he had no more place to “store” (do read “throw”) his “stuff” (do read ” clutter”) anymore. That thing was a dust collector of the worst kind! Look at all the stuff it contained and it was right beside our bed! So, yes, some pieces of furniture are just clutter magnets.
      He says he is sleeping better ( I do wander why…:D) and I have a “lighter” feeling in the room. So maybe not all of that Feng Shui is hopus pocus…:D 😀 😀

      • Hi Andreia – good on you ! I’m laughing about your husband sleeping better and your comments that maybe Feng Shui isn’t all” hocus pocus” . I don’t worry about about the bits that seem too extreme -I just go with what makes sense to me – and lot of it does. My husband is not particularly interested in any of it but he “got it ” when I referred to his pile of un-used “stuff” next to his computer, as a “stagnant pool of negative energy”. ( I think that was Karen Kinston’s quote but can’t be certain ) and we often laugh about it now. He had golf clubs and multiple key boards and goodness knows what else filling the space beteween his computer and the book case – you couldn’t get to the book case- and he hadn’t played golf for over 10 or 15 years!! Anway that was a few years ago and he is now almost on the same page as I am regarding keeping our spaces clean and clutter free . I think he’s enjoyed the changes of direction that have coincided with the decluttering .The decluttering has been about letting go of the old, accepting and embracing change and that has had a rippling effect to other areas of our lives. Good luck with your lovely new energised bedroom !

        • Hi Jez! Your comment has put in words some of my feelings and I think your husband’s saying about “stagnant pool of negative energy” applies to my bedroom before I started changing it. I am gathering courage to empty the wardrobe of all its remaining bits and pieces and “forcing” it out of my house.

  12. Terrific job, Andreia! I too can’t wait to see the next set of photos. I find the before and after photos to be so inspirational. As they say the bedroom should be a sanctuary and with too much distraction it can be disruptive to one’s sleep. I am sure that you are sleeping more soundly these days.

    • It is so different it does not resemble my room anymore. I am pleased with it and now, with a lot less stuff I am more inclined to put things in their proper places, because it is not difficult or crammed anymore.
      It will be a lovely room when it is done. It is already looking pretty good as Colleen pointed out to Moni in a comment a few days back. I was bursting with pleasure! 😀
      I am sleeping so well and it is lovely to stay in my room. Even romance blossoms in nice rooms. 😉

  13. Wow, some impressive changes! You must be so pleased with the work you’ve done! Don’t let what you have left to do overwhelm you, you clearly have the skills and perseverance to declutter your home, one space at a time!

    • Hi SarahN! Sometimes it does still seem too much, but I am applying Colleen´s a thing a day. Or I do a project a time. Now I am focusing on the remaining clothes and how to deal with them. I am tackling smaller projects around the house, but they take a couple of hours to get done.
      Thanks for your confidence in my abilities 😉 !

  14. Well done! Well done! Congratulations. I look forward to reading part 2.

    • Thank you, Cindy! I have remembered you often this days, because I want to do a remodeling and I keep remembering your early posts about how it would have been better if you had less stuff when you did your remodeling. So, I am doing what you say, not what you did! 😀
      I am working on part 2. Let you all know when it is available!

  15. Excellent, Andreia! That’s a job very well done! Just this week we decluttered the bedding because we got a new bed–same size. We have only 1 set of flannel sheets and 1 set of cotton sheets for that bed. I also have a double bed in the guest room and a double futon which serves as a guest bed. BUT. I didn’t need ‘that’ many sets of double sheets–so out they went. Then I checked the blankets–too many. All my blankets are inherited from my parents but I don’t need them all. They’re sitting in a pile on a bookshelf but they’ll be donated to the animal shelter as soon as I can.

    • Hi Willow! Thanks for commenting! I have 4 blankets now, and one of them has a triple layer, so it is really warm. I have currently kept 2 sets of double sheets and have 5 for current use. I know it sounds a lot, but I thought I had none, a friend gave me 2 as a gift and I have 3 (from before) that fitted my queen size bed. So I have decided to use them all up.
      I did not inherit any blankets, I bought them all. I can store them away properly now and that does make me pleased. And my sons use them when they “wet” their blankets 😀 .

  16. By the way, I don’t know whether actual freecycling works that way, but in our city there is an online notice board and it has a “for free” section, so we always use that to “freecycle”, as it has many users. However, it’s quite common there to put a note about what would be a nice reward or gift in return for the thing you give away. It’s not considered obligatory, but you kind of write “We give away a bed for free. We would however appreciate a bottle of beer/a package of cookies / a can of pasta sauce” (or whatever). It’s usually something in a price range of only 0,5-2€, so really not much at all, but it adds a little fun, especially to my boyfriend who is loving to get cookies or chocolates that other people chose (because they might bring a brand we never tried before) – He is much more eager to open the door to the takers, if he can hope on some little treat as a reward. 🙂 Actually, I like it, too. 😀
    I do think this can make the more reluctant who always want to sell rather than give away more ready to part with things and doesn’t add as much hazzle as selling.
    I just thought I’d share this possibility of ridding yourself of stuff. 🙂

  17. I look forward to seeing your new pictures. Congrats on all the good work. You are doing it one step at a time and it looks great.

  18. Maybe a method to try for another room is to clear out everything in it. Since at this stage all you’re doing is moving things out without thinking, you won’t fall into the trap of not wanting to part with an item. With the room empty, you can clean it thoroughly and then start bringing items back in. In doing so, you change the conversation from “Do I want to throw this away?” to “Do I want to add more stuff to my life” which should make it easier to declutter.