If You Could Declutter Only One Thing in the Bedroom, It Should Be This

published Aug 8, 2023
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Credit: Sylvie Li

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that making your bed is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself — specifically speaking from a mindset and productivity standpoint. From my perspective as a professional organizer, I know that it instantly makes any bedroom look infinitely neater. And I can’t imagine not making mine first thing in the morning unless I’m sick or having a chronic pain flare-up and know I’ll be resting in it most of the day anyway.

Whatever your thoughts are on the great bed-making debate, I’m here to tell you that it’s actually not the only thing you can do to create a clutter-free space that feels like a sanctuary. I’ve even written an entire article dedicated to adding a cute trash can in your bedroom to reduce the amount of visual clutter from the — generally seemingly small — trash that tends to collect.

There’s something else that creates a much more obvious eyesore and, if I had to bet, you likely have had it in your bedroom for ages. If you haven’t guessed yet, it’s the heaping stack of clothes that sits atop “the chair” — or an exercise bike, a storage bench, or really whatever surface that’s currently not being used (well, other than as a temporary home for your half-clean, half-dirty items).

Committing to clear off your “clothes chair” will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of how tidy your bedroom looks, even if it’s not perfectly organized. It might seem impossible to keep it completely void of clutter and I’ve even had people argue with me that they like their system (or lack thereof) and, if that’s the case for you, more power to you!

But if you’d like your room to feel more inviting, I invite you to hear me out. First, believe it is achievable. Next, fully declutter the chair no matter how chaotic it is currently and decide where to put everything. Most items should be washed, some may need to be tailored or dry cleaned, and a spot should be made or found for anything miscellaneous.

Then, come up with a plan to prevent the pile from reappearing in the future. I have a few ideas for you and, in case you automatically assume that I don’t participate in my version of the “chairdrobe,” I most certainly do. I just don’t want to see a jumbled mess in my room 24/7. The cool thing about the tips I’m going to share is that they’ll work no matter how your space is set up or the size of it.

For Nicer, Can-Wear-Again Clothing

If you wore, for example, a blazer in a meeting and you’re not ready to hang it up with the rest of your clothes, find a valet rod that suits your style and your space instead. You can hang one over the inside of your bedroom or closet door, attach a swing-arm version to a blank wall, or install a retractable hook to the side of a shelf. This method keeps your nicer clothing wrinkle-free while also staying separate from the 100-percent clean items in your closet.

For More Casual, Can-Wear-Again Clothing

You probably don’t care as much about the state of the loungewear you throw on and off throughout the week. Sweats, leggings, and hoodies can be tossed into a small-ish container — separate from your actual laundry basket — that allows them to be hidden but also accessible. If you’d like, choose one that matches your decor so it blends in with the rest of your bedroom.

Otherwise, select a spot on the floor of your closet, in a corner of the room (perhaps behind the chair itself), or under your bed to tuck it out of sight. Because the clothes shouldn’t be that dirty (more on this in a moment), you can use one without a lid. A collapsible kind also isn’t a bad idea on the off chance all of your clothes are either hung up or in the hamper (even if it’s only for a day).

As far as maintaining your new system, that’s where a routine of sorting through your clothes comes in. Rather than let items sit on the rod or in a basket for far too long (and therefore getting increasingly funky or causing you to completely forget they’re in there), keep on top of your new “clothes chair” at least once a week. Comb through things and decide to wash them; take them to get altered, fixed, or dry cleaned; or simply re-wear them ASAP. This habit puts a stop to the never-ending mound of clothes clutter as well as the unsightly view in your bedroom.