Real Estate

I Sent a Home Stager Photos of My (Disorganized) Room — Here’s What She Told Me to Get Rid of

published May 29, 2021
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Credit: Tierra Smith
My "before" room

After spending more than a year working from home, I recently surrendered to the fact that I needed to make some major changes to my room. I live in an apartment in Texas with a roommate, which means my bedroom doubles as my “office” and my only personal space.

It seemed that the longer I worked from home, the more things I noticed that just didn’t work. The positioning of my desk started to bother me. I realized I had no good place to do or store my makeup. And to top it off, my closet was overflowing with things I knew I would never wear again.

Clearly, the clutter and disorganization was stifling my creativity and my peace. I needed to strike a balance. So, I figured I’d turn to a person who streamlines bedrooms for a living: a home stager. 

That’s how, one afternoon, I found myself FaceTiming home stager Shelley Barndollar, owner of Showhomes Houston. Instead of helping me sell my home, though, she promised to help me eliminate clutter and invest in creating a calm, clean space. I showed her around my bedroom, we chatted, and I followed up by sending her a few photos. 

Her main message for me was to follow a three-step process: I needed to declutter my closet, get some new storage containers, and reassess the furniture pieces in my bedroom. I got to work as soon as we hung up. Here’s how it went.

First, I had to declutter.

Decluttering tends to make me anxious, because I’m the type of person who has far too many clothes and shoes. I’m always hesitant to throw things away — what if I’ll want them one day? But since my FaceTime chat, I’ve come to learn a hard truth: Even if it still has the tags on it, if you haven’t worn it by now, you probably never will. 

Before I headed down the path of creating a brighter bedroom, I had to come to terms that it was time to let things go. 

“You’ve got lots of things that you probably don’t use or wear. Get rid of those items first,” Barndollar told me.

Credit: Tierra Smith
My "before" closet

When decluttering, she says to set up three boxes: one for items to keep, one for things to give away, and another for items to throw away. I followed her instructions and went through all of my clothes, shoes, and accessories in the closet. I found it in me to part ways with things, and even saved a few pieces for my little sister.

Next, Barndollar recommended that I re-hang a few shelves that had fallen and discard a shoe display that I’d propped up in a corner. I did that, and then I threw away the shoes that I didn’t really like, were damaged, or made my feet hurt when I walked. 

After I decided on the things I wanted to keep, Barndollar made sure I got rid of the things I didn’t want right away. “Get those out of there,” she instructed. I couldn’t leave any time to change my mind, so I made several trips to the dumpster and delivered the gently worn clothes to Goodwill. 

Then, I sprang for new storage. 

The next step was reorganizing the clothing I was going to keep. I either rehung those items on hangers or placed them in storage containers in the closet. In total, I used 10 containers: two of the long, flat ones that fit under the bed, and a few other 20-gallon boxes.

When placing things in the storage containers, I organized the items by season or theme as Barndollar advised. Now, one is filled with old college t-shirts and sorority paraphernalia. And since summer is approaching, I opted to keep the containers with summer clothes, swimsuits, and purses in the closet so I can find them without a hassle. I placed the other containers in another closet outside of my bedroom.

Credit: Tierra Smith
My newly organized closet

I also purchased a small dresser chest that I now use to store for underwear, sleeping clothes, and workout attire. Previously, all of those items were laying on a shelf inside the closet. Barndollar explained it’s neater to keep them tucked away in drawers, rather than letting them sit in a sloppily folded pile in plain view.

Barndollar suggested that I get rid of the shoe boxes in my closet, too. This was tough for me, as I own more than 50 pairs of shoes and keep them in their original cardboard boxes. I decided to narrow down my shoe collection, and keep the remaining ones in a few plastic bins.

Credit: Tierra Smith

I also edited down my furniture.

Lastly, I wanted my bedroom to function better as a workspace. Even though I had a dedicated desk and computer, I often chose to work on my laptop in bed. Working from bed, especially several days in a row, wasn’t all that great for my health — physically or mentally.

I realized that I didn’t like sitting at my desk because I couldn’t see the television, which was positioned directly behind my back. So after speaking with Barndollar, I decided to move the work desk to the back wall, which allowed a view of the television. I know what you’re thinking: Why do you need to watch TV while you work? Well, as a journalist, I am constantly watching national and local news. (And, when it’s not that, I am binge-watching shows and listening to podcasts in between edits.)

I also set up a jewelry armoire that I’m using to store my makeup and display my jewelry. This lockable enclosed mirror is the best piece I invested in during this process. It eliminated my “jewelry bag,” which was just all of my jewelry — regardless of the price — lumped together inside a drawstring clutch. 

Utilizing the shelving inside the armoire, I placed my makeup brushes, eyeshadow pallets, concealers and foundations — basically all of my go-to and oft-used makeup. Then I tucked the rest away in a cabinet in the bathroom. 

Credit: Tierra Smith
My newly decluttered bedroom

Now that I’m sitting comfortably in my new and improved space, I’m feeling pretty thankful to a professional home stager. While I’m not moving out or selling my place anytime soon, Barndollar helped me revitalize my bedroom and closet for a better me. A spot where I can rest (and thrive) during a hectic year is something I’ve come to value. 

Since decluttering and refocusing the intention of my bedroom, I have awakened a new energy. I wake up excited to start my day. I want to put on nice clothes, do my makeup, and go out and meet new people and enjoy new experiences. The sluggishness of the pandemic is wearing off. I know that now more than ever, I am ready to tackle new projects and embrace rest when it’s needed.