So, as some of you may have heard, cleaning my room was one of my biggest planned projects for summer. Specifically, I intended it to occur between ending school and starting work. Well, I almost let myself push it too far, but I succeeded. A while back, I finished cleaning my room, and it is glorious to have space and a clean floor. You have to understand that I basically went two whole semesters with my room getting worse and worse. Finally cleaning it to completion was a major relief. Anyway, today I’d like to present the process I went through, some observations I had, and, hopefully, some tips for you as you go about creating order from chaos.
- Go Through Your Clothes – This was such an important step, and, honestly, it was the longest step for me. Before I ever started on my room, I decided that I wanted to sort through all my clothing and keep only what actually contributes positively to my wardrobe. The initial result was a heaping pile of laundry on my floor that stayed there for a couple months. Not pretty. Seriously, I was beginning to think I needed a bulldozer… When I finished the process, though, I was really happy. Now my drawers are actually nice and neat, and I like the clothes in my closet.
- What Is With All the Plastic Bags?! – I didn’t count how many I found, but it seemed like I discovered another plastic bag every way I turned. I have a bad habit of going shopping, taking some of my purchases out, and leaving the rest in their respective bags. Thus, over time, the bag population in my room goes way up. Hunting them all down and dealing with them was a good step.
- Papers. Everywhere – If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably got dozens of random pieces of paper lying around. It’s almost like they multiply without my permission. Regardless, they needed to be dealt with if I was going to get my room clean. Some went into my school folders; others became scratch paper; still others went in the trash. Speaking of which…
- THROW STUFF AWAY – Seriously, my room was full of junk. Papers, random ribbons, receipts, broken hair ties, and who knows what else. I kept a trash bag handy and filled it generously. I think that, sometimes, I just unconsciously don’t want to throw anything away. Then I get stuck with the mess I had. When I really started cleaning, though, I found that most of the stuff I threw away really did belong in the trash. It was just a matter of effort. Sometimes, even…
- Some Mementos Just Have to Go – We’ve all collected mementos of many kinds throughout our lives: stuffed animals, pictures we or someone else has drawn, knick-knacks, notebooks, etc. When I keep all of my mementos, though, I find that I run out of space for them. Some things have deep significance and should, of course, be kept. Some stuffed animals fall into that category, while others should maybe be given to younger siblings or to charity. Knick-knacks vary in importance; in my case, I kept some and gave others to my younger siblings. Pictures become the hardest for me to manage, I think. I get a lot of pictures from kids I babysit or from siblings, and, while I treasure all of them, I just don’t have room. So, I keep the really nice ones and take digital pictures of the others. Then I’m free to throw them away.
- Put Up Those Pictures You’ve Wanted to Do Forever – I bought picture frames a long time ago at a secondhand store (great way to get them, by the way), and they’ve been sitting on my closet floor ever since. I love pictures, and I have hundreds on my computer. I’ve already broken one frame by leaving it out like that; I decided it was time to actually use the rest of them. So, I did. And I love having new pictures up.
- Give Your Bags a Home – Over time, I’ve ended up with a lot of different bags: backpacks, satchels, and a whole variety of purses. When they just lie on my floor, they contribute big-time to the mess. Some I never use and can thus give away. For the ones I have uses for, however, I collected them and stuck them neatly in my closet. Decide what bags you need on a daily basis, and give those a more accessible home, but don’t leave everything out. This also applies to boxes and notebooks.
- Hunt Down Hidden Food – Maybe I’m the only one who has this problem, but I always discover food in odd places when I clean. In bags, on the floor, and, occasionally, in drawers. Trust me, leaving food out is never a good idea. Hunt it down and get rid of it.
- Repurpose Already-Used Space – I actually have a lot of storage space in my room (though, unfortunately, not as much as that picture), but I don’t always use it well. Sometimes, all you need is to shuffle things around and open up new opportunities. In my case, I moved my CDs onto the same shelf as my movies, opening up a whole shelf for writing supplies. I had no place for those before, and now everything fits nicely. How are you using your space? Can you utilize it better?
- Consider Getting a Desk or Storage Space – Of course, sometimes you just need more space. When you’ve done what you can with the space you have, you might look into getting a desk or some kind of cubbies/drawers. I’ve been looking at secondhand desks for a two-fold purpose: it would give me some storage space for writing supplies, and it would be a good space to do homework/writing. And I found one! It’s wonderfully large and provides more space for my writing supplies. Definitely worth it.
So, there, you go. That was cleaning my room. How does the process usually look for you? Let me know in the comments and join me in a couple weeks for tips on keeping your space clean.