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Spring cleaning hacks: How to organize a room with too much stuff

It can feel overwhelming to think about spring cleaning, especially if you have a room (or two or three) with too much stuff. We all have that one room where we store all of the things that we don’t know what to do with or that pile up after the holidays with nowhere to live permanently. There’s also the everyday clutter that comes with, well, living.

We’ve got some tips and tricks for how to organize a room with too much stuff in it so you won’t feel anxious about the project. We won’t argue that it’s the most fun way to spend a Saturday, but it can give you a sense of accomplishment and reduce future anxiety by getting everything put away. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

family packing boxes in living room

How do you declutter a room full of everything?

Invest in the right storage

First, you want to make sure you have the right tools for the job. If you plan to pack stuff away, you’ll need storage bins or boxes. If you go the box route, make sure you have packing tape, packing paper for anything breakable, and a permanent marker to mark each box so you know what’s inside in the future.

Tackle the project in pieces

If you have multiple spaces in your home that you’re looking to tackle, start with one room at a time until it’s completely done. Then, move on to the next one. Otherwise, the mess will spill into other parts of the home and make you even more overwhelmed.

young woman decluttering her clothing

Sort in an organized fashion

Next, you want to separate everything into piles. We like to make Toss, Keep, Donate, and Store labels because they help break down into categories what you’ll be doing with the items. Then, tackle one box or area at a time, and put every item in the room into one of these four piles. Once you have everything sorted (which takes the most amount of time), you can take the trash pile out, giving you more space to work. Then, pack the donation items into your car and take them to your local Goodwill or other donation location to get them out of the room.

The store pile can be packed neatly away in the storage bins and placed in the storage room. Make sure the heaviest boxes go on the bottom. Finally, the items you’ve decided to keep need to find their permanent place to live in your house. Make sure everything has a place and a purpose; otherwise, you’ll end up creating more piles where they don’t need to exist.

A woman organizing and moving boxes.
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

How can I organize my room without getting overwhelmed?

We know that spring cleaning isn’t a welcome event for most people. Instead of thinking about it over a period of weeks, pick a day that you don’t have a lot planned and commit to the job until it’s complete. It’s easy to feel anxious if you only have an hour in your schedule to take on a four-hour project, so don’t set yourself up for disappointment. As we mentioned above, if you take one room at a time, you’ll be able to see your hard work pay off.

If some of the items you need to go through are difficult or sentimental, give yourself the grace to slowly decide whether an item will be kept, stored, or thrown out. It’s not easy to go through personal belongings because they can stir up memories, so be mindful and go easy on yourself.

If you’ve got a lot of stuff and nowhere to store it, you may want to consider renting a storage unit. They don’t cost a ton of money and can be ideal if you live in a place without a lot of places to store things. Plus, you can opt for a temperature-controlled unit, unlike most garages, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing your stuff will be warm and dry. This is also a good option if you’ll be moving in the near future and need to get your house show-ready, especially if you have bigger items like furniture that are cluttering your home.

Finally, once your decluttering is complete, make sure you clean the space often. If you don’t, you may risk falling into old habits and letting stuff pile up again. You now have bonus space that used to be filled with clutter and junk. Turn the space into a reading nook or home office, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You worked hard for it!

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