How to Organize a Messy Room

Along with a messy room come several problems besides just how to address the unsightly, unkempt appearance. Clutter, such as dirty laundry or toys littering the floor, make it difficult to clean the room or to find specific items believed to be in the room. Instead of dreading the debris, whip the room into shape with a system for organization that gives everything a space where it belongs.

The Setup for Success

Organizing a room requires decluttering and cleaning it first.  While this may seem monumental, a simple system makes clutter-clearing a bit easier.

Set up several boxes, labeling them "belongs elsewhere," "keep," "donate" and "not sure" Add a laundry hamper, if clothing on the floor is an issue, as well as a trash can.  Deposit every item found on the floor or atop furniture into one of the boxes, the trash bin or laundry hamper.

Remove all the boxes, the trash and laundry once the clutter is cleared; the items will be dealt with later. 

Clean and Neat

Tackling the room without clutter present ensures a more thorough cleaning.  Dust all the furniture, and vacuum the draperies, carpeting and area rugs.

For a hardwood or noncarpeted floor, dust it with a static dust mop and wash the floor with an appropriate cleaner.  Remove small furniture from the room, if desired, before cleaning the floor.

If the room smells less than fresh, open windows and place a bowl of vinegar in the room for a few hours to help absorb the unpleasant aroma.  If the bed itself smells less than fresh, sprinkle it with baking soda, then vacuum the baking soda after an hour or two.

Bringing Things Back

Sort through a couple of the boxes of items removed from the room.  Put items designated for other rooms where they belong, which helps free other spaces of clutter as well.

Look through the box containing goods that belong in the formerly messy room: Hang clean clothing up on hangers or fold the clothing and put it in a dresser drawer.  Place books on bookshelves or shoes on a shoe rack, if there is one.

Chances are, a handful of items seem to have no specific space where they belong.  Look to these items for clues about the type of additional storage needed in the room.

Storage Solutions

Add a bookcase to a room if there are many small items to store, such as toys or books.  Organize small, plentiful items such as building blocks into fabric storage bins that fit in the bookcase, labeling each bin so items are easier to find.

Install shelves in a corner of a closet that is not already fitted with shelving or closet rods.  Clothing, toys, games and small sports equipment may be stored on the shelves.

If closet space allows, install a track-based storage system with wire shelves and bins.  These are highly customizable, so you can hang shelves at any height you like, or hang wire baskets beneath high shelves for additional storage space.

For extra storage outside the closet, purchase a few storage ottomans or a storage bench to stash items while providing a place to sit. 

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.

Photo Credits

  • Adam Korst/Demand Media
  • Adam Korst/Demand Media
  • Adam Korst/Demand Media
  • Adam Korst/Demand Media
  • Adam Korst/Demand Media