By Kara Mason

How to Clean Your Room (and Keep it Clean)


Create a space that invites calm.

There’s just something refreshing about a clean room.

It’s not just about having an aesthetically pleasing space; having a clean and organized bedroom can have other benefits too, like better sleep and feeling more relaxed — and that’s really what’s important, right?

Even more convincing is a study from Indiana University, which found a correlation between a clean home and physical fitness. Other research has found that cleaner spaces help with healthier eating habits.

While it can be difficult to jump into cleaning your room, you’ll definitely feel better afterward. 

So where do you start? 

Start by planning 

Take an inventory of how your space makes you feel. Writing out some organized thoughts will help you realize where you really want to focus your efforts (and what can wait until later). If things seem generally untidy, you can focus on clearing up one space at a time; however, if you feel you need a big shift, you might want to start thinking about moving some furniture and doing a major reorganization.

Once you know where you want to start (and where you want to end up), you can start thinking about the steps you need to take.

Earlier this year, Ink+Volt featured a Home Organization Challenge with expert Shira Gill. The goal was to change your life and home over the course of a month with just 15 or so minutes each day. Much of what Shira focused on in that challenge can be applied to how to clean your room, whether you want to do it in one big afternoon or slowly over a month or so.

Shira abides by three big rules to keep things simple and clean:

  1. Embrace negative space. Instead of adding more to your home, consider what you can subtract to create some breathing room. 
  2. Invest in uniform storage bins and baskets to create a cohesive streamlined aesthetic that’s easy on the eyes.
  3. Practice a 5-minute tidy before bed. Reset your space so you can start fresh, feeling good the next day.

The art of minimalism when figuring out how to clean your room can admittedly be a little tough — which is why Shira created the challenge in the first place — but taking one chunk at a time to achieve a zen space is worth it. 

Here are some ways to achieve that perfect balance between calming aesthetic and seriously clean.

Channel feng shui 

The ancient Chinese practice is great for inviting balance into your space and consequently helps keep your bedroom very tidy. 

A few musts from experts: 

  • Avoid clutter under your bed. Anjie Cho, feng shui expert, says the energy from items under your bed can transfer to you, so the cleaner, the better. 
  • Cho also recommends being mindful about where you place your mirrors. “Many feng shui experts advise against having a mirror directly in front of your bed because it may cause infidelity in a relationship, and it might also be jarring to see your reflection if you wake up in the middle of the night,” according to lifestyle website Daily Burn.
  • Placement of your furniture also becomes very important in Feng Shui. Try to position your bed so that your head isn’t on the same wall as your feet when you’re sleeping. It’s a more relaxing position, often called a “commanding position,” that makes you feel safer during sleep.
  • Decorate with soft tones. Jarring colors aren’t so relaxing, so opt for neutral tones. 

Wrangle the cords 

Many of us are guilty of keeping phone chargers next to our beds. That paired with lamp cords can make for a clunky look. Try keeping those out of the way with twistable cord ribbons or tucking them behind a dresser to achieve a cleaner and less cluttered look. 

Organize the closet

This is perhaps the most dreaded part of cleaning any room. Closets are a quick-fix for clutter, taking it instantly out of sight -- but unfortunately, it goes out-of-mind as well. This can lead to chaotic closets where nothing is easy to find, and useless items end up being stored for years.

If your closet gives you stress dreams, you can fix that. Evn though it might hurt, start by taking everything out. Everything. It’s good to start with a clean slate here so you don’t inadvertently recreate the problem you’re trying to solve.

Make an active decision about every single item. Will you keep it, or should it go away?

Next, decide what you want to fold and what you want to hang. Put things in organized piles -- or, if you already have everything you need (like hangers, dressers, shelves, etc) then get started putting everything in it's final place. If you run out of steam, don't try to rush the job. Simply set the remaining items aside and come back to it another day, where you can put everything in a real, permanent spot.

When you’ve made it that far, baskets and drawers become your best friend. Rather than becoming home to mounds of miscellaneous items, they can help keep other closet items (like items you use infrequently but need around) organized without being cluttered.

Desk space

It can be really difficult to keep a desk space clean, especially when it’s in your bedroom, but don’t fear! Much like with your closet, doing a thorough assessment of your items can help you reset your desk.

Start with any drawers or storage space. Empty out these unseen areas where clutter goes to die. Get rid of old papers, unused supplies, and any trash that’s accumulated. Cute storage boxes, paper trays, and folders will help and keep these organized going forward with the items you need to keep. 

Next, focus on the surface space. Aim to keep that as decluttered as possible. File all papers away to their proper place and make sure there’s a space for everything you need to keep on your desk. Be brutally honest about what really needs to be there. Anything extra should go into a drawer (in a thoughtful location).

At the end of each day or week, practice Shira’s 5-minute tidy routine. Clutter is part of life; it is not a failure if you need to clean up (or even do a deeper reorganization) every once in a while. That is what will keep the space from becoming unmanageable. 

“No drop” zones

We all have that corner or chair where we dump laundry, bags, and other items we don't want to deal with. 

It’s difficult, but it must be dealt with. Designate certain areas of your room “no drop” zones, because no matter how many times we swear we’ll get to it later, it just never seems to happen. 

Hang those shirts, recycle those old shopping bags that have been sitting around for weeks, and make this space a no drop zone. This way you’ll have less to clean in the future.

Add a chic hamper to your closet, mount a coat hook on the wall, or drop a decorative basket by the door -- anything to keep this former "drop" zone from becoming cluttered again. Look at what normally ends up there, and create permanent solutions (that are convenient enough for you to actually implement).

Keeping floors clear of clutter is an easy way to achieve a little more calm.

What other ways do you keep your bedroom clean and decluttered? If you have any good tips, share with us on social! Find us at @inkandvolt. We love sharing more ideas about keeping a happy and organized home.