How to: reclaim the spare room

organise the spare roomI’ve been presenting my Space and Time Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © in a workshop format around Victoria for the past few months. I have received great feedback on the method that I use to tackle all sorts of household organising challenges. This week we will use the S.Y.S.T.E.M © to reclaim the spare room.

Perhaps the kids have taken over the spare room for a toy room, or it’s become a dumping ground for anything and everything. Reclaim the space today and turn it in to a designated space for an office, art studio or guest retreat. Let’s start with a plan . (Image courtesy

  • Firstly, as outlined in Too Much Stuff! it’s important to understand where the dumped stuff in your spare room  is coming from.
  • Spend some time having a look at the room and making a note of the items that do not belong in the spare room.
  • Create a clear picture of what the space is going to be used for in the future. Will it be a guest room, art studio or craft room (see lots of inspirational pictures on Pinterest).
  • You will have more success making your life simpler by making it clear to yourself (and others that access this room) that you are making an effort to dump less stuff in this room.
  • Make time in the calendar to get started on the problem area.
  • I suggest  you make a number of appointments in your diary, set yourself a time limit and get started (make sure you schedule time to tidy up and distribute unwanted items at the end of the time limit).
  • Jot down 3 things when your time is up that you will do in the next session.
sorting contents of boxesSorting: (putting like items together)
  • If you have a number of boxes stored in the spare room choose one box to sort through (don’t get carried away trying to do too much).
  • Or if you don’t have boxes in the room, grab an armful of stuff that does not belong in this room and put them in a box/tub so they can be distributed to their permanent home at the end of the session
  • Keep sorting items in the time you set yourself above.
Things you no longer need (decluttering): 
  • Set up a box “donate”, “throw out” and “give to other” and start decluttering.
  • Ask yourself these questions to help decide if you want to keep an item:
    • When was the last time that I used this?
    • Do you absolutely love it – does it fill you with joy?
    • Is it functional?
    • Does it have any sentimental value (someone you care about gave it to you)?
    • Is broken or need mending? Can you be bothered with the cost and hassle of repair?
    • Does this item represent something you intend to do in the future? (lose weight, read a book, study conference notes, tidy the stationery cupboard, sort photos)
    • Does this item represent past memories, happy or sad?
    • Do you only look at or enjoy this item when you are decluttering?
    • You’re keeping it – where does it go?
  • Wipe down flat services and cupboards and pack up any other tools you used in the process (zip lock bags, rubber bands, boxes, dividers/containers)
  • Get in the car right now and get rid of what you can (from your “donate”, “throw out” or “give to other” boxes) as soon as you come to the end of your time limit .
spare room organisingEasy storage:

Take the “easy storage” step once you have spent considerable time sorting and declcuttering items in the spare room.  Don’t get too carried away with plastic tubs and other storage boxes before you know what you’re storing.

  • Consider storage options and find a permanent home for everything now that you have sorted all the things you have found in the spare room.
  • Cardboard boxes or plastic tubs you already have at home will be fine for the job.
  • But if want to achieve the “perfect storage look” with clearly labelled containers, matching baskets and containers now is the time to work out what items you need to store each collection of “like items”.
  • Don’t get too carried away: the storage items should suit your budget, be easy to use and easy to repeat.
Maintenance: keep it up!
  • Each time you return an item to the spare room (you may now refer to it as the guest room or art room etc), make a conscious decision to return it to its permanent home in a neat, ordered position.
  • It takes the same amount of time to return things to their permanent home as it does to throw it anywhere. But you will need to spend time later on to sort it out again if you just chuck it in.
  • Periodically revisit the Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M © to make sure everything is still in it’s permanent home.

You will find that following this Organising S.Y.S.T.E.M ©  periodically will help you let go of stuff. The  S.Y.S.T.E.M © will also help you wrangle control back from the extra clutter in your spare room in no time at all and move you towards a simpler life.

Do you have routine for decluttering that you would like to share with us, or have some tips for setting up a guest room?

If you need a hand decluttering check out my decluttering services  or  Contact me today for a chat about how small changes to your planning can make a big difference to the stuff that you surround yourself with.