The Master Bedroom Saga: Part One

I know.

I find it difficult to believe as well.

I’m talking about my master bedroom again.

Here’s the thing.  We did pretty well during the summer on the house as a whole.  So far from perfect, but we were able to have friends over without it being a huge production.

But . . . when people did come over . . . things got shoved in the master bedroom.

Even though it was a thing-or-two at a time, it was back to being a total disaster.

Mmm-hmmm.  Disaster.

I’m not sure that I can ever promise I won’t ever use the Shove It In the Master Bedroom Before the Doorbell Rings trick again.  But the fact that my master bedroom was overcrowded with clutter even when it was at its best meant that the tiniest bit of extra sent it straight into disaster.

Do you remember the guest post I ran over the summer by reader Erica? She took drastic measures and took EVERYTHING out of her kids’ bedroom, and then only put back what had a real place in the room.

I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the six years we’ve lived in this house  when the room only had things in it that we really loved.  It was always a question of “How much of our stuff can we fit in here?”

Anyway, her guest post made me start thinking.  I got the crazy idea of doing that to my master bedroom.  Could I really remove EVERYTHING?

I talked myself out of it and then back into it about twenty times between the time when the post ran and the time when my kids went to school.

But the first day of school I decided to go for it.

Here’s the thing:  I do NOT recommend this for beginning deslobifiers.

Over the course of my Slob Life, I’ve started many big decluttering projects, determined to fix my house once and for all.  I’d take things out, get distracted . . . and the mess would then be spread out more than before.

Only after three years of purging HUGE amounts of stuff at a slow, steady and sustainable pace did I feel like I was ready to tackle a big Crazy Idea like this one.

Here was my plan (and my reasons why I hoped I was ready to take the plunge):

1.  I planned to remove everything from the room but the furniture.

2. I had a designated place to put the stuff I removed.  My gameroom is a room that I finally got under control early this year.  It doesn’t stay perfect, but it stays maintainable.  And I love it.  My motivation was high to not just move the master bedroom’s stuff there and leave it.

3.  I had a deadline.

Actually, two deadlines.  First, there was a donation pick-up coming to my neighborhood on Thursday and I started the project on Monday.  I had three days to get the top layer of easy-to-pitch stuff packed up and ready to leave my house.  Forever.

Second, our home group for church was scheduled to meet here not quite two weeks after I started.  This meant that the gameroom had to be clear so people could get to the guest bathroom that’s in there.

Those things combined made me feel like maybe I could do this.  But I was scared.

Ready for some before pictures?  I hesitate to show these because I’m just going to show the before pics.  Usually, I end the post with a picture of how much better things are.  But this way, you get to finish this post thinking, “Wow.  Just wow.  That . . . is bad.”


The view from the door.  (The door that was ALWAYS closed.)

My side of the bed.

It really is okay to be horrified.  I am.

So, are you wondering yet how this all turned out?

Well, be sure to stay tuned around here because I’ll be sharing the whole sweaty, dirty, back-breaking, ultra-irritating process over the next week or so.

If you’re reading by email, be sure to click the post title at the top to get to the blog so you can see the video:

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Also check out my other decluttering projects of the past and links to posts about all I’ve learned about how to declutter.



  1. 1

    Love your webisodes!!
    Can’t wait to see the next one!

  2. 2

    I am so guilty of the “quick people are coming over, shove all the clutter piles in mom’s and dad’s room”. I just last week spent time partially digging out our master bedroom which was looking so good just a few months before. I still have one more pile to attack, but to do it means attacking the project that lurks in that pile, so it might be there a while.

  3. 3

    I LOVE YOU! You make it so real! I am about 2 months into the process and I get so motivated watching you! 😀

  4. 4

    Do you remember the organizing show with Peter Walsh? It used to be on TLC. They would pull everything out into the front yard on tarps and sort it from there. I SOOOOO want to do that! It hurts my brain to organize in a small space, I trip over myself.

    I love your videos and blog!!!

  5. 5

    I love you!!! You give me hope and inspiration for being so honest and open. Thank you so much!!!

  6. 6

    Thank you for sharing. I’m one of those people. Everything gets thrown into our bedroom to keep the rest of the house manageable. However, then, our bedroom looks like something out of the show Hoarders. I went out and purchased new bedding and new curtains. It will be my reward for making our room right!

  7. 7

    yeah, my bedroom thinks your bedroom looks neat…that’s how bad it is 🙁

  8. 8

    You are BRAVE BRAVE BRAVE and I applaud you for telling it (and showing it) like it is. As you say, this is no method for novice de-clutterers, because you need to have a space available to move all the surplus stuff to. However, you have made discernible progress over 3 years and the message for the rest of us is that if we keep pegging away, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    I enjoyed Amy Ritchie’s comment – that her bedroom thinks your bedroom looks neat!

    Looking forward to the rest of the saga.

  9. 9

    I’m dealing with my linen closet(s) today and you have cheered me up immeasurably. Thank you Nonny! I’d love to see pics of your room with nothing but the furniture in it! I am thinking of doing this with my son’s room, too, –just to clean it–but I’m afraid it would upset him too much. (He doesn’t like change!)

  10. 10

    I sooooooo appreciate your willingness to share this…my room sometimes looks like yours sometimes better (rarely) sometimes worse (often)…I try to keep the “public areas” presentable…but I do yo-yo decluttering/cleaning…I’m like a bulimic housekeeper/binge-ing & purging…with not enough purging frankly. I have major blind spots and can walk right past the baskets/piles of clean laundry, and papers. And the layer of dust doesn’t seem to bother me at all. I am making the effort though to follow your example. So rock on Nony!

  11. 11
    Rebekah Hamon says:

    Just wanted to say “way to go” for posting your before pictures & being honest! I really enjoy your blog.

  12. 12

    I cleaned my oldest daughters room about a month ago using this idea. It worked well. Unfortunately I haven’t taught my daughter how to maintain the clean room. Mainly, because I’m learning myself. We are tackling my youngest daughters room this weekend the same way. I’m hopeful that I can teach them to maintain their rooms using baby steps, Just Like Me. Yes, we’ll learn together.

  13. 13

    This post is a MUST read for me. If only my 2 yr old wasn’t pulling at my leg right now. Will pin.

    ps. the pics don’t scare me at all. Just a hint about what my bedroom looks like. Uggg!

  14. 14

    Just found your blog via a cleaning schedule on Pinterest, and I have to say, it’s so refreshing to read about someone like me, and not some supermom who has it all together and manages to clean the whole house every day! We use the same toss-it-all-in-the-master-bedroom trick to clean before a party, so my bedroom looks very much like your before pics. I just signed up for your e-mails, so I’m looking forward to reading more. You’re definitely inspiring me to make a dent in my clutter!

  15. 16
    stephbo93 says:

    We have this room, only we call it “the office.” Yep. Looks almost exactly like it. I think there are some desks and bookcases in there. On a few occasions, I have almost gotten it passable, and then, you guessed it….people came over. Argh!!!!!

  16. 17

    How did you get in my bedroom? Seriously, the only difference is my dresser that has random papers, scarves,jewelry, candles, stuffed miss piggy, colored pencils, etc placed percariously atop. Don’t forget the dirty shirt my husband puts over the alarm clock to block out the light. I dont even want to know whats under my bed. You are totally giving me hope that I can do this, too. Thank you for being so transparent and honest.

  17. 18

    yeah my bedroom gets worse than that. I wonder what “normal” people do with their extra stuff when someone’s coming over, they don’t actually keep their house neat all the time, do they? Lately I’ve been putting my stuff in baskets, crates or laundry bags for quick clean ups, unfortunately I haven’t been able to find my wallet in about a month

  18. 19
    Kathy Krause says:

    My bedroom has always been the place to shove things that I will get to later…but unfortunately I never get back to it…I shudder to think what I will find in there, which is probably why I’ve avoided cleaning it for so long.

  19. 20

    Thank you for sharing. It’s not just me! Now I know!
    After a break up, I loaded my stuff into a rental truck and went from 6 bedrooms/ 3 stories to one tiny 2 bedroom 1 bath small 800 square foot apartment.
    After 3 filled to the brim 17 foot rental trucks were unloaded….needless to say, I was over whelmed. I just didn’t have the space for those “special things” I was saving for my future grandchildren, legacy (whatever excuse you like), etc.
    I literally purged 2 truck loads within 2 days. I had to! My new neighbors kept coming by to see if it was like “Doctor Who’s Tardis…..Bigger on the inside.”
    Being disabled, I needed lots of help & support. My 16 year old & her friends made a lot of trips back & forth for me.
    Having a yard sale in almost 2 weeks to raise money for my daughter’s sport of cheerleading costs. Who knew I had a bank full of name brand, expensive, collector type items in plain sight.
    I also got on “Offer Up” webpage & made a few quick bucks which helped with the motivation.
    I put my older sister on TLC, Hoarding Buried Alive… hindsight, I had just as much junk…mine was just amazingly organized & better blended. (Not really; but it feels that way.)
    Love love love reading all that you offer!

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