Decluttering the Dresser (Again)

(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

I shared in the Series Finale of the Master Bedroom Saga last week that I spent part of that final day decluttering the dresser.

It was its own project, so I am giving it its own post and webisode.

Basically, I had things in my drawers that hadn’t been worn in forever. All of the stuff piled on top of the dresser was the stuff I actually wear.  But . . . I couldn’t fit the good stuff in the dresser because the bad stuff was taking up all the drawer space.

When the room as a whole was a disaster, it wasn’t really that big of a deal for the dresser to look like this:

But if I was going to tackle the whole room, something (obviously) had to be done.


I had looked through these drawers many times, and hadn’t been able to part with certain never-worn items because of their sentimental value.

For example:

I bought the one on the left in London when I traveled there to visit a friend about a year after I graduated from college.

I bought the one in the middle at a Theatre conference when I was in college.

I bought the one on the right when I lived in Thailand.

See how they each have special memories attached?  See how they’re each more than fourteen years old?

But I was ready.

I had so thoroughly enjoyed my mostly-decluttered master bedroom for two months last fall.  These t-shirts were taking up precious drawer space, and that lack of space was the cause of a major eyesore in the room.

I was finally ready to part with them forever.

Memories are great, but a livable Master Bedroom is better. 

In the end, I decluttered more than I kept.

I even ended up with an empty drawer.


And I wasn’t tempted to go back through the stack of decluttered stuff and pick out a few things to keep. . .

That’s progress, people. 

And here’s the after shot:

I really wish I’d made the bed before I tackled the dresser. 




  1. 1

    Hi Nony,
    long time reader first time commenter here. I really enjoy your posts a lot, but never felt ready to comment because I don’t share your specific set of household challenges. But, even as I’m doing ok as far as cleaning, cooking and laundry are concerned, decluttering hits a nerve with me.

    I know the feelings of ‘but I bought this when (insert fond memory here)’ or ‘but I might need this’ only too well.

    Your master bedroom saga is really inspiring, and your dresser decluttering was very well done.
    I, too, have seen the light: a clean organized room is better than a bunch of items I only keep for sentimental reasons.

    Keep up the good work, Nony!


  2. 3

    The finished product looks great Nony – in spite of the unmade bed. Its amazing how much easier throwing things out gets as you practice, I keep seeing that in your posts (I’ve just read through your back catalogue in the last week or two) and I’m finding it myself as I undertake a project of my own -decluttering (at least) 5 things a day for the whole year.

  3. 4

    Good for you Nony! Great job! You are absolutely right — having the master bedroom in ‘maintenance mode’ for 2 whole months is HUGE.
    I like what you said about letting go of your sentimental souvenir t-shirts. You gave a little A-HA! moment — my neat, clean, orderly spaces are so much nicer to live with that now I’m more willing to give up important things like souvenir t-shirts that are supposed to help me remember and relive events of the past.

  4. 5

    I took the T shirts I loved and made pillows out of them, then bought pillow covers for them.I use them on the living room couch and change out the covers for the seasons of the year.Christmas,fall ect.That way I still see them and each brings back the memories attached to them but they are no longer taking up space in my bedroom.

    • 6

      What a great idea! I may have to make some throw pillows myself.

    • 7
      Ti Anderson says:

      You are BRILLIANT! I always thought about making my tshirts into pillows but they won’t match what little decorating I’ve done. Covers! Why did I never think of that!?

  5. 8

    So what did you do with the t-shirts? My husband has so many old concert t-shirts and he doesn’t want to part with any of them. Any suggestions?

    • 9

      I stuck mine in the Donate Box. I’ve heard of people making quilts, and I did try turning them into pillows at one point, but I was ready to get rid of these. They were all pretty ratty.

    • 10

      If they are t-shirts w/ memories, it would be worth paying someone to make a quilt. I’m looking for someone to do that for my son’s college t-shirts. Good luck!!

  6. 11

    yay you!

  7. 12

    Hey there, friend!
    Enjoying reading all of your posts I’ve gotten so far since subscribing but this one really hits home! I have a stack of t-shirts I no longer wear that have a home in my drawer, too (there’s even one from our time in Thailand!). You’re doing awesome, by the way! I love your great before/after pics; they’ve been inspiring to me. Maybe I’ll get brave and email you a few pics of my own that make me ask, “Really? Is keeping stuff really worth THIS kind of living?”

  8. 14

    One more thing. Your posts make me chuckle because they are SO YOU! Loved how you pointed out “my real hair” and “not my real hair” in the photo. *Smile*

  9. 16

    I could never part with my old concert T-Shirts… too many memories. Making them into a quilt is a great idea, but i wouldn’t know where to start. If i tried turning them into pillow cases it would look like i was lonely and dressing up my pillows in my old clothes for company…. I’ll hold on to them for now i think


  10. 17

    I’m a first time visitor to your site and just wanted to say THANK YOU. I love that you don’t try to be all HGTV perfect and set unrealistic goals. You represent reality and your tips are practical. Life happens and as you have shown, we can’t – and shouldn’t – spend 24×7 obsessing about our possessions. You show that we can have a comfortable and welcoming home without being picture perfect.

    I was laughing through your master bedroom saga because I recognized so much of myself in it (especially about trying to put away that empty wrapping paper roll!!) Thanks again!

  11. 19

    I love your zany sense of humor – your real hair and not real hair. 🙂

    My favorite quote from this post: “Memories are great, but a livable Master Bedroom is better.” So True!

    And, isn’t it a sweet feeling to have empty drawer space and not feel compelled to fill it back up? I got to experience that after my “Get Rid of Fifty Things” project last year. I still have extra drawer space in a few places, and in others I’m using the space more effectively. 🙂

    Good job on the dresser!

  12. 20

    Just finished watching the video – that necklace with your hoop earrings and bandanna give you a gypsy look. 🙂

    Btw – I’m missing a bright blue shirt with a collar. If you happen to see it, please let me know. 😉 Ahem. I haven’t found it in any of the obvious spots around here, so I assume it’s on vacation right now. (Unfortunately, I’m not sure where I’d put a shirt in a non-obvious spot.)

    The stuff in your underwear drawer – well, I have to confess… day I found my fork from breakfast in my pocket. Because, you know, everyone licks the egg off their fork and puts it in their pocket to carry around all day, right?

  13. 21

    One weeks worth of clothing?! I’m super impressed with your ideal.

    I too am a slob in recovery. Maybe this week I will go through my dresser…maybe.

  14. 22
    Amanda Lawrence says:

    Im just thrilled my dresser is not the only one that has looked like that. Well mine looks like that as we speak…. I don’t use what’s in the drawers because of the laundry baskets blocking The front of it… so I only use the top at the moment lol. So sad. I’ve got some work to do….

  15. 23
    Kristin says:

    My dresser is closer to the before picture than the after, but the real reason I wanted to comment is because I bought that middle shirt at a theatre conference in high school (13 or14 years ago) that was held in Corpus. I have a few shirts from conferences and of course show shirts that I really want to turn into a quilt, eventually. First I have to get the kitchen and garage under control (oh God, the garage…

  16. 24

    It’s not if you CAN or not (i.e. quilts and pillows) it’s if you WILL or not… I CAN take all my gowns and do something with them, but WILL I? um… no…

  17. 25

    Nony, aren’t you glad you at least have a picture of the T shirts taking up zero space to spark the memory? I always find that if one of my children is really really torn about not seeing a item again, that taking a photo often helps move them along toward letting go!

  18. 26

    “I even ended up with an empty drawer.
    And I wasn’t tempted to go back through the stack of decluttered stuff and pick out a few things to keep. . .
    That’s progress, people. ”

    That really IS progress. As I came to the empty drawer bit, I was thinking, ‘so she had space to save some stuff’. I’ve got a long way to go!

  19. 27

    I wish I could post pic of my bedroomlokks very similarr. Going to take your lead and tackle it! I know what I haven’tworn in decades but it looks like some are comkng back into fashjon – but I’m not tbat small anymore! ,

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