We started off the Spring Cleaning Challenge with the kitchen, and this week we’re moving onto the bedroom. Let’s start by decluttering and dusting to make the rest of the bedroom-focused week easier.
Although we started the challenge with the kitchen because of the pivotal role a clean and orderly kitchen plays in keeping our homes running smoothly (and everyone in the home well-fed and energized) it was tough to decide between that and the bedroom. You spend hours in your bedroom everyday recharging and the mental and physical benefits of having a clean space are enormous.
Our plan of attack for the bedroom starts with a simple but important step. We need to get things that don’t belong out of the bedroom so we can dust and clear the way for the rest of this week’s challenge
Bedrooms are terrible clutter magnets. We go in and out of them frequently, they have lots of flat surfaces to set stuff on, and many of us are guilty of sacrificing space in our bedroom to dump clutter and junk from more public spaces in our home. Before we dig into the rest of the cleaning, we need to get rid of all that stuff.
One thing we won’t be tackling at the moment—though we certainly encourage you to make time to do it in the near future—is deep purging closets and drawers. Going through dozens upon dozens (if not hundreds) of items hanging in your closet and packed into your dressers is absolutely a worthwhile endeavor but it’s emotionally exhausting to make sustained choices about what to keep and what to donate or trash.
It’s better to get your room clean and orderly before dumping out all your drawers and tackling a clothing purge. We didn’t have you dump out all your cabinets to get your kitchen clean, and we’re not going to have you dump all drawers either. That’s a power deep cleaning task for another day.
To that end, instead focus on two easy targets today: things that don’t belong in your bedroom and things that might have been useful or interesting once, but that may not belong in the bedroom anymore.
What doesn’t belong in the bedroom? Start with anything that ended up in the bedroom because you never put it away, stashed it there because company was coming over, or simply put it in your bedroom because you had no idea where to put it at the time.
We can’t possibly list every item that might fall into this category, but we can suggest some questions to prompt whether something stays or goes:
- Do you use it daily, and for a purpose in the bedroom?
- Does it contribute to sleep or other relaxing bedroom activities?
- Is your bedroom the most logical place for this item?
With those questions in mind, it becomes easy to quickly sort through items. Amazon returns you haven’t shipped back? They don’t need to be in your bedroom. Baskets of laundry you haven’t gathered the energy to put away? It might seem logical to put them in your bedroom until you do, but it just creates visual clutter and a trip hazard. Clothing tossed over furniture? Put it away or get it out of the bedroom. Books you finished reading? Unless they’re actually part of your decor and properly shelved, they gotta go too.
You might think you don’t have any trash in your bedroom, but everybody does because it sneaks up on you. Cull everything small that’s useless or doesn’t belong in the bedroom. Items to keep an eye out for:
- Little odds and ends from your pockets or purse that ended up on your dresser, on your vanity, or in your nightstand.
- Extra buttons from outfits, as well as old clothing tags that didn’t make it to the wastebin.
- Small haircare accessories like barrettes, bobby pins, ties, and so on.
- Skin and lip care like hand creams and chapsticks—you might want to keep one of each in your nightstand drawer but a half dozen of each floating around your bedroom is clutter.
Just taking the things that don’t belong out of your bedroom and taking a few minutes to locate all the little odds ‘n ends and either purge them or place them where they belong makes the next step in today’s cleaning challenge so much easier.
Dusting your bedroom isn’t wildly different than dusting other areas of your home, although there are two things to consider.
First, you’ll want to be really thorough. You spend roughly a third of your life in your bedroom and the cleaner the air the better.
Second, for the same reason, we’re skipping fancy dusting sprays. Not only do they tend to build up a layer of gunk when you use them frequently, but most people (especially those with sensitivity to strong scents or prone to respiratory irritation) prefer to sleep in a room that doesn’t have a heavy scent of Real Ultra Lemon Anti-Static Juice wafting off every hard surface. As such, our supplies list is really simple.
You can get by dusting with a rag (and a healthy dose of patience) but we think you’ll find the following to be useful timesavers:
- A high-quality hand duster
- A pack of microfiber cleaning cloths
- (Optional) A step stool
- (Optional) A vacuum cleaner with hose wand or stick vacuum
When it comes to dusting you really can’t beat microfiber. Modern microfiber hand dusters are borderline magical and snatch dust right up. Microfiber cloths are great too because the dust gets trapped in the surface so much easier than regular cleaning clothes, and on top of that, the microfibers do a great job lifting minor messes like makeup smudges or hand cream residue off your bedroom furniture.
OXO Microfiber Hand Duster
It's like the feather-duster of yesteryear, but on steroids.
You don’t need a vacuum to dust, but if it’s been a good long while since you’ve got serious about dusting, it can be a solid dent in the dust when you would have otherwise burned through lots of microfiber cloths.
Dyson Ball Multi-Floor 2
An excellent all-around vacuum that has a handy hose perfect for snagging cobwebs and vacuuming door and window frames.
It’s also handy for getting dust off high places without showering it down on everything else. Speaking of high places, you don’t absolutely need a step stool (especially if you’re tall enough to comfortably sub in at an NBA game) but it makes dusting the tops of things like door frames and ceiling fan blades a lot less precarious.
In every dusting endeavor, start high and work your way down—it’s how we did it in the kitchen and it’s how we’ll do it in the bedroom too.
- Start at the top. Use your hand duster or vacuum to nab cobwebs and dust bunnies from the corners and molding work. Move from one side of the room to the other to avoid missing any spots.
- Dust the light fixture and/or ceiling fan. Ceiling fans are usually caked with dust, so we recommend using a vacuum to suck it up or dampen a microfiber cloth. The key with the microfiber is to sandwich each blade, sliding the taco-like cloth down the blade like you’re cleaning peanut butter off a knife. It will help contain the dust bunnies.
- Pay special attention to the inside of light fixture globes and domes—if they’re particularly dusty cleaning them off will make it feel like you put a brighter bulb in the fixture.
- Dust off the tops of everything above the midline of the room: this includes the tops of all the door frames, the tops of picture frames and artwork, and the tops of tallboy dressers, as well as the top of your TV if you have one in the bedroom.
- Dust all around your head and footboard. If you have an ornate bed, use the hand duster and microfiber cloths to really get into all the curves and texture to get all that dust away from where you sleep.
- Dust all the flat surfaces around the room including the dressers, nightstands, console tables, and other furniture. If you’re noticing you weren’t aggressive enough with the decluttering, now is a great time—as you’re forced to move things to dust—to evaluate if you really want something on your nightstand or dresser.
- Detail dust the front and sides of your bedroom furniture. Trim around the edges of drawers, base trim, and other highly textured areas of furniture are often overlooked areas where dust settles.
- Using a clean and slightly damp microfiber cloth, wipe down everything at the end. As you work little bits of dust float around and settle again. The last quick pass over horizontal surfaces will catch the last of it.
That’s it! Just like with our kitchen week, during the bedroom week we’re breaking things down into manageable daily chunks people can squeeze in after work each day. So for now, we’re done with the bedroom and, hopefully, you’ll breathe a bit easier tonight with all that dust out of your bedroom.