Do you dread the thought of family or friends coming to visit because your spare room (if you even have one) is overloaded with “stuff” you’ve been meaning to deal with?
You’re not alone. We estimate that 75% of families with spare rooms have no capacity for hosting spare people.
If you want to make a room usable in a short amount of time, you can employ some basic organizing strategies.
Your guest room is a jumble, where do you start? Many people load up paper bags and stuff things in closets. There may be a better way. It involves changing your mindset from immediate gratification to long-term goals.
As you approach a pile of unrelated stuff, notice that there are usually distinct categories of things in the piles.
- Clothes and bedding
- Craft supplies and tools
- Dishes and Decor
Do a “rough sort” with the things in the room using broad categories.
Determine if some of the items just need to be donated or if there are homes for them elsewhere in the house (is there room in your linen closet for those extra blankets and comforters, for example?)
Once you’ve decided what you’re keeping, procure banker’s boxes or plastic stackable bins—just enough for this project. Consider buying a couple shallow bins (usually 6” high) for storing things under the bed.
Fill the bins with “like” things. Label them – noting the category of items stored, the location where the stuff came from and the date it was packed.
Use space under the bed and in the closet. Or dedicate some space in the attic, basement or garage.
If there is no extra storage space, you can employ the pop-up credenza technique. I’ve made some make-do credenzas with bins filled with off-season clothes, boxes of books, trunks full of sweaters … even masses of canned soda cartons! The credenza is created when an attractive bedspread, tablecloth or piece of fabric is draped over it and tucked in as if wrapping a package.
If you have no room for a credenza, you may have a free corner to stack boxes. Use a folding screen to hide the stack.
Space bags can be very helpful when you have lots of fabric/bedding. It can be put into a large bag and, with the air vacuumed out, it takes up a third of the space.
In any case, while preparing for guests, you’ll be halfway through organizing your stuff. After your guests have left, pull out the bins and begin making those postponed decisions.