The “Make and Pile” Method Might Save Your Messy Bedroom

When faced with a messy bedroom, sometimes it’s easier to just shut the door than to climb the mental mountain of starting to actually pick it up. Disorder begets disorder and entropy is an easier, downhill path to take (especially when only you will see the room). But what if you were to flip the script and use an orderly room to motivate you before you put even a single errant item away?

Step One: The Clean Slate

First, make your bed. Tighten the sheets, smooth the coverlet, and fluff the pillows. This is the eye of the storm, your oasis, your tiny snowball of motivation. And it’s going to grow.

Step Two: The Laundry Basket Method, With a Twist

If you aren’t familiar with it, the laundry basket method is a quick-cleanup technique that involves grabbing a laundry basket and picking up everything in a room or even the whole house that isn’t where it belongs. In this bedroom cleanup, you’re going to use your nicely made bed as your “laundry basket.” Pick up every single thing that isn’t where it belongs and put it on your bed.

Behold your now-clutter-free room, also known as your growing snowball, your second visual motivator toward a recovered bedroom. Your goal is to get that perfect bed empty again—soon.

Step Three: Clean Your Clean Room

Now that your room is completely picked up, it’s time to clean it. Start at the top with dusting and work your way down to a thorough vacuuming. Now your room is the very picture of spic-and-span. It feels so good to see your progress. You wouldn’t dream of messing it up, and it’s perfect — except for that glaring, incongruent pile on the bed! Yikes! Put that stuff away!

Step Four: Put Every Single Thing Away Where it Belongs

You may wish to categorize the items that are on your bed. Laundry, books, things from other rooms all in their own piles. Or just pick things up one by one by one by one. This part is tedious, but don’t stop. You need a place to sleep tonight, and that stuff is not allowed to leave your bed unless it goes straight where it belongs. Here’s where working on your unicorn skills might come in handy.

In a typical clean-up routine, this is your first step, but with this make-and-pile technique, this step is your last. You’re done! By making an all-messy bedroom neat except for one concentrated spot (okay, one towering Mt. Everest) on the bed, you’ve let your oh-so-close end result push you up the hill to the beautiful summit of a fully clean bedroom and the rest that comes with it.

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