Is your room regularly tidy? Do you enjoy a bit of cleaning?

If you answered no to both of those questions, same lol.

Unfortunately, there comes a time in everyone’s week/year where our natural habitats of clutter and crumbs are considered to have gone on for too long, and our tidier friends and family members tell us we need to sort our shit out. Not to worry – this article will talk you through speedy tidying tips and tricks for people like you and me who would rather be doing anything other than cleaning. Stick with me, kid. I promise it’ll be over soon.

Pre-tidy prep: set the mood. (5 mins max)

Okay, you don’t like tidying, but you have to do it some time, so why not try to make it a little more bearable? Get your laptop/speakers/boombox (hey, if I had one I’d use it all the time) and stick on some upbeat tunes. Nothing slow, nothing sad – you don’t wanna be cry-singing or sleeping instead of tidying. Pick something you can sing along or bop around to, and you’ll feel a little more energised. If you’d prefer, put on a podcast to listen to. Don’t put Netflix on! You’ll just end up sitting and watching it instead of getting your room sorted. Don’t dwell on what you pick too much – I know you’re just procrastinating.

If it’s warm enough (and you’re not going to end up with loads of bugs indoors), open your window so that the room will air while you’re busy.

You ready? Let’s get this out of the way so that you can get on with your life.

1. Make your bed – but don’t change the sheets yet! (2 mins)

Making your bed will give your room an instant lift and make you feel more positively about tidying the rest of it. If your sheets need changing, don’t do it yet! Your made bed can act as a surface for organising things while you’re tidying, and if you’re putting stuff on it that’s been lying around on a floor in need of hoovering, it might get a little dusty or messy. So don’t change your sheets until I tell you to!

2. Assess the damage… (2 mins)

If you’re like me, you want to see results fast. Take a minute to figure out what is most making your room look messy. For me, it’s almost always clothes. They’re bulky and when they’re crumpled they make the place look awful. You could be the same, or it could be dirty dishes, or piles of notes and books if you’ve had exams recently. Whatever it is, start with it. If clothes are your main problem, go on to step 3. I don’t have any particular techniques for notes or dishes – just get the dishes out of your room straight away or put the notes in one big pile, and you’ll see a big difference almost instantly.

3. Sort out your clothes. (20 mins)

Tidying clothes is tedious, but I’ve got a good strategy that makes it way faster and easier than you’d think possible. I have a lot of clothes (see below), but I got this pile done in twenty minutes – if you have less than me you might be even quicker.

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First, pick up all your clothes – whether clean or dirty – and pile them on one quarter of your bed (half if it’s only a single). Next, grab all your unused hangers from your wardrobe and put them in the middle of the bed. Now plonk yourself onto your bed next to the clothes. Yep, you can tidy while sitting down. See, it’s not so bad!

Now you’re going to work your way through the pile of clothes. Dirty clothes go on the floor, either at the side or the end of your bed – somewhere within throwing distance.

Tip: please consider the environment when deciding what needs to be washed! If it smells bad or has visible stains, it definitely needs cleaned. If it’s just crushed, it doesn’t need to be washed. Try to change your mindset from washing based on the number of times worn to washing based on actual necessity. You’ll save loads of space in the washing machine, and you’ll spend less money on electricity. 

Clothes that don’t need washed should be folded or hung on a hanger. Use one quarter of your bed for folded clothes, and the other quarter for clothes on hangers (remember you put all the hangers on your bed for easy reach?). You should end up with something like this:

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Tip: If you run out of hangers, have a look in your wardrobe and see if there’s anything that can be folded away for now – e.g. if it’s summer, there may be a few chunky jumpers that you know you won’t wear soon which could go at the bottom of your wardrobe and save you some space for the next couple of months. If you still need more than 5 hangers after this, I would consider buying more or re-evaluating what you hang and what you fold.

Once you’ve sorted everything into the right piles, put the dirty clothes in your laundry basket or straight into the washing machine, then put the folded clothes in your drawers and the hung clothes in your wardrobe. If anything looks too crushed for you to wear right now, either put it away as is  – in the hopes that it flattens out while hung up or folded – or take ten minutes to iron it. Your choice really depends on whether you generally have time to iron something before you go out or not.

Bonus: Give your drawers and wardrobe a quick tidy before putting your other clothes away. I personally have my wardrobe sorted into jumpers, shirts, and dresses, and then bulky things like my onesie go at one end. This makes it a lot easier to find something to wear!

Take a moment to wallow in your success. Okay, that’s long enough.

4. Clear the debris. (5-10 mins depending on room size)

I always end up with both rubbish and totally random items all over my floor when I haven’t tidied for a while. Here’s the quickest way to deal with this: grab a bag for rubbish, and pick somewhere on your bed or floor for recycling. Go round your room holding the bag, collecting rubbish and placing any random items on your bed for sorting later (and any recycling in the place you chose). Include all your surfaces in this too. You’ll end up with a rubbish bag ready to go straight in the bin, and a pile of items to be put away on your bed.

Bonus: If you want a full clean, you can take everything off your surfaces and put it on your bed for the next step. I was lazy and just did the visible areas this time.

Bonus bonus: Do this under your bed, too.

5. Wipe down. (2 mins)

Grab a dust cloth or piece of dry kitchen paper and get rid of any dust on your desk/bedside table/ornaments. It’s fine to dump it on the floor – this should be clear but not vacuumed at this stage. If there are any stains to get rid of, do that at this stage.

6. Clear the bed. (time entirely depends on how much stuff collected)

Okay, now it’s time to put away all the random things you’ve collected from your floor. I can’t really estimate a time for your here – it depends how messy your room was and how big it is.

Tip: If there’s a lot of stuff that goes in different rooms, grab a shoe box or something similar and put the items for each room in it to save time.

Tip: If your room still looks cluttered after this step, you might need to invest in some kind of organising furniture. I hang all my bags on the back of a door, and I got this flat-pack shoe rack last year that I can easily take with me when I move to a new apartment. If you’ve got a lot of lotions and potions sitting out looking untidy, I’d recommend putting anything you haven’t used in the last fortnight into a drawer or bathroom cupboard and just taking it out when you need it. For makeup, I got this cute bucket from Tiger which makes my surfaces look a lot tidier.

7. Change (or shake) your sheets. (1-5 mins)

If your sheets need changing, do it now! Even if they don’t, you should give them a good shake onto the floor. This will remove any crap that might have been brought onto your bed by your clothes or random items. You can just give them a brush with your hand if you prefer.

Tip: To change your sheets faster, turn your duvet cover inside out. Put your hands inside it and line up the corners of the duvet cover with the corners of your duvet. Grab the corners and jump around! You’re aiming to flip the duvet cover onto the duvet – because you turned it inside out, it will end up the right way round. Line up the other two duvet corners with the cover corners and give it a shake to straighten it, and you’re done. It’s way easier than doing it with the cover the right way round the whole time. OR you can try this cool sausage trick I just found while trying to find a video of my technique.

8. Vacuum away. (5-10 mins depending on room size)

At this stage, your floor shouldn’t have anything left on it, your surfaces should be wiped and tidy, and your bed should be clear and free of any dirt. All that’s left now is to hoover!

Bonus: Wipe down any mirrors or other objects which may be dusty that weren’t included in step 5 before you vacuum.

9. Finishing touches. (30 secs)

Shut your window (or leave it open if you want idc) and spray a little air freshener or room spray around. Even some perfume will do if you don’t have anything else. A clean smell will make the place feel properly tidy.

You’re done!

Congratulations amigo, we’ve tidied our rooms. Have a beer or a nap or something, you’ve earned it. You can tweak this a little for other rooms in the house if you need to, e.g. for living areas you can use the sofa or chairs instead of your bed. In general, it’s best to tidy (put things away) from bottom to top, and clean (e.g. dust/hoover) from top to bottom. You’ll save energy and you won’t be going over stuff twice.

I hope this helps you tear through your tidying! Let me know if you enjoyed this and if you’ve got any tips or tricks that I haven’t mentioned.

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