Thursday, February 23, 2012


Ask a Clean Person: The Uncluttering

At the risk of utterly embarrassing myself by not adopting a more restrained or salty or hip posture, I'm going to say exactly what I'm feeling and thinking about today's post, which is an update on how our friend with the impossibly messy room fared in her attempt to tackle the clean-up: you guys, I am so freaking excited about this reveal!!! If you could see me right now, you'd be all Why is that woman grinning? And are those tears? Is she crying? She seems crazy, let's cross the street. But seriously I'm so overwhelmingly happy at what she's accomplished, and so impressed by the commitment that she's shown that I have actually teared up more than once during this writing. I'm also more touched than I can explain in mere words that she's trusted me to take this journey with her. And sure, that may be a super hippie dippy thing to say, but it's the truth of my reaction and I don't care to hide it.

I'm also writing this from California so when I'm done here I'm gonna go, like, do some yoga and talk about my centering process.

You've all read her original correspondence, and also know that I asked her to send along photos of her room, with the understanding that they would be for my eyes only. To follow is what happened next. She is LW for Letter Writer and I am JCP for Jolie Cleanperson.

December 24

I think my days at Grey Gardens are limited.

LW: I'm including photos of the entire room (I'm warning you... it's so bad!), my desk (dishes have since been removed!), dresser, teeny bookshelf and closet (it's wide-ish with sliding doors and some overhead storage). I'm open to buying some new furniture if it'll help me organize stuff and it's not too expensive.

January 5

LW: This is exactly what I needed — something very specific with an actual timeline. I'm getting started this weekend. And yes to posting the photos on the site!

January 10

JCP: Checking in to see how you're doing! Anything giving you major trouble??

LW: The only thing giving me trouble is my schedule. I just finished up a super-accelerated, week-long class, so I didn't get as much cleaning done as I had hoped, but I did finish "Week One: Saturday," and I'm starting "Week One: Sunday" tonight. Your suggestion to make the bed was the best ever. I haven't even had a properly made bed with sheets since I lived in my other house, and it makes the room seem way less disgusting. The only other thing giving me trouble is the lack of working space. There's just sooooooo much stuff on the floor. Planning was another good suggestion. And you were right to emphasize it because I tend to skip over things like that. So, overall just a little behind, but I'm making it work.

JCP: "Your suggestion to make the bed was the best ever." You've just made my entire year.

I'm so glad it's going well so far, and seriously don't even worry about being "behind." No such thing — work on your own schedule and pace, because we all have lives and that's a good thing! Keep me posted and I'll check in too — I think it will be interesting to compile some of your observations as you're going along into the follow-up post, which is why I hollered, not because I'm nagging. You have a mom for that.

February 5

JCP: Wanted to check in to see how you're doing (not nagging, I swear!) and to let you know that some of the commenters have been asking how you're process is going, which is so cute — they're really excited for you!

LW: I'm glad to hear that commenters have been asking about me! While things are DEFINITELY looking better — I'm able to walk through the room with ease, I wouldn't be terribly embarrassed if I had a guest and I've found a lot of things I thought I had lost — there's still a lot of organizing to do. I've realized that I have WAY too much clothing for my space, and I'm looking into creative ways to store it. Thanks so much for starting the organizer Pinterest. It's given me a ton of ideas.

You would probably be happy to know that the cleaning I've been doing has spilled over into other areas of the house. I gave my bathroom a Jolie-style deep clean about a week ago, and it's been amazing.

JCP: Ahhh I'm so psyched for you!

February 20


LW: Okay! I already had some plastic under-the-bed organizers, a plastic drawer set that I'm using for towels, linens and random items and a hangy shoe rack thing. I also have an over-the-door hanger that I'm using for sweaters and bras. Money is pretty tight for me right now what with buying textbooks and all, but I have some specific items that I'm planning to buy in the near future for organization purposes. I've determined that I need:

1. A small bookshelf because I have waaaaaay more books than I realized. Luckily my roommate has a bookshelf with some space that I'm using for now. I like this one from the pinboard.

2. A jewelry organizer for hanging earrings and necklaces. Again, way more earrings than I realized. I'm definitely going to make this pegboard.

3. A box for important papers that I need to keep within reach. Right now I'm using some file trays that are not very cute.

4. A bathroom organizer so that I can get all my toiletry items back where they belong.

5. A shoe organizer. The crown molding idea is super cute.

6. I love the wine rack towel holder. I'm doing it.

7. The IKEA Helmer drawer unit.

Some notes about the process:

Like I said before, making my bed was the best thing ever. I can't believe that at one time, I didn't even have sheets or pillowcases on my bed. Gross!

The biggest problem in my room was trash and random papers. I had to wait a week to put trash and recycling out because our bins literally wouldn't hold any more. Even when I was just tidying up today, I filled them up again.

I got rid of a TON of clothes that didn't fit, fit in a weird way or I'd had since high school.

After cleaning my room, I was surprised at how personality-less it looks. I guess I couldn't ever decorate while it was so messy. It's pretty much a blank canvas right now, so I'm excited to hang stuff on the walls and make it look cute.


Okay now do you see why I've gone loony with joy over this whole dealie??? Isn't this the best???? Ahhhhhh!!!!

One of the things that's just tickled me pink is the number of emails and comments I've seen in which people talk about how they've started making their beds! You guys! You know how sometimes you ask if I'm proud of you?? I'M SO PROUD OF YOU! But mostly I'm really psyched to hear things like, "It's made my life so much better!" (And also "You were totally right!" Because I love it when you tell me that I'm right.) And I kind of got excited about this idea that I've been referring to in my head as The 30-Day Bed Making Challenge? And then gagging at how absolutely horrible that term is in a terrible women's magazine cover line sort of way. So as not to use such a dreadful string of words out loud, I'm stealing from Janie and declaring this little project of mine Let's All Make... Our Beds! Here's the deal: for the month of March, I'll tweet regularly about the joys of bed making because the fun never stops around here, rah rah fold boom bah! (My Twitter handle is @joliekerr btw. And we should have a hashtag for this thing! How about #LAMOB? That's terrible actually. I dunno. I'll work on it.) Think things like tips on sheet maintenance, links to bedlinens that are on sale or ridiculous in an extravagant way or totally outrageous in some shape or form, quotes about beds... the sky's the limit really. (By the way, I just fell down laughing at myself for using the words "quotes about beds.") How about a pinboard?! Sure, we have to have a pinboard. We are, after all, 'Pinners!

I hope you guys will join in the fun and make your beds and change your lives and then maybe when we're all done we'll reward ourselves with silk pillowcases and talk about how great our skin looks!

Previously: The Post Valentine's Day Clean-up.

Jolie Kerr is not paid to endorse any of the products mentioned in this column, but she sure would be very happy to accept any free samples the manufacturers care to send her way! Are you curious to know if she's answered a question you have? Do check out the archives, listed by topic. More importantly: is anything you own dirty?

Photo by Media3d, via Shutterstock

244 Comments / Post A Comment


I find this so inspiring! All of my bedrooms have looked like this, seriously! My room now is not QUITE so bad, but it's still bad enough that when I go on vacation, my RUSSIAN PUNK DUDE FRIENDS take it as opportunity to come AND CLEAN MY ROOM FOR ME. Russian punk boys. In their 20s.


@psychedelicate Do you have any extra Russian punk boys laying around? If so I'd love to keep a few at my house for cleaning purposes.


@olivia If you are in the St. Petersburg/Leningradskaya oblast' area, we could work something out. Although one time I came home from 3 weeks in the States and found out they had thrown out all of my fancy bath toiletries because they were in a plastic shopping bag and my friends thought it was trash. :(


@psychedelicate My dad did that once to all of my shoes! They were in a trash bag for easier transport. Still bummed about it.


@psychedelicate my brother did this to me when I moved back home from college! I had to take a step ladder to the local park (which had the dumpsters), climbed over the brick wall, and fished out the bag. Turns out, of course, that the gate was unlocked the whole time.


@psychedelicate I want to hang out with your Russian punk boys so bad....


@JoanTition they are the best <3


DON'T get rid of your Russian Punk Dude Friends, seriously, they are the best ever (except for that time they chucked your toiletries by accident).


@psychedelicate You are clearly doing a better job of living in Russia than I did. Where were my Russian Punk Dude Friends in 1997, I ASK YOU (ALL).


@stonefruit It took a couple of years to find them.


@psychedelicate Yes, it is. You know what. I think BillionaireFriends.COMit's a good pla'ce to me'et sweet friend even rich sin'gles. I am certain I can me;et a ri;ch man there, b'ecause I am at the begin;ning of my car;eer and I would like someone's sup;port.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@psychedelicate Ignoring the spammer... seriously, where does one find a Russian punk boy in his 20s because that maybe just topped "Italian basketball player/model" in my book.


@annepersand My dad did that once with ALL MY CLOTHES. I had just come home from a three-week school trip and washed everything and stuck it in the bag prior to folding them... At least I got new clothes out of it.


Simply beautiful!@j

Tragically Ludicrous

Wow. That's amazing, I am super-in-awe. My place is a mess and there's stuff everywhere, but maybe I can fix it?

Also, I make my bed every day now and it IS better. (Especially since I live in a place where, due to size and it being subletted, furniture-included, the bed is pretty much the only place I can do anything.)


About decluttering, say you have a lot of different kinds of junk you want to get rid of: old computers, old furniture, VHS tapes, broken DVD players, etc, and you don't have a vehicle and are too lazy to sell stuff on Craigslist. Has anyone called in a company to pick a bunch of junk up and haul it off? Is it stupidly expensive?

Confession: I don't make my bed.



Advice given without knowing where you live: see if there is an electronics recycling center (or organization that periodically sponsors an old electronics drop-off location) near you.
A couple times a year, there is a lovely green group that sets up a truck in my neighborhood and people just haul their outdated computer crap/phones/TVs over to the truck and away they go.

Goodwill Industries (again, depending on where you live) will come to pick up a large donation -- so if you have usable furniture, that might be a way to get rid of it.


@bangs i called for a small dumpster once to help me clean my yard (we had a... pile) and it was like $20. with my trash company you could get a small dumspter 2 times a year for that price.


@City_Dater I live in Vancouver. The problem is a lot of the organizations will only take specific things (like the computer recycling people won't take routers?!)

@LeafySeaDragon But can you send stuff like DVD players to the dump?


@bangs I have used 1800 got junk during a move one time. I think it was about $150. Cost depends on the size/amount of stuff you want them to take (explained on their website). The main thing we wanted to get rid of was a couch but by the time they got there we had added a few other small items to the pile.


@schmuhl I was wondering about them. It was a good experience?


@bangs Free Geek (on the east side of Vancouver) will take things like routers. Have a look at their website to see if they'll take things Encorp won't. I have a bag set aside to go there myself.


@bangs Oddly enough, Edmonton is the best place for trash disposal. They accept everything at the ecostations from paint to batteries. And we don't have to sort our recycle, just rinse and blue-bag it (and we recycle soooo much stuff). And our garbage is sorted and composted!


@gobblegirl Is Councils doing Hard Rubbish only an Australian thing? Here, it's part of their job to pick up extra junk like that that won't fit in regular bins. Some councils do it once a year, but mine you can call them up to five times a year to book them. Then you just leave your stuff on the curb, and after half the neighbourhood has picked through it some contractor with a truck comes and takes it away. They don't do paintcans or I think mattresses? And you have to take doors of fridges etc, but it's pretty great.

It's also pretty great if you are a poor uni student living in a posh area, because you can pretty much fit out your whole house with other people's furniture that wasn't good enough for them to even bother taking to goodwill, but which is WAY better than you could afford to buy.


@bangs Best Buy! (I assume you have those in Canadia.) Mr. Artemis and I were living with a substantial pile of e-trash that we didn't know how to dispose of properly. It turns out that Best Buy will take just about anything electronic, including TVs, DVD players, computers, monitors, audio and video cables, cell phones, etc. There are no fees and few restrictions. Here's a link to their recycling program:

This is my new username

@gobblegirl Apparently Edmonton has spoiled me. I has no idea this was not a normal type of thing for a city to do. Huh.


@Artemis47 I was going to say Best Buy. They are awesome. The only thing that they don't accept (no one does, they're not recyclable) is VHS cassettes, which is why i have approx. 1 million VHS tapes, still.


I actually gasped when I saw the "after" photo. You go, LW!


@jacqueline for real the after photo is incredible. You mean to say there were actually floors under all that?!

Lily Rowan

@jacqueline Me too! I actually said "Oh my god" out loud. WAY TO GO, LW!!!!!!!

nevernude cutoffs

@jacqueline Four for you LW!! You go LW!!


@nevernude cutoffs And none for Gretchen Wieners.


@jacqueline It made me think of squalor survivors. Except with less initial squalor. Have you guys seen that website? I love/hate it there. It gives me FEELINGS.


@Lily Rowan Me too! I said it out loud too! GOOD JOB LW! Imma go change my sheets.


@jacqueline ME TOO! and i am at work, so i had to come up with some fake reason to be excited about an Excel sheet.

YAY LW! it looks SO good now. Well done!

i am a Bed Maker and i have always been proud of that. tidy beds, FTW!


Bed-making is the best, Jolie you are totally right! I have been doing it for over a month now and it's amazing how one little thing brings such a feeling of inner calm.


@spoondisaster And such a fabulously clean and smooth surface for the putting away/organizing of the clothes, a thing I do often (...but apparently not well enough to be once-and-for-all satisfied with the outcome).


@Hellcat It's interesting that you say that, because it is definitely the best surface for clothes folding. I used to leave the clean clothes in the laundry basket for DAYS but when my bed is made I can just dump and fold! Cleanliness breeds cleanliness I guess.


@spoondisaster You can even sit right there on it while doing the work/watching TV!


@Hellcat I used to read erotica out loud with my friends and Erica Jong once described a bed as "an intergalactic star ship" so of course when I sit on my bed to fold laundry I pretend I'm a star ship commander.


This is incredible! Congratulations LW, you are the awesomest.

Related note, I was cleaning off my desk at work today (because seriously, it was getting ridiculous) and as I set aside papers I thought to myself "wouldn't Jolie be proud of me right now"?

And related to related: any hints/tricks/tips on cleaning paper messes? My next project is attacking the bottom drawer of one of my bookshelves where my papers (stuff from work, tax receipts, student loan stuff) have sat glowering for years. And I'd really like to dispose of most of it safely, but I don't have a shredder and I'm not sure what else I can do with it. Halp.


@area@twitter BURN THEM WITH FIRE! (Except seriously. Burn it all.)


@area@twitter 1. Make sure you wanna get rid of them. If you're hesitant, get an accordian folder or portable file thing and file them each away, even if has to have its own damn file. And then if you don't want it, see if you know anyone with a shredder OR (and this is the real reason i even logged in to comment) BUY A SHREDDER AND RETURN IT WHEN YOU'RE DONE.


@area@twitter I mean or burn it.

The Lady of Shalott

@area@twitter Get a pair of scissors and some latent rage. Cut out any sensitive information (names, addresses, sensitive numbers, etc.) and burn all that isht in the sink. Or your outdoor barbeque! Or fire pit or whatever. The rest of the material can be disposed of however you want! Or BURN IT ALL.

Orrrr a lot of communities do shredding events once every couple of months, where they get a gigantic shredder truck, you drop off your sensitive documents, and then whisk it into a gigantic confetti-maker and you never have to worry about it until then!

Lily Rowan

@area@twitter Just buy a shredder. Mine was like $20, and it's kind of crappy, but it works OK for home use.

For the start, though, I think there are places to bring your things to shred? Or do you work in an office?


@area@twitter I dunno where you work, but if you have a desk there I'm assuming they have a shredder or some sort of confidential destruction? I bring my stuff to work and shred it there.


@Lily Rowan You can also get a puppy, they work the same way.

Lily Rowan

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Hahaha! When I got this comment in my email, I had no idea what I could have said that it was in response to! (To which is was in response....)


@area@twitter I have this problem and I am burning all my papers with fire! So much fun. Except that I have so much paper that it is taking a long time. Perhaps one extremely large fire this weekend!


@area@twitter I have a file-box thing for this stuff. I am so bad about putting stuff away, so I have a file tray and I file stuff once a month. I can manage that. Then once a year I go through and get rid of bills more than a year old, etc. I used to take them to work to shred but now I burn them with fire :P


@AniaGosia I tried to burn a few old letters from an ex, but weirdly, it didn't work a) in a wet soup can and b) outdoors in February in Iowa. Adding vodka did not help. I ended up putting it in the garbage disposal - effective, but not as soothing as killing it with fire.


@area@twitter IF you burn, though, don't think you can just dump it all in a metal trash can and throw in a couple matches and have instant Hobo Fire...start small, and add to it slowly. Learn From My Mistakes.

dracula's ghost

I find this very inspiring. Also NOTHING helps a lady in intense school classes like having a clean, organized room to retreat to for your monk-like scholarly studies.

I'm going to send this to my friend whose room is so messy that one time the burglar alarm in her house went off accidentally and the cops came, and when my friend got home and saw all the cops they were like "don't go in there ma'am, there's been a terrible burglary" and she had to tell them that no, it looks like that normally. And they were all appalled. "Cancel that, chief. We've just got a REAL dirty lady here."

this later happened to lindsay lohan so at least my buddy is in good company

(my house would look like the LW's "before" photo were it not for my persnickety husband, thank god for marrying your opposite)


@dracula's ghost oh jesus, that is my worst nightmare.


@dracula's ghost Ahaha that happened to my best friend and her husband years ago when there was a fire in their building and people were inspecting the surrounding units.

H.R. Vixen

@dracula's ghost my cousin's tent got ransacked by a bear and she did not realize it until we found some of her tampons/pads (unused ones, thank goodness) scattered outside in the bushes
oh yeah


* rapturous applause*


Wowzers, this is so amazing! And seriously, making your bed every morning is the best advice I've ever received for keeping the rest of the bedroom tidy. Even if I do it, go shower, and come back to two lumpfuls of cats underneath the covers.


@LastMinuteLulu I'm so glad I'm not the only one this happens to. I could understand it if we lived in, say, Tibet or Montana or somewhere actually *cold*, but we live in TEXAS. The low last night was in the 60's. The cats still ended up between the down comforter and the bedspread, all of which I kicked off in the night.


The great thing about bedmaking is that it gets easier when you do it every day because you only have to deal with one night of rolling around aaaaand you don't even have todo a good job of it to look good. Like I bought all these cute pillows but now they just collect dust except on special occasions but thats OK because my bed is made! Yay!


Oh my gosh. Letter Writer!

1) At my worst depressed state ever, I lived in what I called A Nest because it was not very pleasant for me, and your Before room... is kind of reminiscent of those days.

2) Your After room looks so relaxing and calm, even before you You-ify it with cute stuff. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Eeeeeeeeeee!

3) I may or may not have done the no sheets and pillowcases once or three times when they were still wet or whatever when I went to sleep and then I was tired and then... and yeah. Yeah, I don't like that feeling.

OMG please send photos when you have new cool organizing stuff because it's like Hairpinpartment Therapy!

So cool! Thank you for following up!

The Lady of Shalott

@PistolPackinMama I have actually been so tired and so incapable of making my bed late at night that instead of making my bed, I just rolled myself up in quilts and slept on the floor. It was not a good night.


@PistolPackinMama My housemate does this not infrequently; one time she made it up to two weeks before she got around to putting the clean sheets back on the bed (if she'd left it even one more day I was going to just make up her bed myself because the idea of sleeping like that for any length of time freaked me out). I get that sometimes you have great intentions of doing a grand cleaning of the linens and then time/energy gets away from you, though, and I have a simple solution: two sets of sheets! When it's time to wash the ones you've been sleeping on, you rip them off the bed and IMMEDIATELY put on the 2nd set. (This plan only works if you also immediately wash the sheets you just removed so they're ready and waiting when it's time to change them again.)


@Jinxie Yes, the 2nd set of sheets. That somehow everyone I know that does this DOES NOT HAVE. Which I don't understand...


@BethH Well, I do have a 2nd set of sheets. I also really like the ones that are drying/wet/whatever so much better. They are prettier and comfier. And also I have a system that just shuts down when it's tired. So.

There is no good reason for my not changing my sheets. There is only the fact that it happens, and it's kind of yucky.


@BethH I don't do it right away. I usually strip my bed first thing on a weekend morning, put the washing on, hang the quilt out to air and sometimes put the pillows outside, too. I leave the mattress bare for the day, to air. Sometimes during this day I will nap on the naked bed, with a naked quilt, but very rarely because i also hate it. I always always make the bed before night, even though it's one of my least favourite jobs. I just cannot deal with naked bed. But fresh aired bed is amazing.

Sometimes I wait until my boyfriend has gone home for the week before making my bed, so that I get fresh new bed all to myself :P

Making my bed is the only household task that I manage every day. I am pretty terrible at being consistently adult with house stuff, but if my bed isn't made I feel all grouchy. If it IS made, there's at least one neat clean spot, and also I don't end up sleeping around piles of laundry that I've yet to fold. My partner is generally much more of a Clean Person than me, but he does not make his bed, just crawls into his previous night's nest of blankets. I cannot handle it!


@The Lady of Shalott I once slept in a pile of clean laundry I'd thrown on my naked bed in the mistaken belief that it would force me to put the laundry away and put the sheets on before I could go to sleep.


Wonderful! Now I feel like if you can do it, I can do it.


I think the hashtag (hatchtag?) should be #makeyourbed. Who's with me?!


@wee_ramekin #makeyourbedseriouslyitisdisgusting

one cow.



@one cow. Someone is going to make your bed or I'm going to clean your fucking toothbrush?

one cow.

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Ha!

Emma Peel


Also, you might have already figured this out, LW, but once it's clean it's so. much. easier. to keep it that way. My room wasn't quite this bad at the beginning of the year but it was quickly headed that way, and I did a huge clean-up in early January and I have kept it nice since then and it hasn't even been hard! (And I usually would clean up my room and it would get disgusting again within a couple of weeks.) You realize really quickly that straightening up a day or two's worth of clutter takes almost no time. I'm really hoping that now that it's been 7+ weeks it is Officially A Habit.

And yes! Bedmaking!


I had people coming over for the first time in AGES on Sunday, so the dude and I basically devoted our weekend to cleaning. IT FEELS SO GOOD TO LIVE IN A CLEAN SPACE. Ok, so, the bed doesn't really get made, but the dishes get done! Nothing is left on the floor! Things get put away right away or they get thrown away! I never would have believed that living in a clean apartment would have such a dramatic effect on my mental space, but hot damn...it DOES.

I've been inviting people over! And I can't wait to go through all my clothes and get rid of most of them! Maybe we'll paint the walls! Buy new rugs! EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE IS WONDERFUL NOW.


@tortietabbie Yes, this. Sometimes i get cranky at my house for being small and dark, etc. Then I do a big clean and walk around going 'it's so NICE when it's clean!' Unfortunately I am bad at maintaining it, and having a boyfriend I only see on weekends kind of takes up my deep cleaning time. Lesse, clean the bathroom? Or snuggle on the couch watching Sherlock? GEE HOW DO I CHOOSE.

sceps yarx

@Craftastrophies I choose Sherlock! Again!

The Lady of Shalott

CONGRATULATIONS, LW!!!! Things look so much better now, and it gets so much easier from now on! We are all so happy for you!!!


@The Lady of Shalott Yes! It gets easier, and in no time Clean Person habits will be second nature! I am so impressed with the work LW did!


While we're talking about making our beds... how often do you people buy new sheets? I wash mine regularly, but I'm thinking the time has come for new ones, as I've had mine for a couple of years now.

The Lady of Shalott

@Dancersize My mom, who is big into sheets and linens, replaces hers once every couple of years. She also washes them once a week, so that's about the level of use they're getting? By contrast, I have a set of sheets on my bed that I have had for like...an embarrassing number of years, and they are all faded and slightly shrunken and in terrible condition. So I think somewhere in the vein of "a couple years" is pretty average. Don't be like me with my disgusting faded sheets.

@Dancersize Let's put it this way... when I went to college, I brought twin sheet sets that were on my bed as a small child. Right now my full size bed has flannel sheets that were my parents' before they got a queen size bed 4 years ago, and the sheets are probably about 10 years old.

I've noticed that a lot of my sheets that are cheaper (i.e. my $30 set from Target) wear out and sort of lose their shape, but the nice Garnet Hill sheets that my parents buy, and I subsequently bring home with me from vacation when my mom cleans the linen closet, last forever. When they finally get so ratty that I can't use them (i.e. holes or super thin or so god awful that I don't even want to sleep in them anymore), I cut them up and use them for rags. No seriously, they're awesome for buffing your nice shoes, cleaning the rosin dust off your violin, polishing jewelry, dusting, etc.

Hot water, plenty of detergent, tumble dry keeps sheets lovely. I keep them in a big cedar trunk that used to be my great-grandma's when they're not on the bed.


@Dancersize I generally grab some on sale once a year or so, but change them on the bed every 2 weeks-ish. Macy's usually has some good sales going on. I bought these (tinyurl.com/8a28mvb) in the Florabunda pattern recently and they are cheap, cute, and awesome. I am a hot sleeper so I like my sheets on the thinner side and these are great without being scratchy or pill-y. Plus tons of cute prints.


@Dancersize Whenever you start or end a relationship.


@bitzy preeettttyyyyy.

I just do the fitted sheet and quilt, because I get all tangled in sheets. I've found the IKEA sheets actually pretty amazing quality. Certainly better than other sheets i can afford at this point in my life. They do get thin and need to be replaced every couple of years, but they do make truly excellent rags for cleaning, etc.

The Lady of Shalott

@Craftastrophies Oh! Also SAVE YOUR OLD SHEETS IF YOU EVER PAINT AT HOME. Because old sheets are THE BEST dropcloths for covering furniture and floors and stuff. They are about ten thousand times more manageable than the awful plastic dropcloths and nicer to walk on, too.


Thanks for the suggestions!

@The Lady of Shalott
Dropcloths! That's brilliant! I want to paint my dresser this summer when I have some extra time and money, so if I do get new sheets, I'll totally save the old ones.


Because sheets only get worn and thin in the middle if you have really good quality ones that you don't want to get rid of and you're a bit handy, you can cut them up the middle and sew the outside edges together then hem the cut edge and press the seam nice and flat (because it will be in the centre of the bed).


Those photos are amazing -- like two completely different rooms!


First off, great, great job, LW. You rocked that.

Secondly, re: making the bed, ehhhhhhh. I make other people's beds, like if I stay the night somewhere, because I think that's a polite thing to do, but I'm never that polite to myself. I just don't care. If I'm expecting bedtime company, sure, I'll make it, but if it's just me coming home to my bed? Eff that.

miss buenos aires

@Emby Here is what I don't get about making other people's beds: isn't it actually easier for them if you just strip the bed you've been sleeping in? I am always torn about this. I usually strip the bed but fold up the sheets so it doesn't look terrible.


I don't have a twitter but how about posting pics of your awesome clean room with nicely made bed ... that is my favourite thing because i am insanely voyeuristic

eta: "a twitter" lol


LW, as someone who in the past had a room that looks eerily similar to yours (as in, my brother would often joke that there was a half eaten ham sandwich and pizza box under my bed) and now who has a cleaner place, I salute you. It feels so much better right? Clean people were right all along!

The Lady of Shalott

@beanie Once I had a friend who was staying at a third friend's house, and before she left, she abandoned a half a ham sandwich on the bathroom counter. She found it several hours after the friend had left. Where did it come from? Especially considering that there was no ham in the house?

She is a wonderful and sweet girl, but not the world's best houseguest.


@The Lady of Shalott My dad once left a baloney sandwich in his school satchel. In his closet. For the entire summer.

christina tesoro

I was WONDERING about this yesterday! Now must go back up to read it!


I like #LAMOB. If it's after a hashtag, people might think we are a mob of dangerous and exciting Spanglish ladies. La Mob! La Mob of bedmakers!


Isn't it crazy how making your bed makes your life better? I used to think "I'm basically only in my room when I get out of bed and when I get back into it, so why would I bother to make it?" But since I've been doing it, everything in life is better! Birds are singing! I am an Adult!!


@paddlepickle My favorite is when I make it in the morning insanely early when I'm still half-asleep, and then I get home at the end of the day and am surprised by morning-self's foresight. It's like a special treat! [Almost] every day!


@klibberfish In my family, we call this "a gift to the future."

a horde of great crab things

I just went and made my fucking bed. YES.

...And felt a bit sad about the state of my bedding. It's not good, yo. Can you guys remind me in a couple of months' time to ask for bedding for my birthday? I've never had completely matching duvet cover, sheets, and pillowcases. I did not even think for a minute it was possible for me to want such a thing as badly as I do right now. My bedding is- or was, at its prime- cute and mismatchy and retro, but just imagine! Matching pillow cases! Look at me, now, ma! All grow'd up!


@a horde of great crab things Keep an eye on sales! I got a stupidly good deal on my Crate and Barrel duvet cover because I showed up at just the right time. So if you see a pattern you like, keep half an eye on them, and when they go on sale, BUY BUY BUY. Also YAY for bedmaking!

Porn Peddler

Raising lighter, clapping, making cake, etc.


I also had a great room-overhaul this month! Mine wasn't quiiite so bad, but months of being very busy had let things get out of hand. I went through my clothes and filled up three big bags to donate, and I also got some under-bed storage bags for seasonal clothes, and now that my drawers aren't so full that they don't close, I'm much more likely to actually put clothes in my drawers! They stay off the floor! It's magical! AND I've been making my bed for at LEAST 20 days now (I wrote the date that I finished cleaning my room on my whiteboard so I can track how many days I've been good for - competing with myself is the only way to motivate me.) I even got around to hanging posters and art, which is pretty sad as I've lived here for two years now. I, too, often think of how proud Jolie would be if she could see what I've done - and imagining disappointing her if I were to fall off the clean-wagon helps me stay on!


@crookedlegs So many exclamation points. Being clean makes me SUPER PEPPY!


@crookedlegs My room is usually mostly in control (not so the rest of the house, but I try to keep my bedroom mostly clear). But a couple weeks ago I took EVERYTHING out of my wardrobe. And I washed it. And before I put it back in, I tried it on. Some things went into the rag bag, some to goodwill, some are going under the bed in seasonal storage or just in case - my weight is in flux so there are some too small things I don't want to ditch for now, but I don't need them staring me in the face. But they are still sitting out because I need to go through my seasonal/too small storage and ditch some of that - I mean, something that's a bit too tight, fine to keep for a while. Something that's two sizes too small? Nope. I'm going to try to find time to do that this weekend. I also need to clear out my drawers - that's underwear, socks and pjs mostly - because they are so crammed full that I can never find anything. I've promised myself that if I do the sort I can buy myself a couple of expensive outfits. I'm trying this whole thing of 'I'm better of with two nice outfits that I can find and wear all the time, rather than ten that don't quite fit, are shabby and I can't ever find anything that matches because there's too much shoved in there'. It's been pretty amazing so far.


How crazy does it make me that reading this makes me want to trash my room just so I can give it a major Jolie-style deep clean in order to feel as amazing and proud as LW must right now?


@regina_phelangi not just you! my room is pretty clean/organized and now I'm like BUT I WANT A BEFOOOOOOORE PICTUREEEEE

my head, it is not screwed on straight.


@redheaded&crazy @regina_phelangi
I am having the opposite problem. My ENTIRE house looks like the before picture, and between school and work I'm busy from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm today and tomorrow. I feel so gross but by the time the weekend rolls around all I want to do (when I don't have work) is sleep, take my dog hiking, or study.)
Ugh. I think I am giving myself an ulcer just thinking about it.

So, what I guess I'm saying is; my filth hole is availible! :)

Haha just kidding. Do not clean other people's filth holes. Seriously that's revolting.


@The Kendragon But Jolie, you are inspiring me. I am gonna try to put at LEAST four hours into it this weekend, and am gunning more for eight.


@The Kendragon I am having this problem, but with less excuse. I am trying to keep reminding myself that doing a little bit every week night (the only time I really have free for the next three weeks argh as if I have a social life how did this happen) actually makes a dent. Or at least stops it from descending into actual squalor. But it's HARD, especially when I'm starting from partial squalor.

Basically, I need my boyfriend to move in with me and clean all my things. Except then he'll probably get rid of me, I am disgusting.


@Craftastrophies I was really clean when I lived with my boyfriend. Then I dumped him cause I was sick of doing all the house work when I worked 20-30 hours a week while taking 17 credits. He took 13 and didn't work. So maybe living in squalor is my shitty way of saying "so there!"????

Neve Garrett

Not to rain on the morning-bed-making parade, but it's my understanding that leaving the bed unmade -- at least for a couple hours in the morn -- can help the bed air out / be +dust mite-free. Dust mites thrive on the warm and damp, so if you make your bed right away, all that gets trapped. For all of you who have allergies!

Neve Garrett

@Natalie Eve (But I always smooth out the pillow/sheets, and fold the sheets & comforter down so it still looks nice and tidy:)

Neve Garrett

@Jolie Kerr OF COURSE you have -- why am I not surprised? ;) Thanks, as always!


The pinboard comes up as not existing??


@Slutface Bad link. Here's the real one! http://pinterest.com/joliekerr/let-s-all-make-our-beds/

nevernude cutoffs

@Slutface http://pinterest.com/joliekerr/let-s-all-make-our-beds/

This work?

Jolie Kerr

It's been fixed, thanks for letting me know!!!


That is an incredible transformation! Congratulations! And bed-making: such a key place to start. Makes everything better...
I'm super excited about the bedding pinboard; I regularly sigh over the linens at Coyuchi and their dreamy, elegant, and ridiculous photos of beds in forests and on cliffs. Someday I will be able to afford nice bedding...


LW, that is AMAZING. It looks so nice and relaxing and not-stressful now; before, I could feel my shoulders crawling up around my ears just looking at the mess. I AM SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF YOU!!

I say you should stalk Overstock and Land's End and all those other nifty places until you find a marvelous, gorgeous, wonderful duvet cover and shams for cheap and then buy them. They will be your thank-you gift to yourself.

EeeeeeEEEEE! It looks *so GOOD*!


The After pic is awesome!

A question about bed-making...I had converted myself to a Bed Maker, but then my dude and my schedules changed so now I leave for work while he is still sleeping peacefully (lucky bastard). So he never makes the bed. And I get home at like 7 and feel ridiculous about making my bed less than 3 hours before I get back into it. So, any dude-centric bed making suggestions/motivations? I have tried to explain the "little effort, big difference" factor and he agrees and makes the bed for maybe 2 days and then nothing. Help!


@bitzy Tell him that it means a lot to you to see the bed made when you come. Make it clear that even though it might not mean much to him, that it makes you feel good to see that.

Honestly, I couldn't give three shits about making my bed, but if I'm having company over, I make it. If he cares about you, he'll be willing to put in that small amount of effort to make you happy.


@bitzy blowjobs? (jk)


@Emby Tried both of these things! Worked for a little while!

But there are enough things to waste brainspace over and I feel like I have reached the allotted amount of nagging on this particular topic. So I am trying to get HIM to want to do it.

I even tried to make up some bullshit about how if it isn't made then the spiders and bugs can get in and make homes and then SPIDERS EVERYWHERE. But he is a scientist so he actually researched it and came back at me with the dust-mites. And I am the one who hates bugs , not him, so I just gave myself another healthy complex about bugs.


@bitzy I sexed an ex soon after they'd made the bed once. Rest of our relationship, that bed was made flawlessly, every single day. Just a suggestion?


@bitzy Honestly... if he won't do it, I would just make the bed right when I got home. Like, as I was taking off my work shoes and putting on jeans or whatever. Because even if it is only made for three hours, it's the three hours when I am there to care about it.

But I like having a made bed a lot.

And maybe that will get the point across that it really matters to you and he will do it sometimes? And if not, the bed will still be made.


@PistolPackinMama Right. And, like... it's the same amount off effort: time you are there to notice ratio. It's just shifted a bit. And yeah, I'd say that would bring home the idea that it is something that you value enough to do even if you're tired, etc, rather than just something you'd prefer he did.

Bon Vivant

my fiance and I moved in together, and we have a bedroom downstairs that is essentially unusable because of all of my stuff. When we didn't live together, i was able to kind of ignore the amount of stuff that was clogging the joint...I've never seemed to be able to get it together. He is an engineer, and loves order. I'm an artist , and have a crazy acting/work schedule. I'm super inspired by this, and hope to make the same kind of progress, and soon. I fear I'm driving the poor man batty, and it's making me feel overwhelmed and depressed. :( I want to be a good partner, and I feel like I can't see beyond this mountain of clothes, art supplies, papers, and nostalgic bullshit.


@Bon Vivant The thing that works for me is accepting the fact that I create clutter, and working out systems to minimise it. So, like, I am just not going to hang up my clothes as I take them off, sort and file my papers in real time, or whatever. But I CAN make systems where they have a holding place - two laundry baskets, one for dirty, one for clean, and a file tray. And then I make time to go through once a week or month or whatever time works for you, and sort it. BEFORE it gets full to overflowing (I am working on this part).

I craft, and my craft desk gets so piled up and messy that I can't use it well. I find making a dumping ground, and making a point of clearing it regularly, makes my crafting time much more productive. This sometimes means I have to stop a bit before I'd like, so I have time to clear up after myself, but it's totally worth it. I also have made everything a home. If it doesn't have somewhere it can go away, it gets thrown or donated. This is hard, but at least I can find the things I DO have!

Basically, I am about eight in terms of neatness. So I ALSO have to be my own nagging mum telling myself to pick up as I go. Turns out it really pays off! Good luck getting it together - give yourself props, it's really tough work!

nevernude cutoffs

Another reason to make your bed? The sexiness. Seriously, #10 on Apartment Therapy's Sexy Bedrooms.


@nevernude cutoffs That fourth sample of a "good, sexy" bedroom is really rubbing me the wrong way. I just can't imagine a situation where a giant photo of a stranger above the bed is a turn on.

I do think cleanliness is sexy though! I can't relax in a messy space.

nevernude cutoffs

@SweetAlissum I thought most of the article was totally creepy. However, I did like the decision to include the picture of Prince's bedroom!


@nevernude cutoffs Oh good, I'm glad it wasn't just me!

And yes, Prince's bedroom is hilarious!


Question for all of y'all: how many of you own multiple sets of sheets? I've got 3--two "everyday" sets and 1 flannel that I bust out only when it's super cold--and I thought that was pretty normal but I've met enough 1-set'ers here and IRL that I'm starting to wonder if I'm the odd one.


@Jinxie I have two sets of regular sheets and two sets of flannel. I can't imagine having fewer than two sets.


@Jinxie i have about 6 sets. i see pretty ones on sale here and there and i can't resist them. though my bed and the guest bed are the same size, so they can be used in both rooms. i like to browse linens at Tuesday Morning. they often have gorgeous things at great prices. i suspect they have a contract to sell left over merchandise from neiman marcus and garnet hill.

Porn Peddler

@Jinxie I have three sets of plain cotton and one set of jesey sheets, but that's also between me and Mister so...


@Jinxie I technically have 3 sets, but only 1 that I use (it's the only set that matches the new bedding I bought..urm... 4 years ago). You're definitely not the odd one. I've been "in the market" for a new usable 2nd set for forever, so in reality, you're probably just the not-lazy one.


@Jinxie I think I have two sets for each bed. I can't imagine only having one - what if it gets dirty but you can't do laundry immediately? There has to be a back-up set so you can throw the dirty ones in the laundry basket and worry about them tomorrow, but still sleep in a clean bed tonight.


@Jinxie I have 2 regular and one flannel currently, although I can't use the flannel because my room is over the furnace and I sweat like a hog with those on the bed. I want more, though - now that I finally have my own place with a grown-up bed I'm all PRETTY BEDDING YES PLZ.


@Jinxie I have, at last count, one set of cotton, one set of linen (BEST THING EVER), two sets of flannel, two different duvet covers, and a whole lot of extra pillowcases that match the sheet sets.

But then, I am An Old, and was trained to have three of each type of sheet set by my mother, who said, "One on the bed, one in the laundry, one in the closet."

For ease of use, everything (except one set of flannels) is white. The one set of flannels is a dark royal blue, because redheads with freckles look hot (according to the man who inspired the sheet purchase in midwinter) on dark royal blue.


@Mingus_Thurber You are my hero. You've inspired me to add even more sheets to my linen closet.


Wow that reveal was awesome! I admit, I cheated and scrolled down right away to see the after picture. But then I went back!

OK so Jolie and Hairpin universe, I have a bed making question. Is there an easy way to make a bed that's against the wall? My boyfriend likes our bed against the wall (I don't know why since he has to climb over me to get into bed after I'm already sleeping...gahh!) and our bedroom is pretty small and had windows in inconvenient places so there's not really a better place for our bed to be. Also, my boyfriend has 6 pillows (not exaggerating) so whenever I try and make the bed it never looks very good. Is there a trick to making a bed that's against a wall? Also, should I secretly burn 4 of my boyfriend's pillows?

@nogreeneggs I need this advice, too! I live in a tiny studio apartment and unless I want my WHOLE living space to be a bedroom, the bed is in the corner. Ugh.


@nogreeneggs My boyfriend's bed is in the corner (small room, large bed) and when I make it, I just pull the top mattress away from the wall a teeeeensy bit so I can tuck the sheets and comforter down and everything looks nice. When he makes it, things kind of get thrown everywhere, so we're not going to talk about that.

Alternately, could you fold the side of comforter and sheets that are against the wall under themselves, so it looks like a clean folded/tucked edge without having to move the mattress?

About the six pillows: Organize as much as you can, maybe stack them all up neatly at the head of the bed?

raised amongst catalogs

@nogreeneggs If you disposed of the pillows one at a time, he will be less likely to suspect you.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Oh those are both really smart suggestions, especially moving the mattress! Yay it seems like less of a hassle already!

His pillows are ridiculous, he needs them to line the entire wall and also one for his feet. But he can't just get a body pillow. I'll just continue trying to organize them, biding my time, until we move and oops where did the pillows go? Muahaha!


Oh that gives me an idea! I'll just leave the pillow too close to our dog's crate and she will destroy it for me! He won't get mad at her and he's too lazy to buy a new pillow himself. Eeeexcelent!


@nogreeneggs my bed is next to a wall! I just half-ass the side close to the wall and have it so that there's just barely enough sheet/cover to tuck in and make it look neat.


@redheaded&crazy My bed is next to the wall and it's a pain in the butt. But I only have a fitted sheet to change once a week, and a comforter which I just flick out so it's straight. No tucking in required.

I do have a stupid amount of pillows, though. And sometimes my boyfriend brings his sleeping bag with him when he stays (he gets cold) and then leaves it on my bed and I have nowhere to put it away. I admit to passive aggressively leaving it on the floor (where he left it first) so that the cat slept on it, and then he had to wash it because he's allergic. Look, if it's on the floor, it belongs to the cat. Don't like it? Don't leave your shit on the floor.


@nogreeneggs Castor wheels usually fit right into bed frame legs. You can get them at the hardware store, then once they are on you just swipe the bf's pillows on to the floor, roll the bed out a few inches, toss the blanket across, push back in and throw the pillows back on.


@Craftastrophies couldn't he bring some blankets instead of a SLEEPING BAG?! I mean ... one is easy to fold and has the potential to add to the decor!

the other is a sleeping bag.


That picture of the empty room is so soothing to me. I just keep looking at it.


@franceschances The empty room is seriously making me want to find a whole new apartment and sort of organize/ditch extraneous things in the process of moving. Somehow, it seems so much easier to let go of clutter during a move...


This is so great!!

I want to be someone who makes their bed, but my bed is so god-damned complicated. There are a zillion pillows everywhere and multiple sheets and blankets. Growing up, I had one pillow and a duvet with a duvet cover and that was it, so I am completely unprepared for this level of bed-making.

Unfortunately, reverting to the pillow-and-duvet isn't an option because my husband totally insists on the multiple sheets/blankets, and I've gotten to the point where I can't sleep without my insane full-body pillow.


@OhMarie Can you have a basket or underbed thing for the pillows, so you can dump them while you just flick out the blankets, etc? Or flick out the sheet, fold the blankets and put them near where they are going to be used? Then whack the pillows back on?

I mean, it doesn't have to be all hospital corners to be neat and nice, right?


This is a life-saver! I live in the very super-cute servant's quarters up on the third floor of an old house, with great light, but my room is a disaster because "I just moved in" ... last August. And I've been too overwhelmed by the magnitude of clutter to clean. NOW I SEE A WAY OUT. Thank you, Jolie Cleanperson!


This feels like the end of the happiest story ever told.




I know someone who can turn the After into the Before in a matter of hours.


@atipofthehat my mom. #1 reason I want her to come visit me!


@atipofthehat what's their hourly rate?


@psychedelicate: Read that again!
@redheaded&crazy: You're really serious about getting that Before picture, huh?


@atipofthehat How do you know my sister?


I just made my bed and put clean duvet covers on my duvets and everything. It scared my cat.


Confession time: I cannot get rid of my main-squeeze pillow. I have had it forever and I know that it is probably gross as anything, but I just can't make myself ditch it for a new one. Suggestions?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher wash it in the machine.


@psychedelicate You can do that? And it won't get all...I don't know, lumpy and weird? (I am gross, I know.)


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I'm honestly not sure about feather pillows, but I just washed my synthetic pillow in my washing machine with a 1000-rotation spin cycle, fluffed it out a bit, and laid it flat to dry and it was fine. If you have a dryer, I think that Jolie's tennis ball trick for down coats would work to keep your pillow nice and fluffy. I haven't noticed any difference in my pillow except for the fact that it no longer has a gross yellow stain from my head and does not smell anymore.


@psychedelicate Worth a try! And if it does get all lumpy and terrible, I'll have to let it go, so win-win?


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher: A pillow cover that supposed to stop dust,etc. from getting in the pillow would also stop stuff from coming out of the pillow, one would assume?

Princess Slayer

I got up from the sofa and immediately made my bed after reading this! http://dead-girl.tumblr.com/post/18137852491/lets-all-make-our-beds-lamob-taken-with
I'm having friends over for my birthday this weekend and I'm trying to make everything presentable and am currently poring over every single Clean Person entry.


@Princess Slayer oooh your bed is very nice! I like!

Princess Slayer

@psychedelicate Thank you!


Wait, what if you have ugly pillows? I got an absolutely GORGEOUS quilt for Christmas that I love, but not the matching pillow shams, and they seem like an extravagant purchase at the moment. So even if I do make my bed, it's topped with a motley assortment of mismatched pillows, including one that looks like this. I want to make my bed, but why should I make my bed if it won't even look nice?

PS that pillow I linked to is fucking magic. My neck pain is insanely reduced because of it!


@cherrispryte Is the quilt big enough to do that thing where you put the pillows under it, and then tuck the quilt around it? Or, buy pretty plain cotton covers for your pillows that coordinate with the quilt but don't cost what the shams cost?


@cherrispryte I. Need. That. Pillow.

Do you have a throw that you can put over most of the pillows, and prop one or two sort of matching ones on the top?


My parents visited this weekend, and I cleaned FRANTICALLY all Saturday morning. Including, but not limited to, last-minute upholstery? WHO does last-minute upholstery?!


Joliiiiiie! I started making my bed because of you about three weeks ago and I haven't missed a day! And you were right, it is great.

And ALSO I have started putting my clothes away at night instead of just on the floor or on a chair. My room is looking pretty fab I must say.


I've been making my bed every morning for two months now.

Guess whose room has, consequently, been much more orderly?



Also, YAY, LW!!!!

Well done!
Your room is so spotless!!!


The thing that changed my bed-life was realizing that you can put a duvet cover on the bed WITHOUT the duvet in it. Then you make the bed and it looks all nice, but you aren't a thousand degrees overheated at night!


@tinyboats Oh my god - this is genius.


@tinyboats My brain just cracked open like an egg. Lifechanging.


@tinyboats I've done that too. It is awesome. There are some really pretty duvets out there. There is nothing like walking into a clean organized bedroom after a long day. There is also nothing like the sight of a made bed. Extravagance in it's own right!


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I call it a "bedspread": light, but quilted or embellished enough that it doesn't show every wrinkle in the bed. As My Mom says, "A good bedspread hides a multitude of sins."


Oh, how I HATE making our bed. Like hate with the heat of a thousand burning suns hate. We've got this monster of a California King and it's this all wood monstrosity with drawers underneath, a fancy scrolled footboard and the mattress just sits inside a wood box (like a waterbed frame?). It's horrible, sexytimes are a pain the butt (literally, you can't do anything involving being on the edge of the bed due to the wood frame) I bruise myself constantly on the footboard (I just walk right into the damn thing All. The. Time.) and the worst thing is that I can't do my beloved hospital corners on the sheet and blanket b/c I have to physically lift the damn mattress out of the stupid box, which is HEAVY. I swear, my dude would get SOMUCHMORE sexytime if he would buy me a new bedrame. Maybe I should mention that tonight...


@ellbeejay@twitter Life is too damn short to live with a bed you hate. If BF isn't all into the idea of a new bedframe and resultant sexing, steal his credit card and go get one yourself.


I'm not an especially Clean Person but I got tears in my eyes when I got to the after picture. Jolie, you are a force for good in the world.

Also, the yurt bed. I want to put it in my yard under the cottonwood tree.

ETA: OMG, the pod bed. It is my destiny. Are there speakers in there like an egg chair?!


It looks so good! I do cleanups like that from time to time--it is amazing how messy I can make a living space in a few hours to a few days when I'm just whirlwinding through without a care for tossing junk or hanging up clothes. It's easier to maintain after it's clean, but so easy (for me) to slide right back again. I bet you can do it, though, LW!

Also, for the first time since I inherited my car from my brother four years ago, I cleaned it! Over the weekend! Things came to a head when I spilled jamaica in the back seat and realized how much garbage was back there. But I dusted the dash! (And in a VW Bug, there's a lot of dash.) I cleaned the windows! I vacuumed until the little handvac gave out! Now my car is actually fit to have other people in, glory be.


Awesome! I've been fairly good about being cleaner than usual lately (though not for the past week). I was doing well at making my bed, but it's in a super awkward location (surrounded by walls on three sides, ugh). I would seriously appreciate bed-making tips, especially for people in tiny apartments/houses, and who apparently toss in their sleep way to much and undo all the nice sheet-tucking from the morning.


@hodgmina It doesn't need to be a fancy bed-make. Just smooth out the sheets and pull everything up to the pillows so it's smooth. Even that looks pretty.


@gobblegirl Good! I can keep that up.


Can I leave yet another make your bed testimony? I recently made a deal with the husband. I agreed to pick up my clothes DAILY (which I was very bad at), and since he gets up after I do, he has to make the bed. It's great! Now, when we get home with our little behbeh, we all go up to the bedroom, change clothes, and have family time chilling with the behbeh and dog on the bed and it's the best part of the day! Not possible on a disgusto unmade bed. Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration!


This made me happy! Also I really regret that I didn't take pictures of my parents' garage before we started cleaning it. We're nowhere near done but I wish I had some pictures to show off our hard work. Anyway, Jolie you are a) objectively the best and b) finally inspiring me to join Pinterest.

Letter Writer - every bedroom of my life looked like this - actually WORSE, much much worse - until I left for college. Even in college my rooms were messy, they just didn't look as bad because I didn't have as much stuff. It wasn't until I moved in with my neat freak boyfriend that my habits really started to change. But as another person mentioned above, the best thing ever is that MAINTAINING a clean room is roughly one million times easier than CREATING a clean room. It has more to do with planning and equipment and mindset than it does with time. Once you've got the groundwork in place (organization systems, Places To Put Stuff, an understanding of just how short a '15 minute cleanup' is) keeping your place tidy is much easier. I believe in you! Your room looks great!


I'm so excited!! I love a good deep clean! Amazing job, LW!

I live at home with my parents (as I have said), which isn't the worst deal since I have the downstairs in-law apartment all to myself and it's enormous. Cleaning it is a pain, though. I spend most of my time on my couch, so there's a lot of detritus in the living room. The bedroom is usually a mess of clothes, the office is usually a mess of papers, and even though I don't spend much time in the kitchen, I will find a way to mess it up. And I don't even want to talk about the bathroom and the utter lack of ventilation.

I have committed to cleaning it regularly, including making the bed. Not necessarily going hog-wild and getting out the vacuum and everything, but at least getting it all picked up and put away. And it's great! I picked up before I sat back down to catch up on the 'Pin and I feel like I can actually think in here.

And "bedlinens that are on sale," you say? I work in a Macy's Home Store, I know EXACTLY when everything good is going on sale. And even when everything awful is going on sale! In short, I am loaded with advice, hit me up, people.


I need organizing help! I have an over the door shoe organizer where most of my shoes live, BUT I am a cowgirl and have...um...seven pairs of boots. (1 hiking,2 fashion, 4 cowgirl. But my work pair live in the truck. So, essentially six.) How in the world do I organize these? (My closet and room are SUPER tiny, by the way.)
The cowboy boots and hiking boots aren't too bad, because I can set them on the floor of the closet, but both tall boots slump over and get gross creases in the leather. Is there a way to store em upside down?

'Pinners, I feel like you all are about the coolest "big sisters" for this college girl, and really hope someone can lend me a hand. thanks in advance :)


@The Kendragon Store your tall boots with wine bottles or rolled up magazines in them! I can't take credit for this - it's from Sally at Already Pretty: http://www.alreadypretty.com/2011/01/sunday-shoes-black-coclico-awasos-boots.html


@The Kendragon Jolie's pinterest board had some boot storage things. I noticed because I have three pairs of boots that totally throw out my shoe storage organisation. There's no room for them in my wardrobe, but they get too dusty out. There were ideas for boxes to be stored laterally (I'm going to use these, to put on the top shelf of my wardrobe) or boot racks, and a bunch of other stuff.


@Craftastrophies and Lalaura
Thanks so much, guys! I didn't see the boot organizers but I will look again.

Chicka Boom

Jolie, it is your fault that I am now addicted to Pinterest. I even made my own Organization pinboard, inspired by yours! (Here it is, if you're interested: http://pinterest.com/autonoetic/organization/) I am so excited for the LW. It really makes such a difference when your work/living space is clear. Yay!


Jolieeeeeeeeeeee does this mean you will teach us how to fold a fitted sheet? Because I have watched Martha and various youtube housewives and househusbands do it upwards of 472 times and I still end up with nothing but a wadded, wrinkly mess.


@hulia The lady on The Art of Doing Stuff just did a tute. I thought it was easy to follow, but it's how I already do it so YMMV?


I started making my bed every day. Love it. And then I went to visit my parents and made my bed there...and my mom asked if I was leaving early or something. She was so confused about me actually making my bed and wouldn't stop talking about it all weekend.

She also held that over my poor little (13 year old) sister's head and went on about my excellent bed-making technique. Dig it.


Between A Clean Person and Unfuck Your Habitat, my bed is now made every ding-dong day and I am cleaning my drains regularly with baking soda and vinegar. My parents would be so shocked. Proud! But shocked!

Because, dear LW, my room was EVEN WORSE than this when I left for college. And then there was that whole stretch where my loft bed broke but I didn't dismantle it or replace it but instead slept in a nest of blankets on the floor. I feel you and I am so proud of you!

Summer Somewhere

Okay, this is very inspiring. BUT: what to do about a sloppy live-in partner? The bedroom is in need of a similar rehaul but if my lady friend continues her sloppy ways after such a magical transformation I will either murder her or it will all go to shit again. I'm only good about cleaning up after myself if I can tell which mess is mine.


@lucida console But if you murder her, you'll be so in the habit of cleaning that wiping away the blood will be a cinch (protein stain, whatup!)


@lucida console (But for serious - it's easier to KEEP things clean than to clean them, because you notice that you've been sloppy because it looks out of place. So if your place is all clean, maybe she'll think twice about leaving her socks on the floor? And doing 5 minutes of tidying a day is no big).


@lucida console Get Rid of Your Sloppy Live-In Partners, Seriously, They Are Revolting.

Summer Somewhere

@gobblegirl I don't think a jury of my Hairpinner peers would convict me. What actually happens is that I can clearly see which mess is HERS, and I let it go for a few days, and then I get mad and give up being clean myself. It's frustrating when I take the time to pick up after myself and I don't get the reward of a clean apartment. I am thinking what I might do is buy some kind of box, and just throw her stuff in it, and she can decide to put it away or not. If it fills up I will dump it on her head in the morning, I guess.


@lucida console This is what happened when I lived with my sister. It was terrible and some days it made me want to die/make her die.

I used to do that with the box when I lived with my cousins. I felt a bit passive aggressive, but when their shit was all over the living room so that i couldn't sit down... what happened was that their boxes filled up and I had to get them another box, and then I moved out because I couldn't handle it. But maybe you could make a deal with her where she empties it every week or something?


@lucida console Are you picking up cleaning tips from my mom? When we wouldn't clean our rooms, she would take everything and put it in garbage bags in the garage for a very long time.

Summer Somewhere

@DrFeelGood Noooooooooo!


I am so proud of you, LW! I recently did a HUGE sort and tidy, and now I really wish I’d taken before and after pictures! Thanks for inspiring us all, Jolie!


GREAT JOB LW! I am logging in to comment for the first time in forever because I am so proud of you! I make the bed every morning. The Husband Elect is now super into it too. He says he never knew what a difference two minutes of bed-making made. I am SO EXCITED FOR #LAMOB month!!!!


@fierce_pierce I'm stealing "Husband Elect" and saving it for my engagement. Best best ever.


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher You are welcome! EVERYONE, please use it widely! I looooove being Wife Elect. I haven't taken office yet but boy is it fun already!


@fierce_pierce I'm excited too!!! With a sense of solidarity, I might actually be successful at #LAMOB month!


LW is the best! What an amazing job!

Making beds is the second best! #LAMBY (let's all make [our] beds, yes?)

Vera Knoop

What if one sleeps under only a giant, fluffy comforter (with, of course, a frequently-washed cotton cover)? Making the bed takes 3 seconds, so it's hardly the ritual that it might otherwise be.


@Vera Knoop Oh you continentals. My in-laws are european, and it took them a long time to learn that I must have a top sheet on a bed or I can't sleep, for real. I really want to know where this dfference/custom of the top vs no top sheet came from...


No, no, I really LIKE the acronym #LAMOB. It makes us sound like a gang of Frenchified but ruthless bed makers, who travel around making beds and chortling smugly once the deed has been done. I say we keep it!


Does anyone have any recommendations on where to buy sheets if one doesn't use a flat sheet? Last time I just used it to make some cheap curtains for my room, but usually the flat sheets just end up sitting around unused, and I feel guilty that I spend money on something that's never going to be used. Why is it so hard to just sell fitted sheets by themselves?


@sophi Land's End. They have fantastic overstock prices and really good sales. Also, Target carries decent-but-not-great sheets. Personally, I'd spend the extra bucks (not really all that much, if you buy on sale) at LE and be able to keep the nice, soft, munchywonderful sheets for years on end.


@sophi The Company Store sells its bedding by the piece.


@sophi Macy's carries some of its brands in individual pieces. Hotel Collection ($$$$ but so nice!) and Martha Stewart come that way, off the top of my head.

the angry little raincloud

@Mingus_Thurber Seconding the Lands' End suggestion: my favorite sheets are all from Lands' End. They last forever, and the fitted sheets are really deep. They're having a friends and family sale right now, so everything's cheap plus free shipping.


I LOVE that first picture so much.

I wish we could do some sort of clean person weekly boot camp where you do a different habit every week. Seriously, it would change lives.


@whereismyrobot For April? Jolie tweets a daily assignment every morning?


I have been making my bed for the nearly year that I have lived in this apartment, mostly because there are no doors and you can see the bed from the living room. Even when everything else is in a complete state, the bed is always so nice. I feel like it stays fresher longer when it's been made? I dunno.
My sheets are all vintage and I feel like they are way nicer than nowadays sheets... plus they are that perfect poly-cotton blend that gets nice and silky as they age, like a really nice old tshirt.


Congratulations to the letter writer! Your new room is a beautiful, blank canvas waiting for your personal touch. Be sure to share the final "after" photo, too.

I'm also very excited that I used President's Day sales to give my bed a makeover. I am a clean and tidy person by nature, but because of my budget, I've had a mixed-matched set of bedding and pillows for a while now and it looking at it doesn't feel clean or tidy. New pillows, an extra set of sheets, and an extra duvet cover, here I come!


LW - enjoy your nice clean room. I'm sure you'll venture to tidy other parts of your space. My new fave product is Clorox Clean Up with Bleach - it makes your bathroom smell like the pool at camp.Awesome!!!! Re the sheets, I also like the perm press at JCP - they're scratchy at first but they hold up very well and look great on your bed.

Judith Slutler

Guess what you guys, before taking off to visit my boyfriend for the weekend I vacuumed my room, made my bed, de-cluttered my "landing strip"* armoire, and folded all my laundry! It only took an hour and a half and now I'll feel so accomplished when I get back to my nice clean room!

*I hate this phrase btw

science is sexy@twitter

@Emmanuelle Cunt I initially thought decluttering your landing strip was an excellent euphemism for pubic waxing.


@science is sexy@twitter SCORE! I am going to steal this one.

oh, george

I LOVE THIS. once upon a time i was this messy. maybe worse?! if it's possible?! I am so happy for you, LW! Following this has inspired me to keep up with my own reformed-messy-person-ways.

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