The secret to achieving a clutter-free bedroom starts with tackling this one thing

If you can only declutter one thing in your bedroom, start with this

Corner of a living room with grey walls, wood floor, white radiator, and monochrome furniture, lamps, decorations, and cushions
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Ah, yes. The infamous bedroom 'clothes chair'. It's an extremely common phenomenon to grace many households and has more or less become a permanent fixture in our homes, whether we like it or not.

Listen. I've tried many decluttering methods – the most recent one being the 12:12:12 decluttering challenge – however, I will admit that each method has yet to challenge my long-time personal weakness to date: the clothes chair.

The phenomenon of the bedroom 'clothes chair'

'For many of us the unofficial 'clothes chair' is a magnet for worn-but-not-quite-dirty clothes,' explains Georgina Burnett, professional organiser and decluttering expert at Vintage Cash Cow.

No matter how well-put-together I am with organising my wardrobe (I have the tidy toss method to thank for my recent success), soon begs the question of where exactly do I put my worn-but-not-quite-dirty clothes? I can't justify running a wash as they're not dirty enough but I also don't want to keep my worn and washed clothes together.

Corner of a living room with grey walls, wood floor, white radiator, and monochrome furniture, lamps, decorations, and cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

So for me, the answer is simple. Off to the clothes chair, it goes. It gets the job done, albeit not being the most visually appealing clothes storage solution.

'The problem with this,' warns Georgina. 'If your room is otherwise tidy, a cluttered 'clothes chair' can completely ruin the relaxing aesthetic and even contribute to stress.'

So, here's how to start decluttering this larger-than-life monster you've created in your bedroom, as advised by decluttering experts.

How to declutter the bedroom 'clothes chair'

'There could be a number of reasons why you use the chair in your bedroom as a dumping ground for clothes,' begins Siân Pelleschi, APDO president and founder of Sorted! 'You're tired after a long day and don't have the energy to put away: there’s no other place to put your clothes from that day: your wardrobe is full to the brim so you can't actually get any more clothes in even if you wanted to.'

'Whatever the reason there are lots of options of ways you can stop this from happening, or look at ways of organising the clothes if it continues to happen.' 

'Decluttering this space not only helps in maintaining a tidy bedroom but also ensures that your clothes are well taken care of,' says Ava Wilson, chief editor at Unclutterer.

Here are some solutions to organise these clothes effectively.

Gold painted bedroom with bed, fireplace, and sofa with period elements

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Assessment and immediate action

Before you even begin considering alternative solutions to decluttering the dreaded clothes chair, start with this. 'Begin by sorting the clothes into three categories: definitely clean, definitely dirty, and in-between,' advises Ava.

'Put away the clean clothes in your wardrobe. Add the dirty items to your laundry hamper. Then, address the in-between clothes with the following steps.'

2. Establish a routine

'Make it a habit to sort through the clothes on your chair at the end of each day or week,' continues Ava. 'This prevents the pile from growing too large and becoming overwhelming.'

There's no worse feeling than having to find motivation to clean when you're feeling overwhelmed, so consider whether this is something you can add to your Sunday reset routine for your peace of mind.

Alternatively, you could even do a daily check-in. 'Remove anything that's found its way into the chair and put it back in its place so that items don't have the chance to accumulate,' advises Siân.

Bedroom with blue walls, grey floor and curtains, wooden desk, pink bedspread, gold-brushed lamp, and black chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Oliver Gordon)

3. Instead of the chair, opt for designated spots

'The reason you have a 'clothes chair' is because you don't have anywhere for those in-between clothes to go,' says Georgina. 'You don't want to put them in your laundry basket, but you'd rather not put them back in your wardrobe either.'

'To tackle the clutter, the easiest thing to do is add an extra hamper or basket – just like a laundry basket – that's specifically for these items. This way, they have a home.'

Consider these example alternative solutions for your in-between clothes:

  • Hooks – install hooks on the back of your bedroom or wardrobe door for items like jackets or jeans that can be worn more than once before washing
  • Open shelves – dedicate a shelf or section for in-between clothes to keep them separate from your freshly laundered clothes
  • Storage bins or baskets – place a small basket or bin in your room for clothes you've worn once but could wear again to keep them off the chair
  • A dedicated drawer – instead of a clothes chair, dedicate one of your drawers to your in-between clothes so they're out of the way but still easily accessible

Bedroom with dark wooden floor, built in cupboards either side of the fireplace, pale grey walls and a large double bed with white and black bed covers

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

4. Create a 'desire path'

Desire paths are essentially the quickest route to get from A to B, making daily tasks easier and more efficient. It may be that a chair becomes your dumping ground because it's the easiest spot to get to from where you get undressed, rather than your wardrobe or laundry hamper.

'If so, look at moving the chair to a different area where you either have to pass the wardrobe or laundry basket, or both, first and therefore are more likely to put items away as it's closer and easier to do,' advises Siân.

White painted bedroom with bed, wardrobe, and desk

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Lee)

5. Implement the 48-hour rule

'If you want to keep your 'clothes chair' for convenience (more power to you) but want to prevent it from becoming too overloaded, simply implement the 48-hour rule to your clothes chair instead,' suggests Georgina.

'This one's simple. If it's been on the clothes chair for more than 48 hours, it has to leave. It either needs to go in the laundry basket, into your wardrobe or drawers or taken to be fixed/to the dry cleaners.'

White painted bedroom with bed, dressing table and rug

(Image credit: Future PLC)


What to put clothes on in the bedroom?

If you're looking to combat the use of a 'clothes chair', Ava Wilson at Unclutterer suggests, 'Consider investing in a valet stand, which is designed for temporarily holding clothes. Use a hanging organiser in your closet for clothes that have been worn but aren't ready for laundry.'

Alternatively, opt for a sorting basket and hook.

And if all else fails, as a last solution you can always just pick up a clothes refresher spray (like these ones from Amazon or from your local supermarket) to kill bacteria, remove odour, and leave your clothes smelling fresh enough to put away.

Georgina concludes, 'This is a great option for clothes that have only been worn for a short time but don’t quite need a full wash yet.'

'Plus, it may help you feel more comfortable with putting them back into your wardrobe, solving the ‘clothes chair’ problem and helping to keep your room clutter-free.'

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.