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Maybe your kids moved out and you weren’t sure what to do with it. Maybe your kids never wound up using that room in the first place. Maybe your home gym didn’t quite come together like you’d hoped.

Whatever the reason, there’s bound to be a spare room in a lot of modern homes these days, and it can get a little overwhelming. More often than not these rooms get turned into something of an ‘overflow storage’ room, serving as a home for whatever hobby supplies, office essentials, and unused furniture that can’t quite fit anywhere else just yet.

Even if that’s the case for your spare room, there’s no reason to let it get all disheveled! There’s plenty of things you can do to keep a spare room organized and under control:


Decide on a use for the room

The first step is to try and pin down just what you’re using the room for. Did it start life as a home office and wind up mutating into a sewing/craft room down the line? Was it going to be where you kept your treadmill or exercise bike and then eventually turn into where you kept your excess clothes and unused holiday decorations? None of these approaches are wrong exactly, but before you get too far into the cleaning you’re going to want to choose one specific use and go from there.


Start removing everything you don’t need

Next, once you figure out what you’re doing with your spare room, you should plan on doing a little relocating of everything still in there. Still got a home office desk in there buried under stacks of old magazines? Try moving it into another room where you might actually get some use out of it. Sewing equipment you won’t touch now that this isn’t a craft room anymore? Now might be the time to try and pass it down to someone that will. Be prepared to move or get rid of some things in the meantime, but it’ll make it much easier in the long run.


Look on the walls

One of the biggest enemies of a spare room is the lack of space—chances are, the room wasn’t being used for much because it’s smaller than the others, right? The easiest way to stop this is with wall shelves to make the most of your vertical space and keep everything organized and put away while freeing up floor space that could otherwise be taken up by bulky tables or dressers.


Let it all out

It might seem counter-intuitive, but a lot of experts say that clutter can build up the most quickly when it’s out of sight and out of mind. To avoid this in your spare room, try to stick to more open storage ideas like wall shelves and smaller end tables to store things where you can see them. This can inspire you to use or get rid of them more often than they would if you kept them tucked away inside a cabinet or a box.


Work on that closet

Most spare rooms start life as a bedroom, which means there’s a closet included that may need a little help. Spare room closets are a great place to store out-of-season clothes that you won’t need for a while, and installing some extra closet organizers and closet storage rails can help you keep everything right where you need it. Barring that, if you don’t have any jackets or sweaters to put away, this can still be a great place to get some stacking storage bins to store little odds and ends—just remember to take the closet doors off as per our last tip!


Up to the ceiling

Finally, in spare rooms, every bit of storage counts. Whether you’re hanging shelves, setting up bookcases, or just stacking bins all the way up, don’t be afraid to put things higher up than normal. Sort them by the likelihood of you needing to get them back down and what they are, and you’ll have an easier time keeping the clutter down (and the floor open).

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