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  • Writer's picturejondab

Organizing the Bonus Room or Spare Bedroom



Many homes have a room that is often called a bonus room or spare bedroom. As I work with clients, I see this space used in multiple ways. In my mind there is no wrong way to use this space as long as you are clear on its purpose.


I often get called in to work on the “room of shame” or “dumping ground”.


What I love to do is take this space and make it match up with a vision they have.


Here are some ways I have helped clients or have personally used this space.


Dressing room

One client had clothes and shoes everywhere in her spare bedroom. She was tired of the visual clutter. She still wanted to have the room available for the occasional guest but also wanted to make it into a dressing room for her. After we organized and downsized her wardrobe we called in a NAPO business partner Teresa Safranek to design built in closets on one long wall of the room. She kept the smaller closet that was already there. She had a lovely armoire and a low bureau. She added a low chest at the foot of the bed and a comfortable chair with a stool. She also had a large mirror. Now there was space for everything. It was also inviting and comfortable both for her and any guest.


Retreat or “nest”

Another client wanted her own room where she could retreat, read, or meditate. She had a “Nest” sign on her door and a lovely window that looked out over a tree and a garden.  She already had in the room a good built-in bookcase. We cleared out old files and books and some boxes that were storing miscellaneous items and then stocked the bookcase with meaningful books, notebooks for journaling, and things of beauty that were meaningful to her. She set up an altar and had a comfortable reading chair and small table. Now she had her serene escape room.


Exercise room

This client had exercise items scattered all over her home – living room, dining room, bedroom, and even in the kitchen. She was tired of tripping over all these items and tired of the cluttered look. She had one room downstairs that had been used for multiple purposes. We cleared out the space and brought in her exercise items. She hung a mirror, put in a music system, and hung some of her photographs on the wall.


Art studio or craft room

This is a common use that many clients have chosen. Some combine it with a guest room, and some take up the whole space. Usually, the closet is reworked for maximum storage.


Organized storage room

One client I worked with had to quickly downsize into an assisted living space. She had brought way too much stuff and a lot of it was sitting in bags in her living room/dining room area as well as stacked in the second small bedroom. She was overwhelmed and not ready to part with much of her stuff. We zoned off the second bedroom and stored everything in that room that was not actively being used. Extra clothes were stacked on the bed. Extra books were in one corner. Office supplies were down in the center of the room. Extra décor items were stored in and near the closet. Bags of bags and storage items were against a wall. When she wanted something from that room it was easy for her to locate. We are still working on reducing the stash.  Meanwhile, the main living area is relatively clear.


Dedicated playroom

When my boys were young, we often moved. One house had two bedrooms that could have been their bedrooms. We decided, with their agreement, to make the smaller of the two rooms into a shared bedroom and the second room was made into a dedicated playroom. Both boys liked the idea of keeping the play area separate and found it easier to keep in order.

 

If you have an extra room that may now be just a clutter catch-all think about all the ways that you could repurpose that room for your enjoyment. Once you are clear on your vision, brainstorm on what has to happen in order to make this room match your vision.


Take your brainstorm list of what needs to be done and put it into a logical order.

Schedule time on your calendar to do each task.


Your reward is having a space that serves you and that you will enjoy and use.

 


If you are struggling with completing an organizational project like repurposing your bonus room and want some help or accountability, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group. Each month everyone in the group chooses what project they want to complete. This month I will work in my spare bedroom while others in the group will work on the project of their choice.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.

 

 

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Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
Feb 06

I love all of these ideas, but particularly the retreat and dressing room. I had a client who's entire bedroom closet space was taken up by her husband. There was a small room without windows, too small to be a bedroom, filled to the brim with clutter. We downsized and donated so much of the forgotten stuff that had just been piled to hip-high, and turned it into a luxurious dressing room with a vanity and fainting couch, giving her a bit of a retreat as well. But the "nest" idea, earmarking a whole room for reading, really appeals. Such great repurposing!

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smqorgadm
Feb 05

I wish I had a spare room in my home. It would be used for my workout things. Right now, that is part of my family room/office space. Great suggestions for that extra room.

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Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Feb 04

I loved reading about how you helped your clients rethink and organize their "bonus" rooms. I know it made an enormous difference in each situation you described.


Our third bedroom was once our daughters' shared bedroom. Before that, it was my art studio. After they left the nest, it became the guest room. Sometimes, I use it as my retreat and meditation space. The closet holds some storage, like photo albums and memorabilia. But there is also plenty of space for guests to put their things. That room holds a lot of good energy. When I'm in there, I feel it.


One of my goals this year for that room is to make a few updates, including painting it. I've…

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jondab
jondab
Feb 04
Replying to

My "bonus" room also holds photos and memorabilia. When I work in this zone, I schedule a time to look through all of the pictures and memorabilia. I feel that at least once a year you should revisit what you have saved.


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