Before you style and organize your bedroom you must get rid of everything you don’t love or need in the room. This is the essential first step to organizing your bedroom (or any room.) Do not buy plastic bins, or a new piece of furniture until you are down to brass tax.
If you do not love something or use it regularly, please let it go before you start to arrange or organize the things which remain. Here’s a link to last week’s post about getting emotionally ready to organize your whole house.
Another note: we’ll do your closet later. Today is just the main room.
Why start with organizing your bedroom?
I think you know. So take a minute to think about your personal “why” and then take a deep breath before you read on. You are worth this effort — worth a calm, relaxing place to sleep. I’m so glad you are reading.
In most dresser we find sweaters, delicate lingerie, tights and nylons, jewelry, and other items which can’t easily be hung in the closet.
If you’d like your drawers to look more organized, use drawer dividers. They are spring loaded to fit any depth. Measure your drawers’ height clearance before shopping for these. They are usually 4” or 6” tall.
You can buy lots of fancy drawer organizers if that will make your really happy. Spending money on organizing products that are hidden from view is not my jam at all.
I like to re-use sturdy boxes to organize groups of small items in dresser drawers. This is a free option, which rates on my happiness chart up around hot fudge sundae. Leave the lids off of the boxes when they are inside your drawer.
No linen storage?
Many older homes are lacking adequate linen storage. Or so our clients tell us. This usually means they have an excess of linens! Ahem.
As far as bedding is concerned, store your one extra set of sheets (maybe 2 if you have some seasonal ones or if have NO laundry in-house) in your bedroom. No one needs more than 3 sets of sheets for any bed (expect a crib!) Click To Tweet
Bedside table routine
Keep whatever you want to in your nightstand drawer. I won’t ask and I won’t tell. But the top of your bedside table is another matter. To keep that organized, you must cultivate a routine wherein you clear the trash and clutter regularly. Aim for once a day. When you wake up and lug your tired body to the toilet, grab the used tissues and other trash.
When you make the bed, remove all dirty dishes or misplaced items as part of the ritual.
In general, don’t store extra things on your bedside table. There are always things we bring to bed with us. Right? So leave the space clear for those things each night.
Maybe you want a lamp or a box of tissues. But not framed photos or nic nacs.
Maybe you keep a current magazine or book you read before sleeping. But not a stack of books or work papers.
Maybe a tube of lip balm, but not 2 kinds of lotion and extra toiletries just in case.
I like to keep bedside things in a dish or on a small tray so they look intentional.
Keep your bedroom free of these
I did an interview for the Tinder blog, Swipe Life, last valentine’s day about what items to declutter from your bedroom for a better sex life. These apply even if you’ve been married for 15 years. Here’s the list:
- Pictures of your parents. The same applies to photos of other authority figures in your life. Anyone you wouldn’t make out in front of should not be staring at you in the bedroom, even from behind a frame.
- Work stuff. If there’s anything in the bedroom which reminds you of work, you run the risk of thinking about work whether you mean to or not. Even if you love your job, you need a place to let it go and relax.
- Toys and kid gear. This is where you do grown-up stuff and think grown-up thoughts. No Legos allowed!
- Bedside clutter. Especially if you are dating, clear items from your bedside table that do not say sexy times — used tissues, meds, self-help books (especially those with the word “Anger” in the title — ha!)
- Odors. Friends, I don’t even want to go into what this category could contain. If it stinks or looks disgusting, handle it already!
- One of my organizing heros, Peter Walsh, makes a great point about furniture in the bedroom. He says, don’t keep an antique or hand-me-down bed frame in your bedroom unless you love the style. Just because a relative or loved-one gave you something doesn’t mean it gets to take up space in your home.
Clothes that aren’t exactly dirty
Have a place to catch the clothes you’ve worn but may wear again. I call them clirty. For example have a few hooks near the closet or a bench where you can put clothes that are in limbo to keep them off your floor. Read more about what to do with the inevitable pile of clothes in your bedroom here.
What feelings do you want to feel in your bedroom? Calm? Relaxed? Special? Sexy? Present? Think of your list and ask yourself if each object in your bedroom is contributing to those feelings. If an item doesn’t fit the bill, store it in another room. Or get rid of it all together!
Group together the things which remain on your flat surfaces to create a more intentional look. If you are in a relationship, feng shui tells us to keep pairs of items in the bedroom.
You want 3 feet of clear floor-space (enough to comfortably walk by) between all furniture and walls.
You want dim-able lighting.
You want a place for everything in the bedroom. No miscellaneous piles.
You want a bluetooth speaker or similar. Music in the bedroom is a life-changer for creating a retreat-like experience.
You also definitely want a rug or carpet in the bedroom for your cold feet in the middle of the night. Get a rug large enough to stick out of at least 3 sides of your bed. Or a small rug on each side for anyone getting up in the night.
Keep your bedroom colors warm or neutral.
I have a few plants in my own bedroom which bring me a calm feeling. If you’d like to try some plants in yours, I recommend Marbled Queen Pothos, also known as Devils Ivy, in hanging containers. Or Snake Laurentii for a floor pot. These are both hearty and don’t require much sunlight.
PS- Next week we move on to your closet. So, once you’ve got the bedroom organized, start purging all of those skinny jeans that haven’t fit you since 2012…
Take anything that doesn’t fit you wonderfully; take the clothes and accessories that don’t make you smile to your local donation center.
Also published on Medium.