Take a look around. The room you are sitting in right now has a vibe—an intangible something about its condition and arrangement that creates a feeling in you. What is it? What is the vibe of the room you are sitting in right now?
What feeling does it create?
This is an important, often overlooked principle—but it is true about every physical space in our lives. If you close your eyes and place yourself inside your home’s most cluttered room, you can almost feel the weight of the clutter as it produces stress and anxiety on your shoulders. This is a truth that should not be overlooked any longer.
It is important to be aware of how a space makes you feel because every room in your home has a purpose—and the vibe or feeling of a room should match that purpose. This is a principle that applies to every room in your home… but is especially apparent when it comes to your bedroom.
Imagine your dream-come-true bedroom. What three words would you use to describe how it makes you feel?
Now, would you use those same words to describe your current bedroom?
If not, chances are that the problem has less to do with what you don’t have, and more to do with what you do have—and need to get rid of. If you want your bedroom to give you those dream-come-true feels, I have a word for you: minimalism.
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of our greatest values and the removal of anything that distracts us from them. It is about reducing the number of your possessions until you get to the best possible level for you and your family. It’s not about owning less than you need… it’s about owning exactly what you need.
Minimalism is individual, freeing, and life promoting.
So don’t worry. Minimalism in your bedroom does not mean sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor. It means you reduce distractions so you can optimize purpose.
To begin, think about the unique purpose for your bedroom. The master bedroom is probably mostly for rest and intimacy with your spouse, though you may also use it for such things as reading or study. If you have kids, they, too, need calming rooms to go back to for downtime, play, to do homework, and to sleep at night. Similarly, if you have a guest room, this is a place you can offer your overnight guests to relax in private and get a good night’s sleep while they’re away from home.
As you focus your attention on minimizing your bedroom, look at your possessions and ask of every item, Do we need this? Does it help the room accomplish its purpose? Does it contribute to the type of atmosphere necessary for those goals?
Clarifying the purpose of your bedroom doesn’t automatically remove the clutter, but it does provide an essential framework for your decision-making process.
For example, in the master bedroom, does the television on your dresser promote rest or intimacy, or does it detract from these goals? Is the pile of magazines or books in the corner helpful to you? Does that cluttered nightstand or dresser bring you calm and relaxation? When the answer to any of those questions is no, the item should go.
How to Minimize Your Bedroom
As you attack your bedroom’s clutter, be thoughtful, be methodical, and be confident you’ll get it done. Then use these steps to give your bedroom the makeover (and vibe) it deserves.
1. Relocate things that don’t belong.
Are there items in your bedroom that belong elsewhere? A pile of paperwork, books, old computer equipment, empty boxes, arts and craft supplies, dirty laundry? Put those items where they belong before focusing on what’s left in the bedroom.
2. Clear the floors.
Leave nothing on the floors except furniture (and I’m going to challenge you on that in a minute). Consider storage containers, book piles, exercise equipment, or items placed in your bedroom temporarily that have begun to make themselves at home long term. Which of these things can you throw out, donate, or sell?
3. Clear surfaces.
Minimize items on your dressers, nightstands, and any shelving. These might include souvenirs, decorations, crafts, plants, piles of paper, and photos. You don’t need to eliminate everything, of course, but too often a flat surface becomes a magnet for clutter, so don’t hold back in your removal process. Keep out your most treasured items—those items that help you relax or recall happy memories. Remove anything that distracts you or stirs up anxiety, regret, or guilt. Even items that are used regularly can detract from the purpose of the room—look for ways to store them out of sight.
4. Decide how to use closets and drawers.
I know some people who store all their clothes in the closet and have eliminated the need for a dresser. And I know others, without closet space, who choose to store clothes in dresser drawers. But one thing I have found to be consistently true—the fewer clothes you keep, the more options you have for storing them in an uncluttered manner. The same goes for anything you are trying to shove in closets, drawers, and dressers…
5. Pare down decorations.
Reject decorations that simply match the colors of a bedspread; choose instead to portray images with meaning that direct your attention toward things that matter. Your decorations should tell your unique story or serve a unique purpose.
6. Get rid of furniture.
After minimizing some of the possessions in your bedroom, maybe you have a piece of furniture—or more than one—you can remove. Nothing else will make as big an impact in minimizing a bedroom as getting rid of furniture. It frees up floor space, wall space, and mental space. If you have a closet, do you really need the dresser and the armoire? What about the two nightstands, the bookcase, and the storage trunk?
7. Make the best use of under-the-bed space.
The problem with most under-the-bed spaces is that they quickly become places for hoarding unnecessary things. Our closets are full, our drawers are full . . . and the next available space is under the bed.
Let’s be clear—that’s not what I’m talking about when I encourage you to use the under-the-bed space. I am talking about being intentional with the items you keep there.
I use the space under my bed for storing useful items I don’t want to leave out in the open. Under my side of the bed, I store the books I am currently reading (because I no longer use a nightstand). My wife keeps a few boxes of keepsakes under her side as well. We live in a house with no basement or attic, so using that space under the bed has been helpful to us.
A bedroom that serves its purpose is a beautiful thing. It’s less distracting and more calming, promoting more and better sleep. It’s less crowded and more comfortable, promoting intimacy and connection.
And isn’t that the way you want to feel about your bedroom? You don’t need a fancy interior designer or brand-new furniture to change your bedroom’s vibe. You can have the feel of a dreamier bedroom without buying a thing.