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June’s Task: Organize the Master Bedroom

Our bedroom is our sanctuary. It’s where we go to sleep and get restorative rest. It’s where we go for naps—when we can spare the time for one! It’s where we share intimate moments with our partners.

Clutter can put a damper on everything that takes place in your house, especially in your inner sanctum. It creates a bunch of negative noise in your mind, and all that racket prevents restful sleep.

I once worked for a tall young man who piled all his clothes—clean and dirty—on the bed. When he was ready for bed, he slept crosswise on the bed with his legs hanging off the end and his feet on the floor. And he wondered why he was getting such terrible sleep! I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t move stuff even to sleep! But it was a perfect example of what people are willing to accept when they are overwhelmed.

What to do in the bedroom to create your perfect sanctuary? Here are some ideas:

  1. Clear the floor so there’s a clean path to the bed. And not just by piling the stuff from the floor on the bed or other furniture!
  2. More than any other room in the house, this is the room where you must minimize distractions.
    1. Keep only the furniture that you really need in there—don’t add spare items to this room. The less there is, the less junky it will feel, and the less furniture there is to pile up with stuff.
    2. If you can manage it, leave the TV outside the bedroom. It may help you fall asleep, but it’s also going to wake you up again later.
    3. Spend the three minutes it’ll take to hang up or put away the clothes you wore today. We all want to come home and quickly change to at-home attire, and the nice day clothes tend to end up in a pile somewhere. If you spend a moment hanging up just those clothes, at least there will be less to trip over on the floor.
  3. Bedroom
    Your bedroom should be a sanctuary.
  4. Don’t use your bedroom as a storage or junk room. Your sanctuary is not the place for hiding stuff from public view.
    1. If you’ve run out of space elsewhere, it’s time to start sorting and purging those spaces. It’s not time to expand storage into the bedroom.
    2. Don’t let yourself hide stuff in the bedroom “just for the party.” It’ll never come out again!
  5. Spend a weekend cleaning up the master bedroom closet. Most of the clutter I find in a bedroom is the direct result of the closet being unusable. The minute it gets hard putting things away, that process stops, and the piles on the floor start to grow. Sure enough, soon after the closet get out of control, you can’t get near it to use it at all.
    1. That means sorting and purging the clothes! If you have more clothes than will fit in the closet, you will never have a functional closet. You need to be able to hang up your clothes with some wiggle room to spare, or the closet doesn’t work.
    2. If you have the cash to spend, this is a good home upgrade that directly improves your life. From custom-built closets to Elfa shelves from the Container Store, it’s money well spent if you can improve the functioning of the closet every day.

These are the program notes from the May 27, 2010, meeting of the Houston Clutter Coaching Meetup Group. The group is free and open to the public. Visit the meetup group page for information about upcoming meetings.

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