If You Downsize Any Room Before the End of the Year, Make It This One

published Dec 22, 2022
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While the kitchen is often the center of activity and socializing in the home — which you’ve probably confirmed this holiday season — it’s not the center of peace. That’s the bedroom’s role. 

Of course, even though your bedroom is supposed to be a haven of serenity and slumber (and, perhaps, romance), it also tends to be the dumping ground for unfolded laundry and unintended objects. Want to change that? Follow these three steps to reclaim your bedroom ahead of the new year. 

Step 1: Define the purpose of your bedroom.

Because of limited space in the rest of your home, your bedroom may double as a workspace and storage for things like books, toys, workout equipment, paperwork, and more. If you want to bring some tranquil magic back into your bedroom, try to reverse this passive approach by defining precisely what your bedroom’s purpose is. Choose your bedroom’s intention based on your goals for the space and its explicit functions. 

For instance, generally a bedroom is meant to be a quiet and private place to sleep and relax. 

After you’ve defined the purpose of your bedroom, you’ll want to streamline the items in your room and the way you store them so that the space better represents you and the feeling you want to experience when you’re in it. Start by writing a list of the items in your bedroom that don’t meet your 2023 bedroom goals. Then, decide if you’re open to letting any of these items go. For the ones you want to keep, tour your home, seeking nooks and crannies where they may better fit. Consider purchasing any organizing products that will help you better manage the items in their new homes.

Because a bedroom is a personal space, most of your personal effects can and should live there. Think: clothes and accessories, memorabilia, a book or two that you’re reading, and possibly extra blankets and linens. 

On the other hand, if you don’t regularly exercise in your bedroom, it’s best to not distract yourself with that equipment. Similarly, electronics like a TV or desktop computer may not align with the whole serenity goal. Of course, some of those items may need to remain in your bedroom out of necessity. If that’s the case, see if you can tuck some items away in your closet when you’re not using them. For any that don’t fit, take the time — and potentially some money — to organize and visually simplify these spaces. For example, maybe office supplies and small electronics can live in softly woven boxes. Perhaps you can even hide a computer monitor inside a secretary desk on the weekends. 

Credit: Liz Calka

Step 2: ID the challenges of maintaining your bedroom.

Now turn to the habits you’ve perhaps unintentionally established in your bedroom. The most common issues? Rifled-through clothes and accessories strewn on the floor and clean laundry that’s never been folded or hung. There have been volumes written about solutions for these difficulties and countless organizing devices manufactured to help you with this. Bottom line: Downsize your clothes and find the easiest system for you to maintain, understanding that that’s not necessarily the most aesthetically-pleasing one or the one you think you’re “supposed” to use. For example, if you hate putting clothes on hangers and often leave them in piles, consider using open-top bins instead.

Do skip under-bed storage, though. It always seems like a good idea until it becomes mostly forgotten and dust-encrusted. If that’s not something you want to take on the responsibility of maintaining, downsizing can help here, too.

Oh, and yes, you should make your bed every morning. A messy bed looks chaotic and unwelcoming, while a made one supports that whole idea of your bedroom serving as a peaceful respite, a place of calm and control. But this doesn’t need to be time-consuming or picture-worthy! If you know you’re not the bed-making type, go easier on yourself by not using decorative pillows and layers of perfectly aligned blankets. Instead, simply capture middle-of-the-night-sock-escapees and any other objects that have found their way onto the bed, then straighten the sheets and blankets.

Step 3: Rethink the status quo.

Even after you’ve articulated your bedroom’s purpose and addressed its challenges, something may still not feel quite right. If this resonates with you, think about whether you’re relying on the status quo to tell you what belongs in your bedroom — that may be keeping you from fully realizing your ideal space. 

For example, maybe you thought a reading chair was a must-have for a perfectly styled bedroom — but you’ve come to realize that yours simply takes up space and makes the room feel “messier,” and you’ve got a bed to sit on anyway. Or maybe your nightstands are becoming more like junk drawers than surfaces for your next-to-bed lamps — or they’re clogging the space you’d rather use for a reading chair. Speaking of your bed, do you even need one? Seriously. One of my clients opted for a hammock instead! Or maybe you’d prefer a mattress without a frame or headboard? 

Skip the assumptions about what must be in your space. The status quo stifles your creativity, and it makes it more difficult to define your bedroom’s intention and conquer the current challenges you face maintaining it — and enjoying it.