I’m currently reading The Joy of Less: a minimalist living guide* (affiliate link, please see below) by Francine Jay. I love what I am reading so far, especially part one: philosophy. I’ll be doing a full review of the book later in the month. I’m not finished with it yet but I just finished the chapter on the bedroom and I wanted to implement something she suggested right away.
Jay encourages the reader to only keep things related to clothing and sleeping in the bedroom. She says to take out the toys, desks, papers, etc that have made their way in the bedroom and remove them.
This idea was eye-opening to me. It was the spark that I needed to finally tackle the random piles that had slowly been gathering on top of and around my desk. Our bedroom tends to be the spot where I bring things to sort (like our socks). Or a place to hide things I’ve gathered from downstairs while guests are here. That might be fine if it were temporary but the temporary piles inevitably blend in and I ignore them.
This is what my desk looked like before:
I had really high hopes that when I moved this desk into our bedroom, it would provide a place for me that signals “it’s time to get to work.” For a short while I think it did. I put baskets on top of the desk with all my articles on blogging and writing. I believe I even wrote a few posts and writing exercises there at the desk.
It was short-lived. As the way of all flat surfaces in this house – it became a clutter magnet. I piled papers, random objects, and clothes on top of it. I wrote on my laptop downstairs on the couch…as I’m doing right now.
So when Jay suggested taking everything out of the bedroom not related to clothing or sleeping, I knew I wanted to try it. Here’s a brief description of what these piles represent:
- I finally sorted through the monthly bills that could go into the piles for shredding on Earth Day.
- I filed away report cards, child health assessments, and repairs done on our car.
- I threw out little random objects that had been gathering in small piles.
- I made a pile of batteries to be brought to work to recycle.
- I put the photos that I want scanned into the storage closet to be sorted through one more time.
- I made a pile of children’s toys to be brought to their room.
- I put the weights back where they belonged downstairs.
- I made a “module” for my knitting as Jay suggests. A module is just a clear plastic box that you can put one activity’s things inside. When you’re done knitting, for example, you can close it up and put it away in its home (versus leaving it on the living room floor).
Here is what the space looks like after:
I put the desk in the landing outside of our bedroom and storage closet. We don’t necessarily have an office space in the house so I will either use the desk in that space, or I’ll decide that it isn’t necessary and donate it.
We still have our little reading nook with a table, chair, and one bookshelf in the space by the window which doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with clothing or sleeping. I find the space relaxing though so I’ll keep it in the bedroom. That’s the place I go in the morning to have quiet time and look out over our neighborhood and city while I read, reflect, and pray.
I made our bed and sat there for a while. It’s strange to have so much unused space, but so far I think I’m really going to like it. It already feels more peaceful.
Have you tried this idea of only keeping items related to clothing and sleeping in your bedroom?
I’ll be linking up to these great parties.
*This is an affiliate link, which means that at no additional cost to you, if you purchase this item, I may get a small percentage of the sale if you buy through these links. Thanks for your support!
Gilda Candelario. says
Had the house repainted last June and took the opportunity to remove things and other clutters in the house. I call the wall white wall but gradually, sometimes, I think of bringing a few items back. Temptation is so great even suggestions from my kids who would ask where the missing items are. Fortunately, I gave it away but have to admit, I kept a few.
It truly refreshing to see an empty wall, less clutter, less items on top of the cabinet. In my country, one should fill empty spaces but only those to your heart. However, through the years, it gets crowded and truly overwhelming especially when you are into collection.
Hi Gilda! I love that sentiment – “only fill the empty spaces with things that stir your heart”. I woke up this morning and did truly feel refreshed by that empty space and wall. Thank you for reading and commenting!
love the clean and spacious look and feel of your bedroom! but…have you thought that maybe the landing is too small for the desk and filing cabinet? especially compared to your lovely bedroom, it looks a bit…cramped. but, sometimes photos don’t really show the space, so i might be wrong 🙂
Hi Wilma! It is definitely too small! It’s a temporary spot while I figure out if I need the desk at all. I agree – it would be awkward to keep the desk there!!
Flat surfaces hold the same temptation for us, I’m afraid 🙂
I think it’s a universal problem Lydia!!
Oh, I like that philosophy for the bedroom… I should really do that… I also have piles and baskets and such…
The difference must be so noticeable. It looks great!
Thank you! It does make a difference. I think my husband is a little confused why I’ve put the desk out in the hallway when we have the space available – but he’s putting up with my decluttering experiments. 🙂
When I saw your before, I nodded my head sympathetically. Yep, looks like my “office”, in my bedroom too!
WOW! Your after was stunning! Terrific!
Thanks Melinda! Glad I’m not alone!
Great blog post; but I do have one question. Why not buy an inexpensive shredder so that you don’t have a bag of trash hanging around for a whole year? I’m pretty sure Marie Kondo would agree.
Now if I could just get my husband to move his computer, printer, etc. out of the bedroom. 🙂
Hi Peggy! You’re right about that. I think I’ve just gotten used to having bags of recycling/donations around but it does make a difference not having it around. I don’t want to buy a shredder but could definitely take smaller batches in to work several times versus waiting once a year.
My office used to look like your bedroom. My biggest lesson was just to make sure that everything has a home and to be sure that I put things back into their home rather than on an empty spot. I think you will be so glad that you cleared your space. I like the idea of leaving your desk where it was. What if you put a big arrangement or something in the center of it to prevent it from becoming a catch-all?
Hi Tina! Thanks for coming over! I agree that everything needs a home. I’m really making an effort to pass on or toss things first before I decide to make a home for it. It’s a process!
We only have stuff for sleeping and wearing in our bedroom, although that isn’t something we did intentionally. It’s nice to know I’m being a minimalist in at least one area of my life! Side note: I LOVE that desk.
Practicing minimalism without even knowing it! The desk is an old one from my husbands family. I think it’s solid wood. I was thinking about painting it white – what do you think? My husband is actually horrified at the idea…
heather @ Simply Save says
I’m going to add that book to my reading list! I’ve noticed that less clutter in the bedroom is helping me get more restful sleep. Thanks for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday Linkup!
It’s a good one Heather. It’s been one of my favorites so far. Let me know what you think after you read it!
Jamie @ Medium Sized Family says
Our master bedroom is definitely the catch all room of our home. I hate it, but we have no closets to use otherwise. Still, I could certainly do better about keeping some of that clutter out of there. I bet I’d sleep better!
Our master bedroom and basement are the catch all areas of our house Jamie. The lack of clutter in our bedroom actually makes me want to make our bed in the morning! In case you’re wondering – that’s a rare occurrence in our house!
Rachel G says
Our bedroom is very sparsely furnished–the bed, the cupboard full of the husband’s and my clothes, and a hanging rack for hanging clothes (we don’t have a closet). I like it that way! The top of the cupboard sometimes gets a little cluttered–usually with my husband’s clothes that made it back to the room after laundry but somehow not all the way into the drawer, haha! I like having the bedroom without a lot of unnecessary stuff in it. 🙂
I’m liking it too Rachel!
I think it is definitely a smart idea, if you have the space to keep things out. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough space!
That’s really true Echo.
Mackenzie Glanville says
I ma moving into our new home in 2 months and so I have my design hat on at the moment. I love this idea of only having those items in the bedroom. When the kids were tiny our room was full of toys and baby things, so our last home I tried to make more of an adult space and it was lovely. In the new home I will again make it a sanctuary, but we are downsizing and won’t have an office space. But I will refuse to put the desk in our bedroom. Like you though I think aerating corner is nice. Books relax me and leave me feeling good, so I agree keep your reading corner. #wakeupWednesday
Thanks Mackenzie. You sound like such a thoughtful planner and decorator. I’m really trying to make our bedroom a sanctuary as well. Congratulations on your new home!
Jennifer @ Path to Simple says
For quite some time, the bedroom was my office too. Recently, I moved my office to the guest room. I think it actually helps me sleep better now!
Me too Jennifer! It’s nice to wake up and see empty space versus clutter.
I love this, Angela! I definitely struggle to keep the bedroom organized, it’s so easy to drop stuff there! Hope you find a good place for your desk, it’s beautiful!
Thanks Hannah. I’m surprised how many compliments the desk is getting!
Karen Del Tatto says
I am someone who is “physically effected” by clutter. No really. lol. I am the anti-hoader. lol.
But in this season of having my daughter, son-in-law and grandbaby living with us, we’ve had to rearrange rooms in our house to make room for the baby nursery which resulted in my desk being moved into our bedroom. Because of my disdain for clutter, I have managed to keep my desk actually cleaner with it in my room than when it was in a designated office room.
There is much wisdom in keeping our bedrooms for sleeping and clothing. Thanks for sharing your journey to repurpose your bedroom. 🙂
Mrs. AOK says
Sooooo… you’re saying I’m not the only one who uses Whole Foods bags as filing. 🙂 I have a bag of papers next to me waiting to be shredded, I should get to that. Thank you, because that’s my mission today.
Thanks for sharing with us at Mommy Monday!
What a great post!! Clutter is something that I just can’t rest when it’s around, so this post fits me perfectly! Thank you for sharing with us at the #HomeMattersParty
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Angela, my bedroom is fine; it’s my office (especially the big desk “horizontal surface”) that’s the problem. Reading posts like this are helpful. Thank you.
That is amazing and I’m glad you are loving it! Can’t wait to read your full review of the book.
Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper says
We try to keep our rooms as minimal as possible so we can rest well but my dresser top is always an easy place for clutter to collect because it’s so easy to just lay something down and go.
Hi Victoria – any flat surfaces in our home are clutter magnet…including the floor!