Don't Know Where To Start Tidying? This Is The Most Important Room To Declutter
Just thinking about decluttering your entire house is enough to raise cortisol levels. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your minimalist sanctuary probably won't be either. But if you want to choose one room to tackle first to reap the most benefits of tidying, all signs point to the bedroom.
Why is it so important to tidy the bedroom?
Simply put, cleaning up your bedroom could be a gateway to better sleep (which is basically the foundation of a healthier life).
"Your clutter is a constant to-do list—take care of this; put away that," Tracy McCubbin, decluttering expert and author of the upcoming book Making Space, Clutter Free, explains. "It's been linked to elevated cortisol and stress levels, so it's definitely not something you want in the place where you're trying to calm down and sleep at the end of the day!" McCubbin adds that those who suffer from anxiety and insomnia have the most to gain from a tidying session.
Here are four expert-approved tips to kick off your bedroom revamp.
1. Think about what you're looking at as you fall asleep.
Kyle Quilici, founder of New Minimalism, a declutter and redesign service in San Francisco, says that you should kick off your cleaning session by tackling the area across from your bed.
"What do you look at when you are falling asleep? Things that are not calming and restful: a messy desk, a computer monitor or television, your to-do list, calendar, or exercise equipment… These items all evoke awake activities that compete with sleep and restfulness," she says. Instead, go for soothing art or photos.
2. Limit the number of books on your nightstand.
"If you're one of those people who reads multiple books at a time, good for you! If you're not actively reading or referencing a book, though, time to return it to the bookshelf," says McCubbin. This little tweak can subconsciously let you know that the day is done and keep your mind from jumping between multiple things.
3. If it doesn't have to live in the bedroom, move it.
"You bedroom is not your filing cabinet. The fewer items in your bedroom, the fewer stress hormones the clutter will invoke and the easier you'll sleep at night," McCubbin adds. If something in your bedroom can easily live in another room in your home, keep it there instead.
4. The biggie: Get rid of under-the-bed storage.
Most of us have probably used the space under our beds for storage, especially if we live in a small space. But in feng shui philosophy, this is the last place we want to keep clutter.
"The objects underneath your bed can represent and create unconscious blocks in your life," Anjie Cho, an interior architect and feng shui designer, says. "You spend hours of your life in bed. Much of this time is spent while you're in a passive sleeping state, where you are greatly affected by and absorbing the energies around you."
Another feng shui expert, Marianne Gordon, has seen many clients carry their under-bed clutter into their waking life in some way, saying, "I had a client who kept all her taxes from 15 years before under her bed. Guess what she complained about most? Bills, drowning in paperwork, and tax problems of all kinds. Once she cleared her taxes from under her bed, she finally felt rested and was able to move on to generating more money with her business." Do your best to leave this area clear, save for some soft, clean linens and blankets.
Once you clean up your bedroom, and your sleep by extension, you'll be ready to tackle the rest of your home well-rested and ready to go.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.