Clean your closet, ban electronics—keep it simple.
I almost always sleep well in a nice hotel room. Whether on a business trip or enjoying a busy day hitting all the hot tourist spots, there is nothing like coming into a clean room, pulling back the sheets and climbing into a freshly-made bed with perfectly fluffed pillows.
One of the main reasons sleep comes more easily in a hotel room? The space is usually clean, serene—and uncluttered. According to a 2015 study, conducted at St. Lawrence University, a messy bedroom can result in increased anxiety and a poor night’s sleep.
“Don’t minimize the rewards you can reap from having an organized bedroom and getting that much-needed good night’s sleep," says Colleen Ashe, the founder of Ashe Organizing Solutions in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
“Often when I come into a home there is laundry everywhere, dishes stacked up, and lots of piles. So clients are often surprised when I say we are going to start with the bedroom,” says Ashe, who has been a professional organizer for more than a decade. “But it is just that important. Everyone deserves a quiet, tranquil organized place to lay down their head after a busy day.”
Still, Ashe said she understands why bedrooms are often overlooked. “It’s typically not the helm of your house and nobody is going to go snooping in your underwear draw, so you can close the door and ignore it," she says. “But after I get my clients to tackle their bedroom they always tell me that they feel a sense of peace, like a weight has been lifted off of them.”
Here are some tips for transforming your bedroom into an oasis:
1. Pare Down Your Wardrobe. “It’s widely known that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time,” says Ashe, adding that it's important to be honest with yourself. "If you haven’t worn it in over a year—maybe it has a stain, maybe it is missing a button or maybe you never liked the color—it’s probably time to give it away.” Ashe also cautions against hanging different sized clothes in your closet. “Having all those clothes in your closet that are too big and too small is just a lot of negative energy. In your main closet, keep only the clothing that you can feel good about wearing on a daily basis."
2. Pick Prime Real Estate in Closets and Dressers: Make sure that the things you love and use daily are easily accessible. “Begin to divide your spaces and pick what is prime real estate,” says Ashe. “Your top dresser drawers? Those are definitely prime.”
3. Don’t choose complicated bins or storage solutions: When storage solutions aren’t convenient, piles start to form. “If you keep your sweaters on a high shelf in the middle of winter, you are not going to want to get out a little step stool to access them. Next thing you, know you have a pile of sweaters that resemble the leaning Tower of Pisa.”
4. Don’t forget the nightstand. “Often there is only one drawer but when you open it up it looks like the kitchen storage drawer,” says Ashe. “Remove the stuff that you no longer need, want or love. If you have a flashlight for that scary 3:00 a.m. noise, make sure that it still actually works!”
5. Ban electronics from the bedroom. I admit it. The thought of not having my iPhone/alarm clock/late night entertainment center plugged in next to me on my nightstand terrifies me. But most experts recommend keeping cell phones, computers and even TVs out of the bedroom. Not only have multiple studies shown that the blue light emitted from computer or cell phone screens can disrupt REM sleep, but engaging with electronics can keep you from unwinding. “Try to keep your bedroom serene and relaxed. Have a cup of tea, a glass of wine, maybe even a conversation with your spouse,” says Ashe. “You’ll not only sleep better, you’ll feel better too.”