Are you into the decluttering craze inspired by Marie Kondo? This organization expert from Tokyo has ignited a trend of becoming hyper-conscious about possessions and getting rid of those that don’t serve your life…joyfully, she says. (Or ruthlessly, according to packrats.)
Or maybe you don’t have a Zen-bone in your body, and every time you hear someone say “Kondo” you grit your teeth and mutter, “I am not going to thank my shoes. I’m just not.”
Consider this anyway—if you’re insomniac and also messy, your clutter might be keeping you awake. It turns out there’s wisdom behind the notion that an over-stuffed, neglected bedroom can impact your sleep. Sleep itself literally declutters a stressed-out brain. But a chaotic bedroom triggers subtle anxiety and distracted thoughts that make falling asleep more difficult.
Think once your eyes close you’re primed to sleep? Maybe so, but it’s less likely if your eyes first take in piles of clothing, jumbled dressers, a crowded nightstand or spilling closet when you come into the room. You may believe you’re tired enough to screen it all out, but on some level, your bedroom is yelling at you.
Thank-you and goodnight
Let’s play Kondo for a moment. One of her most endearing approaches (or challenging, depending on your point of view), which is understood and honored in Japanese culture, is to anthropomorphize objects. That means she considers and addresses them as though they have meaning, and even have lives. That’s where the thanking the object you’re now donating or discarding, a ritual she’s become famous for, comes in.
It may sound unusual, but even if you skip the role-play, it’s not too hard to imagine what your bedroom clutter might be saying if it could talk. Kondo wouldn’t approve of snark, but:
Clothing. Fold me nicely, I’m so sick of being dumped.
Dresser. You never wear this accessory anyway. Who’re you trying to impress?
Nightstand. Wow, it takes a lot of implements to be you. I feel exposed.
Closet. You think YOU feel uncomfortable? I’m about to explode here.
Books. Read me now or place me on a pleasant shelf, please.
Floor. Achoo! Dust much? This can’t be good for us.
Keep it simple, Sleepy
Convinced? Simplicity, serenity, and a soothing decor can have surprising benefits for your sleep. And you can create them in a room of any size. If you’re ready to give it a try, here are a few more principles for creating the bedroom of your dreams.
Allow surfaces to “speak.” Not everything horizontal needs to be holding something up. (That is an important line to ponder.) Clear off dressers except for essentials that also happen to be beautiful. On nightstands, lidded baskets can shield unappealing things like tweezers and eyedrop bottles from view.
Under-decorate. A few pieces of art with pleasant themes or happy photos (again, just a few) of loved ones will go a long way. Resist the urge to clutter every wall. A calming, soft wall color in a matte finish gives your eyes simple space and gentle shadows to contemplate before you drift off.
Go organic. Not only with a natural mattress that’s free of nasty chemicals, but with the most organic things of all—living, growing ones. A few select plants help to clean the air you breathe all night and bring nature’s peace into your retreat.
Edit and enjoy. Whether you go full-Kondo or simply recommit to keeping the bedroom tidy, you’ll find that a serene, uncluttered space helps you relax. Don’t de-clutter out of guilt, but out of a kindly sense that you’re caring for yourself by caring for your space.
Getting used to the idea? Great! Feeling welcome and relaxed is the very best way to prepare for sleep. And if you believe objects and spaces have a life of their own, just listen—your newly decluttered bedroom is humming you a lullaby.