Crafting any space into a minimalist haven isn’t a very difficult task. In fact, the bedroom is one of the easier places to start. The end result of a minimalist project should be something that brings peace, harmony, and ease to your mind. It is neither getting rid of stuff for the sake of getting rid of stuff, nor jockeying for status. With that in mind, let’s look at the steps for making a minimalist bedroom.
1. What is your bedroom used for?
When you start with any minimalist project, the place to begin is not with your stuff, but with your mind. We divide spaces in our home according to the activities that we do there. Start with making a list of everything you do in the bedroom. Put it into the gerund form, even if it sounds silly. For example, you can have a list that says:
Now think about what you’d like to do in your bedroom. Ideally, a bedroom should only be for sleeping, getting dressed, and sex. These are all activities that require privacy away from the rest of the home. Our brains are wired to select particular spots as safe or comfortable places to sleep, eat, and any other activity. Doing other things in the bedroom, such as working in bed or watching TV, can affect the quality of your sleep because your mind will chew over them. If you keep a laptop in the bedroom, have you ever walked in ready for bed and then your mind nags you to fire off that email before bed?
Cross off any activities that you’d like to move out of the bedroom. You’re not saying “I’ll never do these”, just that you don’t want to do them in your bedroom.
2. Remove the items.
Now look at the items you crossed off, and the stuff in your bedroom. Anything related to the crossed off activities needs to go. Go through and move items to a more appropriate section of the house, or else eliminate any item that’s related to a crossed-off activity. You can donate the items to a charity, give them to a friend, or just throw them away. You can also try to sell them, but this can take a lot of time and is a popular excuse to hold on to something. If you must try to sell it, move it out of the bedroom and into another part of the home so it doesn’t interfere with your bedroom project. You don’t have to do this all at once. Just take a surface at a time every day.
3. See what’s left and pare it down.
The designer William Morris has a good guideline for stuff: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Keeping this in mind, go through the remaining items in the room and put it to that test. If you not used an item in over six months (for seasonal items, one year) then it is not useful. If your bed is an old lump of nightmare-inducing uncomfortable, might I suggest one of our shikibutons?
4. Know when to stop, and then maintain it.
Remember, the goal isn’t to get your room as empty as possible. It’s to make it as functionally useful and beautiful as possible. You’ll eventually hit a point where taking away anything else would interfere with the core activities or your sense of aesthetics. Stop there, and then reassess every three months or so and see if anything has crept back in. Minimalism is something that must be maintained over time, especially in our stuff-laden society.
Once you’re done, you’ll have a thoroughly enjoyable bedroom that’s crafted especially to your needs, and with no excess. You’ll find it easier to clean, more relaxing to sleep in, and easier on the mind. If you try these out, leave a comment! I’d love to hear your experiences.