As a child and teenager, I shared a room with two of my sisters. We tried to keep our bedroom organized, but it wasn’t always successful. It never bothered me to share a bedroom (and a closet!) with my sisters. But it was more challenging when the room got messy.
When I went away to university, I shared a room with two roommates. I went to Uni in Europe, which meant I had some limitations on how much I could carry with me. I don’t recall space (or lack thereof) being a big problem in our shared bedroom. Our apartment’s kitchen was tiny, which drove me nuts, but I was used to sharing a closet and storage.
At the end of university, I got my own apartment above a garage out in the countryside of Washington state. It was absolutely huge for my small-spaces-living mentality. I had whole sections of the apartment I never even went into besides when I moved in and moved out.
When I married Gabe, we moved into our one-bedroom apartment as newlyweds. We stashed our wedding gifts in the bedroom, and set up our bed in the living room (to avoid buying a couch!). We proceeded to live like it was a studio apartment for the next 2 years.
Surmise it to say: I think I kinda like small spaces! It feels cozy, and it helps reinforce my own desire for organization and keeping my stuff minimal.
Mental Health Discovery about Organized (and Empty) Spaces:
So it has been a pretty smooth transition to sharing a room with my husband and keeping our bedroom organized. When we first had our eldest daughter, we shared a house with 14 other people. Our little family only had our modest-sized bedroom and ensuite bathroom for our stuff. We had to keep it tidy, but it didn’t really bother me. What was most challenging was that I found it hard to maintain having empty space.
Empty space – bare walls, empty shelves, clear surfaces, etc – is something I need for my sense of peace and harmony. Visual clutter is overstimulating and agitating to me.
(I have a funny story of when my husband and I were living with my in-laws for a few months while we prepared to move to New Zealand. My mother-in-law has a flair for decorating, and her style is a bit “fuller” than my own taste. I got hit in the forehead by palm fronds in the bathroom while washing my hands one morning for about the 25th day in a row!
Reactively, I pulled those 2-foot-tall palm fronds out of their vase and threw them into the (lit) wood stove. Of course, I immediately regretted it as my in-laws were so gracious to allow us to live in their basement! I confessed it to my sweet mother-in-law who graciously forgave me – and laughed a bit in the process… And I learned something very important in the process: blank spaces and empty counters really are important for my mental health!)
Our Bedroom Situation: A Need for Organization
Our bedroom has to do double duty as a hallway to our only bathroom. And it also operates as my husband’s desk/schooling area, as he’s taking classes online.
I like the idea of having a space that is really a single-focus space. However, that isn’t possible for our bedroom right now. But our situation does help motivate me to keep the room tidy when I know anyone visiting that needs to use the toilet will have to walk through the room. And since my husband spends one day a week in there studying, I don’t want it to be annoying or distracting for him. So we try to keep our bedroom organized and functional.
Entry Area to the Bedroom:
On the back of our bedroom door, I have an over-the-door hook that I use to keep my bathroom, a sweatshirt, and my currently-in-use pajamas. It isn’t the tidiest looking, but it is convenient!
Just inside our door, we have a dresser that my husband and I share.
One of the top drawers contains our socks. (My husband and I share our socks, so we just have one drawer for them.) We roll the socks in pairs so it’s easy to dig and find a specific pairs un-pairing the socks.
The other top drawer is dedicated to my husband’s stuff. I’m not even sure what he keeps in there – his cologne, some pocket knives, etc.
The second drawer has most of my tops (tank tops in the left column, t-shirts in two middle columns, and long sleeve shirts in the right column).
The third drawer has my bottoms (jeans on the left, leggings/workout pants/shorts in the middle, and then on the right I have a small cardboard box with no lid holding my undies – black tights and a slip go behind that box).
The fourth drawer has more stuff for my husband – I think that’s where he keeps all his knife sharpening equipment, but again, I’m not really sure!
And then the fifth drawer is currently empty. We had Jemima’s stuff in there when she was a newborn, but now that her stuff has moved into the girls’ room, it doesn’t have an assignment… Although Jemima likes to open it and stash random things in there!
Our Current Closet Space Set Up:
In our closet, I have a few dresses, my sweaters, my nicer shirts (the ones that wrinkle badly if they get folded), some skirts, my jackets, and a pair of dressy black pants. On Gabe’s side there are some wire shelves, and he uses that for his pants, t-shirts, work clothes, and shorts. He also has some odds and ends stored on the top shelf, and boots on the floor. His side of the closet rack has his jackets, dress shirts, and vests.
The top shelf of our dress is where we keep some of our storage that doesn’t need frequent access – suitcases, out of season clothes, etc. Stashing it up there helps keep the rest of the bedroom organized.
When our girls were babies, they hung in our closet in an infant sleep hammock as their bassinet/sleep space. Now we keep a pile of blankets to make a “bed” for our eldest daughter when she needs a quiet space away from her sister!
The Bed-Portion of the Bedroom:
We each have a bedside table. My bedside table’s top drawer is where I keep the books I’m currently reading and spare chapstick, a pencil, and some paper. My second drawer has my bras and breast pads in it. The bottom drawer has my pajamas.
Over on Gabe’s bedside table, the middle drawer is where he keeps his boxers, which I know because sometimes I put them away for him after folding laundry. Otherwise, I really don’t know! It’s his domain!
I try to keep the things on TOP of my bedside table to a minimum! We have a big vase with (fake) magnolias, and a place mat of the Rialto Bridge in Venice on which I put my water bottle every night so it doesn’t drip onto the wood. I also have a bowl where I try to keep my hand lotion, chapstick, melatonin chewies, and my battery-operated alarm clock. (I don’t keep my phone next to my bed anymore – it’s charging station is in the living room, so that is where it stays all night.)
The Desk Wall and Hidden Bedroom Storage:
Next to the dresser, we also have a desk – the top of the desk is usually kept pretty clean, but we have a little rack with a bunch of stickers on it for our daughter’s character chart in one corner. We also have a canister of ink pens. Two of the drawers in the desk have office supply stuff in them – tape, sticky tack, paper clips, etc – and the bottom drawer is empty, although kids love to stash stuff in there as well! Under the desk we have a basket which serves as our family’s laundry basket. Hanging above the desk my husband has his guitar and his ukelele.
Under the bed we have some stuff stored, of course:
- our hiking backpacks and day backpacks,
- the big TV that came with the apartment that we dismounted off the wall and put under there (we don’t watch TV),
- an under-the-bed storage bin with the girls’ shoes – stuff that is too small or too big for their current size,
- a tray with homeschool curriculum stuff that someone gave me that I haven’t sorted through yet, and
- an empty tray, which I use as a “bath” for my kids on the floor of the shower if they ask for it.
Minimal Organized Bedroom Decor:
We have a couple framed photos from our wedding on one wall, and a beautiful drawing someone did of Samara on another wall, and I try to keep a vase with fresh or dried flowers on the top of the dresser. During the winter months, our dehumidifier sits on top of the dresser as well. That is not my favorite aesthetically, but I want it high and out of the girls’ reach. And we like to run it in our bedroom to help dry laundry and/or keep our bedroom window from becoming covered in condensation during the night.
Although our bedroom certainly isn’t a fancy master suite – there’s not a sitting area or reading nook, or a spot for me to workout, all of which I think would be cool to have – it is a peaceful, tidy, organized bedroom space which works very well for us.
However, sometimes I do dream about having a real master suite… I’d love to have a window seat or super comfy armchair so I could read my bible or books there; I’d love to have a bathroom with a big tub in it that I didn’t have to share with my kids (!!!); and I’d love to have a free-standing full length mirror so I could actually see my outfits while I was trying them on. But I’m also very happy with what I have!
What are your favorite features of your bedroom? Do you feel like it is a space you utilize well? What are some of the best organizational things you’ve done in your room? Are you more of a bare-walls, empty-space kind of person, or are you a ninja at storing stuff away and maximizing the use of every inch of space? I’d love to know in the comments below! Share your tips, tricks, and hacks for me (and others!) to learn from, please!
If you liked this tour of our bedroom, you can also check out the rest of my posts regarding how our family lives in our small apartment: