Organized Simplicity Chapter 14: Day 9, The Master Bedroom

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” — Don Millman

Our master bedroom should be a sanctuary. Yes, in an ideal world- the author is quick to note that a single-purpose room in our home is a luxury most don’t have! If you must have a desk there, keep it small and neat. If you excercise there, make sure the equipment can be stored away when not in use.

As you tackle the master bedroom, make sure your spouse (if applicable) is involved, and has a say! Try to get a sitter for the kids, so you two can focus.

You’ll need cleaners and tools.

(I’m so glad this is day 9. I’m running out of steam, just writing about all this! Today and just one more area and then we’re DONE. You can so do this!)

First, figure out the purpose of this room. A retreat, an office, a library, a workout space? Whatever you decide, try to keep stressful activities out- pay bills somewhere else, fold laundry somewhere else!

OK, now let’s declutter the closet. Pull out the clothes, and box up what you haven’t worn in a year. What’s left should be your regular clothes, plus a few key pieces for special occasions. Do the same thing with jewelry, bags, and shoes.

Decide what you really need for your wardrobe- what season of life are you in? If you’re saving power suits on the off chance you’ll be back in the board room when the kids are older, get rid of them- they’ll probably be out of date, anyway. What do you need for your stage of life RIGHT now? Some pointers:

  1. Stick with classics. Tim Gunn suggests
  • basic black dress
  • trench coat
  • classic white shirt
  • jeans
  • cashmere sweater
  • skirt
  • day dress
  • blazer
  • sweat suit alternative

Tsh suggests subbing a cotton sweater for the cashmere (right moms?), and adding quality t-shirts, a classic cardigan, comfortable ballet flats, and supportive undergarments. (I would add cute knit tops, not just t-shirts, and umm…a couple more pairs of “sweat suit alternative.” I have a baby, and I’m sorry, but some days I need to wake up dressed enough to work around the house.)

For men, Tsh gives this list (from a poll among her guy friends):

  • solid, neutral-colored, not black, suit and a solid colored tie
  • long sleeve white button down
  • jeans
  • short sleeve tees
  • black and brown dress shoes
  • black and brown dress belts
  • v-neck solid color sweater
  • khaki pants
  • short-sleeve solid color polo
  • athletic shoes
  • classic wool coat

(You’ve just described my husband’s entire wardrobe….except add in a black suit, because he’s an accountant. They wear those.)

2. When deciding what you need, choose quality over quantity. A well-made, classic, trench coat will probably get passed down to your daughters. A poorly made one will last a season or two. My note: Many items just never go out of style, especially if they fit you well, regardless of the cut. If I looked like Audrey Hepburn, I’d make sure I always had sassy bangs and slim-fitting cropped pants with ballet flats. No matter what the year was.)

3. My note up there goes right into item 3: know what colors and cuts look good on you. Tsh recommends Color Me Beautiful, and I do too! Some advice is a bit dated, but it’s still spot on in so many of the right places: you’ll figure out your seasonal color palette, and decide what your core style is. I’m a winter who wears classic styles- you generally won’t find earth tones or pouffy sleeves in my closet! Jewel tones, strong neutrals (black and white), and a select few pastel/icy colors. Everybody looks good in raspberry, though. And possibly peacock blue.

Alright. Closets are empty, now clean them.

Organize the closet- let a small space dictate how big your wardrobe is, you can’t fit 3 feet of shirts in 18 inches! Decide how big your wardrobe is going to be, and if something new comes in, something old needs to go.

Now, declutter the room- take care of the night stands, and under the bed.

Clean the rest of the room, and organize. If you keep things under your bed, and if they’ve survived this process, they must be important. Keep them in plastic under-bed-storage boxes, to protect from dust.

Reflection time! Stand back: does the room reflect BOTH of you? Are you happy with it? Make sure it meets, in part at least, both visions of what the room can be.

I have to be honest, the master bedroom took most of a week to clean out. My first week of cleaning, that’s all I did! I didn’t work in the yard, teach piano, or even cook much. This week, spring break is over for my piano students, I’m catching up on my weeding, and the family DOES need to eat better than we did last week.

We also keep a lot of stuff in the master bedroom- out of season breakable decorations, some fancy dishes, wrapping supplies, biking gear for my husband, my kids’ books that aren’t currently on their shelves, spare curtains, emergency kits and lights, along with clothes and such. But, a large garbage sack each of trash and to-sell items left this week, and a lot of the things that didn’t have a spot fit on the shelves quite nicely. So, major improvement!


5 Responses

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading the posts on spring cleaning. Can’t say I’ve done it yet, but reading the posts just may motivate me to start one day…probably the week before we move :). Love the ideas in it.

    • I feel like I should be moving! I’ve touched nearly everything we own, haha. This has been a fun project to write about- I’ve really enjoyed her book!

  2. Hey now. The suit is at least charcoal, and not quite black 🙂

  3. My bedroom is on the top of my to do list. I just need to sit down and DO IT! Well, that and the dining room.

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