Your choice. Is there something that doesn’t belong in your bedroom that needs to be returned to another room? Is there a decorative item that you realize isn’t a favorite? Let it go and allow the space to become a bit more peaceful so when you get into bed you aren’t stepping over and around tasks that need to be done.
Clear out everything stored under your bed. Declutter what is no longer necessary. Consider if this is the best place to store the items you are keeping or if there are things that could be kept in better places so that they will be remembered and used.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Look for items stored underneath any piece of furniture and consider if this is the best place for the item to remain.
Is there something that you keep on your nightstand that you never use? Maybe you wanted to keep a one-sentence journal and thought that your bedside table was a great place to prompt your memory … but that hasn’t worked out.
During the winter, I keep hand cream on my nightstand because my hands get chapped. Applying hand cream seems like it would be a wonderful way to calmly end the day … but the hand cream sits there, and I never use it.
Look for the item that sits there, unused, and remove it. A bedside table can be small, so consider if you can clean off the entire piece but for the few most important items.
Consider how many laundry baskets and hampers you need for shuttling dirty clothing to the washing machine.
Do you have some laundry baskets that have become catch-alls for stuff that needs to be put away? If you walk through your home with this basket at the end of the day putting away items, great. If there’s a layer of dust on the items because they never get put away, consider that both the basket and its contents may be unnecessary.
If the basket is broken or cracked, you may still be able to use it, but clothing may get snagged and damaged.
I heard the story of a woman who put multiple hampers in her bedroom, bathroom, and closet to encourage her husband to toss his dirty clothes in a hamper instead of on the floor. Alas, he did not develop a new habit.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Take an item off your to-do list. Either do a brief activity or cross something off your list that’s been there for more than 6-months (and that you are realizing you won’t just do)
Chances are that the blankets you use are already on your bed. An out-of-season blanket may be in storage. Beyond that, how many extra blankets do you need? An extra blanket to throw over your lap if you get chilly on the couch? Enough blankets for your kids to create a fort?
Consider how many and what blankets have been used in your home over the past year. If you regularly have guests sleeping on your couch, then you’ll want a couple of blankets for that use. However, if you never need extra blankets, what just-in-case situation are you holding onto them for?
Blankets take up a lot of space and can become musty if they aren’t used for years. Donating them allows this useful item to be used.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Use your 15-minutes of decluttering to get rid of five emails (in your inbox or archived in a folder).
I’m happy with owning the sheets on my bed and a spare set that sits in the cabinet. I can strip the bed and put on a new set while the others are in the wash.
I don’t have a spare bedroom and so I don’t need sheets for guests. If I did, I’d probably only have the set on the bed that I’d wash and replace. You may enjoy switching from cotton sheets in the summer to flannel sheets in the winter.
If the fitted sheet wears out, do you replace that alone, or do you get a new set of sheets, toss the worn fitted sheet and keep the flat sheet and pillowcases just in case? Have you ever used these just-in-case-sheets?
Sheets are a functional item and so keeping things that you can’t or don’t use can clutter your linen cabinet and make it more difficult to access the items you do use.
Check with local wildlife rehabilitators or animal shelters to see if they can use worn-out sheets.
If this doesn’t apply to you: Give away a knickknack that you’ve been displaying for years even though you no longer like it or find any meaning for keeping it.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.