By Christine Song

How to Organize Your Room for a Happier Life


Curate calm.

There’s something special about walking into a room where everything is in its place.

Close your eyes and imagine walking into your room when it’s organized and looking its best:

The bed is made, your desk is clear. Loose objects and papers are all neatly put away where they belong, benches or chairs aren’t piled high with random items, dirty laundry is not scattered across the floor, clean clothes are hung and folded… It’s an organized room, one that you want to spend time in and (dare we say) even allow someone else to enter too.

Why is this image of an organized room so inviting?

Because your bedroom is a place that is supposed to bring you peace, calm, and relaxation. What more could you want from the place you sleep? Plus, it is the most private space in your house, so it’s where you have the most control over how it feels and the most reason to invest in it feeling just right for you.

So when it’s organized, it gives you things you may not have known you needed or wanted. It is that special space where you are you; you can rest, recharge, create, and get comfy. For all these reasons, an organized bedroom can make a world of difference.

If you live with roommates or family, live on your own, or have little ones running around, your room is ultimately your domain (any your partner’s too). So here is how to organize your room: easy steps you can take to transform your bedroom from a disorganized mess to a streamlined, peaceful escape.

The bed

In most bedrooms, the bed is the focal point and the first thing you see when you walk in, if only because takes up a lot of square footage. And if you’re one to have stacks of pillows and blankets or dirty laundry on it, it can look messy pretty fast.

Give your bed the respect it deserves, and invest in the visual impact that it makes every day. You don’t need a fancy bed frame in order to elevate the clean, comfortable feeling of a nice bed.

With 2 minutes or less in the morning, you can:

  • Fix the blankets - smooth them out and pull them up so that the blanket lies symmetrically across the bed.
  • Adjust the pillows - move all your pillows to the top of the bed, by the headboard or wall, and arrange them by size, with the biggest in the back and the smallest in the front.
  • Clear the bed of clothes and other non-bed items - ideally you’ll put them where they need to be, whether it's the closet, a dresser, or hanging storage.

You’d be amazed at what a major visual difference these small changes can make.

Now, for steps you should be taking regularly but not every day:

Have you looked under your bed? Yes, the top of the bed is what your eye is drawn to, but we cannot neglect to address underneath the bed…

If your bed is low or flush to the ground and you have no under the bed space, there’s nothing for you to organize! Easy! If you have carpet, don’t forget to vacuum under the bed occasionally in order to air out the carpet and prevent mold.

For everyone else, even if you have minimal clearance between the floor and the bed frame, chances are you’ve found something to slip under there in a moment of “I’ll just put this here for now.” To achieve an organized bedroom, it is worth the investment to buy storage boxes, bins, or drawers that go under your bed so that this space doesn’t become just another mess or place to “store” things that don’t have a real home.

Under-the-bed storage is perfect when you’re low on overall storage space in your home; extra blankets, spare linens, seasonal clothes, shoes, suitcases, or camping gear can all be stored and easy to find under the bed. Try fabric or plastic storage bins, or ones with wheels for easy access.

Don’t forget the nightstand(s). Though not necessarily a part of the bed itself, nightstands are typically right there by your bed’s side, so we can’t ignore this space when it comes to organizing your room. This bit of real estate is in high demand - the typical nightstand holds essentials like a lamp or clock, but it also attracts your phone, books/papers/magazines, knick knacks, pens, etc.

To keep this space organized: take a look at what’s on and in your nightstand. What is drawn to being there, what do you need, what things should go somewhere else? 

  • Make a place for those items that should be there, but that currently lack a designated home. For example, if you seem to always have a stack of books (whether you like it or not) get some bookends to tidy up and save space. Or if you have a never-ending supply of pens and pencils, add a decorative jar. 
  • Add a drawer divider or organizer to wrangle small objects neatly. 
  • Add a bedside caddy to your bed to utilize dead space and increase storage capacity, freeing up your nightstand.
  • Tie up loose cords or headphones to minimize clutter.

Create a home for each item on your nightstand to encourage you to keep it neat. If everything has a place to go, you’re more likely to put it in its place!

The closet/dresser

Organizing your clothes doesn’t have to be a never-ending battle. With simple organizational tools, you won’t be afraid to open the closet or pull open a drawer.

Drawers can be like a giant grab bag, where things get lost and out of place quickly. It’s a major “out of sight, out of mind” problem. It’s so easy to forget certain pieces are buried, buy replacements, and end up with major duplication that compounds the chaos.

Try a different folding method (vertical rather than stacked) so that you can see everything you have when you open the drawer. Drawer dividers also keep clothes and other loose items (like scarves) from coming undone and unfolded. Things will look neater with minimal effort.

When it comes to your closet, you probably have more than just clothes in there. However, let’s just tackle one thing at a time. To focus on your clothes first:

  • Invest in hangers that streamline your closet, keep your clothes from slipping off, and make it look good to you. The hangers made specifically for skirts, ties, and pants, are also amazing and worth the investment because they keep these garments pressed and clean. Stop reusing hangers that add to the chaos; it’s a cheap solution to get nice hangers that keep things visually organized.
  • Organize your shoes with boxes, shelves, or hanging cubbies to save space and time searching for that one pair. If you don’t need the shoe box anymore, say goodbye.
  • Use hooks or storage bins to organize purses or scarves. Use the same vertical “filing” system as you used for your clothes so that things don’t get buried at the bottom of a bin.
  • Add shelves or drawers to your closet to create more space. You don’t have to invest in an expensive system to make this possible; you can get cube shelves at Ikea or Target for less than $50.

While you’re organizing your space, it’s a good opportunity to go through all of your clothes and accessories. Touch every single item in your closet. You don’t need to ask if it “sparks joy”, but it’s worth asking yourself, “When was the last time I wore this?”.

If it’s been more than 6 months, donate it. If you’d like to give the item a second chance, give yourself 3 months to wear it again and get it back in the rotation -- if it doesn’t happen, donate it.

Some people even like the idea of streamlining down to a capsule wardrobe: a limited selection of favorite pieces that you interchange to create fresh outfits while reducing clutter.

For many people, the bedroom closet frequently doubles as storage for non-wardrobe items. Is this your situation? If space is tight, clear out the things that don’t belong there and find a more appropriate home for them. If you can’t find one, create one! Add rolling/stacking drawers to get things off of the floor and out of the way, or use some of your under-bed storage space for things like suitcases, camping gear, and other non-wardrobe items taking up space in your closet.

The desk

We love a clean desk, but know how hard it is to stay organized with the constant flow of items in and out. You need a place to work, but you also need a place to store your papers, stationery, and technology, and we have learned by now that ever-changing, multipurpose spaces tend to get messy...fast.

We have many wonderful tips on desk organization, but essentially here’s what you need to do to keep your desk tidy and fresh:

  1. Declutter, sort like items with like items, and recycle or toss what you don’t need.
  2. Keep regularly used supplies handy and easily accessible.
  3. Find the right organizational tools for you and your needs. 
  4. Add fun, personal, and pretty touches to make your desk your own.
  5. Keep it clean and wiped down to encourage your organized habit.

The chairs/benches

For an organized room, designate chairs and/or benches as “no drop” zones. Don’t even be tempted by the free space you see; your chair is *not* a place for dirty laundry, backpacks, or anything else.

if you can avoid dropping everything and anything from your day on to these spaces, you’ll actually have a place to sit. Plus, this forces you to put those items in the place they belong (ideally, coats go on coat racks or hooks, bags get hung up or tucked away, your wallet/keys go in a dish by the door, etc).

An organized room is never done -- but a good start helps

Daily life means that our spaces are always changing. We are always coming in and out, bringing in new things, and needing to create or change spaces to serve our needs in the current moment. Unfortunately, you can’t just clean your room once and be done.

However, a really solid organization session can work wonders. By setting up the right systems to have in place, you set yourself up for success every day by helping yourself avoid problems and pitfalls that create clutter little by little. When you stop (or at least slow) the steady flow of clutter, you make your home a nicer place to be and you make future organizing sessions that much easier on yourself.

What do you do to declutter? We are always looking for good tips. Share with us on social! We’re @inkandvolt and we would love to learn how to make these strategies even more effective for happy, calming homes.