Our bedrooms may be our private retreat from all of life’s stresses, but let’s face it: Most of the time, this place is just a mess. We pray people won’t pop their heads in there to witness the piles of clothes, the cluttered nightstands, the unmade beds. But it doesn’t have to be that way—all you might need is a little advice on how to organize your bedroom right.

Here are seven steps to a shipshape space.

Step 1: Clean out your closet

Regardless of how messy the rest of your bedroom is, your closet is almost certainly a disaster zone. Sort through all of your clothing and donate everything you haven’t worn in the past year to your favorite charity. Consider investing in a closet system—Ikea offers a number of inexpensive options to keep your shoes, clothing, and foldable items in order.

Thinning out your wardrobe is a good first step.
Thinning out your wardrobe is a good first step.

John Dowland/Getty Images

Step 2: Make use of hidden space

Unless you’re sleeping on a platform bed, there’s plenty of room for storage underneath it. Keep winter clothing out of sight when the weather warms up by tucking it away in an under-bed box. Wheeled varieties give you easy access when that first autumn chill comes rolling through. And as a bonus, those annoying dust bunnies have less room to hide when the space underneath your bed is filled with boxes.

Step 3: Tuck away electronics

Long cables mar an otherwise attractive bedroom. Keeping them out of sight (and mind) goes a long way toward making your space look clean and organized. For a bedroom TV, use a simple cord cover to keep the cables hidden. For your collection of nighttime-charging electronics, consider creating a charging station inside your nightstand drawer.

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Step 4: Create footboard storage

There’s a reason designers love to push chests against the end of a bed: Not only do they look stylish and awesome, but they also provide serious storage space—especially in small rooms. Use them for bulky items like extra duvets, chunky sweaters, and Butkis the Belgian sheepdog’s entirecollection of Halloween costumes.

Step 5: Add a desk or vanity

These pieces of furniture don’t take much space, so go ahead and carve out space for one if that’s your desire. Add a small table with drawers on which you can perch your laptop or (if you’re going for a vanity) a lighted mirror. Include a cute but comfy chair and—if your collection of lipsticks and eyeshadows is a cluttered mess—an acrylic makeup organizer.

Step 6: Find your weak points

Last but not least, take a look at your surroundings. Where does mess accumulate most—on top of your dresser? Beside your bed? Is your nightstand a disaster? Single out the worst offenders. Then, spend a few days observing your own behavior to understand why these particular locations are such clutter magnets. Do you leave water glasses on your nightstand every night? Do all your clothes somehow wind up in a pile on the floor?

Pinpointing the biggest issues will help you make an actionable plan to turn these bad habits into good ones. For instance, vow to remove those water glasses first thing in the morning. Hang your clothes or toss them into the laundry. And last but not least, make your bed in the morning—the 5 seconds it takes to pull up the bedcover really does make a huge difference.

Then give yourself a little breathing room—research shows it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Your space might be in shape now, but the ultimate goal should be keeping your bedroom looking like a relaxing oasis 100% of the time.

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