Creating a Life Free From Chaos

10 Tips for a Rejuvenating Bedroom

10 Tips for a Rejuvenating Bedroom

Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, a retreat from the world where you can relax and rejuvenate. Studies show that what you’re thinking when you go to bed affects how restful your sleep is, as well as your mood when you wake up. A peaceful bedroom free of clutter and chaos can greatly affect your outlook — your bedroom should be a welcoming retreat, not a source of stress. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so it makes sense to make your bedroom as eco-friendly and non-toxic as possible. Here are 10 tips for making your bedroom a simpler, restful sanctuary.

  1. The bedroom should be reserved for relaxation and rejuvenation. When decorating your bedroom, keep it simple. A clutter-free bedroom is calming and can be a safe haven from the chaos of daily life. If it’s not restful or sensual, it’s got to go.
  2. Keep horizontal surfaces as clear as possible. To avoid clutter on your bedside table, put away everything except maybe the book you’re currently reading, your alarm clock and your reading lamp. Some lovely flowers, or a candle, or a favorite photo of you and your sweetie are a nice touch, but don’t go overboard trying to “decorate.”
  3. Less is more in the bedroom. Remove unneeded furniture and get rid of the “stuff.” The bedroom is a place where minimalism truly is important and will contribute to your happiness immediately.
  4. When shopping for furniture and décor, opt for eco-friendly materials, or check out resale shops and antique stores for secondhand pieces. Not only are you avoiding the cost (both monetary and environmentally) of new materials and the waste that goes along with creating new products, you’ll avoid the off-gassing period from the manufacturing process.
  5. Choose low-impact linens. Cotton grown in the U.S. uses 25 percent of the insecticides in the world and 10 percent of pesticide use, so going organic here can help lighten the toxic load on both you and the planet. Those chemicals leave a residue on the finished sheets that lingers. Your skin is your largest organ, so it makes sense to be careful what it comes into contact with 8 hours a night. Other natural fibers to consider include linen, silk, jersey, and flannel – just be sure the material is organic and that it specifies that no chemical retardants or stain protection chemicals were added.
  6. Make your bed every day, preferably as soon as you get up in the morning. This simple habit not only keeps your room looking tidy, it’s a cue that tells your body and your brain that rest time is over and it’s time to get a move on. It’s also a welcoming sight when it’s time to turn in for the day.
  7. Keep it clean. By spending a few minutes daily putting away clothes, making your bed and keeping the bedroom free of clutter, you can easily keep the bedroom tidy. Choose earth-friendly cleaners for your bedroom (really, your entire home). Those commercial cleaners that kill every germ known to man can also do damage to you. Dust with a plain microfiber cloth. Use green cleaners or a DIY solution of vinegar and water to clean windows, mirrors and other surfaces. Vacuum or sweep regularly to rid the room of allergens. Launder your linens in nontoxic laundry products — use a fragrance-free, additive-free detergent, available at most grocery stores.
  8. Covered storage is very zen. Visual clutter is distracting and stressful, so store as much as possible out of sight — in boxes, cabinets or drawers. If covered storage is getting tight, it’s time to declutter.
  9. Keep the electronic items out of the bedroom as much as possible, using only necessary items such as a lamp or alarm clock. Keep electronics turned off, and unplug them or use a power strip to shut them down when not in use.
  10. Keep the bedroom sacred. Try to keep activities such as web surfing, bill paying, studying and working out of the bedroom, and do them somewhere else, such as a home office, living room or even dining room. The bedroom will be far more restful if you don’t associate it with “work.”
10 Tips for a Rejuvenating Bedroom

Q&A with Joshua Becker About “Living With Less”

Q&A with Joshua Becker About "Living With Less"

Joshua Becker, from the blog Becoming Minimalist, has been an inspiration to me for quite awhile now. He began his journey to a simple, minimalist lifestyle after a long day of cleaning out his garage when he would have rather been playing catch with his son. A neighbor’s comment that day about her daughter’s minimalist home inspired Joshua to seek out his own freedom from “stuff.”

Since then, Joshua has written several bestselling books on simplicity and minimalism including, Simplify. I recently read his latest book, Living With Less: An Unexpected Key to Happiness, a book written for teens but applicable to anyone who is interested in a simpler lifestyle. Following is a Q&A I had with Joshua about his new book. 

Q. Your new book offers advice to teens on living a simpler, minimalist lifestyle. What advice do you have for parents wishing to teach the virtues of simplicity to their children? 

Good question, Sandy. Thanks for asking it. Recently, I published a guest post on a blog that went into great detail about raising teenagers in a consumer-driven society. I’ll direct your readers there for a longer answer to the question. I interviewed a number of parents in preparation for it. But in short, teaching the virtue of simplicity is as simple (and complicated) as teaching our children to value anything we think is important. We intentionally model the behavior for them. We seek out teachable moments to speak truth into their lives. We encourage and praise when we see the virtue taking root. And we hope and pray that when the time comes, they’ll make the right choices themselves.

Q. Being a Christian myself, I had never really thought about what the Bible says about simple living. What is your favorite Scripture that inspires simplicity for you? 

In the book, I mention four specific Scriptures from the life of Christ that have played a significant role in my spiritual journey towards minimalism. But before I began living a minimalist life, the Scripture that consistently “bothered” me the most was Luke 3:11. In Luke 3, John the Baptist is preparing the hearts of Israel for the ministry of Jesus. The people ask him, “What should we do to get ready?” And John tells them, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none…” In his words, we see that John the Baptist intentionally connected our physical possessions and the preparation of our hearts for spiritual truth. As if to say, if you are desiring to experience as much of Christ’s ministry as you possibly can, rid yourself of the distraction of excess possessions. You should keep some. But only what you need. In this, your heart and affections will be better prepared for the things of God.

Q. What was the most challenging part of going minimalist for you and your family? The easiest? 

The most challenging part has always been managing the different expectations in our household of what minimalism is actually going to look like for us. I have a picture of what I think it means. My wife has a picture. My two young, growing kids have evolving pictures of what that should mean. And none of them are the same. But just like every disagreement in a marriage or family, it offers new opportunities for patience, grace, compromise, and commitment. We have learned to love and live together. Managing expectations is difficult. So is living counter-culturally in a consumer-driven world. It takes careful intentionality and focus to reject the world’s way of living. For me, the easiest thing has been experiencing and recognizing all the benefits of living with less. It truly is a life-giving approach. And we were able to articulate those benefits early in our journey of removing unneeded possessions.

Q. There are a lot of people drawn to the message of your book but overwhelmed by their own clutter and they don’t know how to start. What advice do you have to help them get started on the path to simple living?

Start as simple as possible. Nobody runs a marathon on the first day of training. Instead, they run one mile. The lessons they learn, their appreciation for the journey, and the new muscles that are developed compel them to run two miles, then five miles, then 16, and eventually 26.2. Begin to see your decluttering journey as a marathon and just start by running one mile. You didn’t collect all your possessions in one afternoon and it’ll take longer than one day to remove them. Clear out the easiest space in your home first (maybe your vehicle, living room, or guest room). You’ll love the brand-new, stress-free feel of this uncluttered space. And it’ll provide you with the motivation and victory to eventually tackle the larger projects in your home.

Q. While I find the new book applicable to all audiences, you wrote it specifically for high school students and young adults? Why did you choose that audience?

I chose to write a book specifically for the young adult market for a number of reasons. But the most important reason is because I believe they hold such great potential and I wanted to catch them with the message of minimalism before they rang up large amounts of credit card debt, car loans, or mortgage payments. I wanted to free them to pursue their passions of lasting value rather than pursue a career just because it pays well. I wanted to encourage them as early as possible to find life in the invitation of Jesus rather than search for it on sale at a department store. And my hope is it will effectively accomplish those very things in the hearts of many.