How to Declutter Your Home: The Bedroom

(This is part of a series on decluttering your home. Read Before You BeginHow to Declutter the Kitchen and How to Declutter the Bathroom)


When you think about it, there’s not much that you really need in your bedroom: a (hopefully) cozy bed, a place to keep your clothes, and, well, that’s it. At least, that’s what we’ve got in our tiny home on wheels.

How to Declutter Your Home The Bedroom

Admittedly, it’s also nice to have a side table so you can have a lamp and place to put one book and maybe a vase jar of flowers. However, in our bus, we really don’t have space for that, so we just make do with the bed and place for clothing.

At one point, though, we had a lot more than that. Oh my goodness.

  • We had the baby crib in our room (which we only ever used as a space for our clean, but not folded, laundry).
  • Our closet was overflowing with clothes, shoes, backpacks and other miscellaneous junk.
  • The nightstand surface was piled high and the storage space inside was a cluttered mess.
  • The dresser in our room was in a similar state as our nightstand and it made me anxious just being in my room.

Thankfully, it was a pretty easy room to declutter, once I realized that I needed so little. If you’ve reached the point where you know you need to simplify your space, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, I’ve got some helpful tips for you.

And make sure you read this post before you get started so you’re not left wondering what to do with everything you take out.

Minimize furniture

How much furniture do you really need in your bedroom? For some, this won’t be a problem as there’s only space for the essentials. However, we had a house once with a giant master bedroom and felt the urge to fill it up. (Like with a baby crib.)

Look around your room at what you really use on a regular basis (and not just for piling stuff on). Would it be better suited in another room? Or gone?

Or does having it make your bedroom more cozy? If so, is it arranged in the best way to promote calm and relaxation in your room?

Put things in their rightful place

Somehow, our bedrooms become a dumping ground for, well, everything. Maybe you walked in with something, set it down and then forgot to take it out. Or, maybe your kids take stuff in there and leave it.

Whatever the case is, make sure everything is in its proper place.

Take out stuff that doesn’t belong in your bedroom.

Think of toys, tools, excess books, the TV (more on that in a sec), outdoor gear, etc. If it doesn’t belong in your bedroom, remove it. And, if you’re just not sure where to put it, evaluate whether you really need it or not. If you do, designate a space for it in your closet or under your bed.

If it’s an ongoing problem, keep a small basket in your room to put everything in at the end of the day and make sure everyone returns their items.

Ditch the TV

I read somewhere once that bedrooms are for sleeping and sex. Amen. (And if this post is also helping with your kids rooms, lets just go with sleeping).

One reason we’ve been able to declutter so much is because we removed the excess and designated special places for certain items. In our home, when we had a TV, it stayed in the living room.

Doing so removed the temptation to just lay in bed and zone out while watching TV instead of connecting with my husband. Watching it right before bed also resets your mind, making it harder for you (or kids) to fall asleep.

Clear off surfaces

It’s time to take that stack of papers, books, clothes, etc. and get them out. Treat your bedroom as your sacred space and keep out anything that detracts from that. Like bills, the ten books you’ve been trying to read at once and the mending pile that makes you more anxious than excited.

Make it a goal to keep the surfaces in your room as clear as possible.

Also, if your nightstand has a space to store extra stuff, as ours did, empty it out and keep only what must stay in your bedroom. Either put the rest back where it should go and get rid of things you can part with. How important is it really if it just gets shoved in a drawer and forgotten about?

Be selective

When it comes to the stuff you keep on display in your bedroom, be selective. (Heck, that applies to your whole house.)

  • If you have a nightstand, maybe keep a lamp, one book, a journal and something pretty. Or just the lamp and book.
  • On your dresser, you might keep a photo from your wedding and a little dish to put jewelry.
  • If you keep a desk in your room, try to keep just the essentials on it and maybe something that inspires you.

Think of a relaxing retreat you’ve either been to or seen a picture of. There’s no clutter; the surfaces are clear. And whatever’s in there has been carefully chosen to help you relax. Treat your bedroom the same way.

I know it’s cliche, but less is more. This is your space to relax and connect intimately with your spouse. The less you have, and the more treasured the items that you keep are to you, the easier it is to make it peaceful haven.

Now go get started.

Photo © bonninturina –

An Instant Library for Every Aspect of (Natural) Homemaking – for Less than $30

An Instant Library for Every Aspect of (Natural) Homemaking – for Less than $30

For the first few years of my marriage, I was a bit clueless as a homemaker. I thought cooking from scratch meant heating up convenience foods. I piled my dirty dishes in my laundry basket to take to my mom’s because I didn’t have a dishwasher. And my budget didn’t even include food. Food.

That’s … important.
An Instant Library for Every Aspect of (Natural) Homemaking – for Less than $30 | Shalom Mama
Thankfully, I learned a lot over the years.

Experience taught me that budgets are important because debt stinks, my husband is definitely the baker in our family since I love to get “creative” with recipes and you don’t use bleach on a brown carpet to stop a smoothie stain (yes, I seriously did that).

And the rest, well, the rest I learned through those wonderful sources of wisdom that always help me get a clue – books.

It is because of the wisdom shared by others that I now consider myself a pretty competent homemaker. I budget, meal plan, take care of my family naturally and homeschool our four kids without going crazy (most of the time). I haven’t even bleached a carpet lately!

That’s why I’m excited about The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

What is The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

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How to Get Your Spouse on Board with Your New Diet

How to Get Your Spouse on Board with Your New Diet

I’m in Arizona this week, having some fun and expanding my doTERRA business. So … this post was previously published a loooong time ago. Enjoy the re-post!

How to get your spouse on board with your new diet.jpg

Image credit: by I Should Be Folding Laundry

“You know, you really shouldn’t eat that.” I said to Ian as he chewed on the gooey, homemade cinnamon roll my mom sent home with him.

His response was an eye roll and a defiant bite that left nothing but cream cheese frosting on his fingers. I glowered and walked away, muttering about sugar and insulin-resistance.

Since switching to a “primal” way of eating (lots of fruit, veggies and meat, no sugar or processed foods), Ian’s eye-rolling muscles have become pretty well-defined. (However, so have his abs since I’ve quit cooking with sugars and grains. It’s a really nice side-effect. :)) Yet he’s willing to eat this way because I do almost all of the cooking.

But there’s still disagreement about sweets and breads. I have it easy here – whenever I eat that stuff, I get headaches, stomach cramps and itchy bumps that spread over my torso. It was a pretty severe reaction like this that finally got me to kick my ice cream habit. I hate feeling that way.

Ian’s a different story, though. This food doesn’t make him feel terrible. Yes, he’s noticed a few funny reactions when eating it after a particularly long break, but it’s not something that bothers him. (more…)

How to Live Simply When Your Spouse Doesn’t Want To


Image by Rowdy Kittens on Flickr

A few years ago, I found my first intentional living blog. I stayed up way too late, poring over every post, soaking in the natural, simple living goodness. I was hooked.

And I really wanted to live in an RV.

I told my husband about this awesome blog and my new desire to get rid of our stuff and live in a tiny space. He, of course, thought I’d lost my mind.

But, being the stubborn person that I am, I kept this vision in my mind. And, being the stubborn person he is, he kept on resisting. (Our children are also incredibly stubborn – lucky us!) So how is it that we’re now prepping our tiny house so we can move in this summer?

I have an evil cat mind. (This is Ian’s term for my tendency to scheme strategize).

I know my husband. I know he hates being nagged (even though I’m very good at it) and he has to experience the benefits of a new idea before he’s willing to commit to it.

So I decided that the only way to get him on board with the idea was to do it myself and show him how awesome it really is (and to be willing to hear “I told you so” and do something else if it didn’t turn out so great):

Start with your own territory

When Ian told me that there was no way he was going to live in a tiny house, I decided that just because we were living in a big house, didn’t mean we needed to have a lot of stuff. So I started purging.

I started with household stuff that I spent a lot of time cleaning and knew we didn’t need (which was about half of it). Then I got rid of a lot of my own stuff – clothes, shoes, personal care items. Finally, I moved on to kids’ stuff, like clothing and toys.

If there was something of Ian’s that I wanted to get rid of, but he didn’t, I’d leave it alone.  And every few months, I’d purge again. (Which meant, I also needed to address why I had to keep purging so I could stop the cycle).

You’ve got to be willing to get rid of your stuff, even if they won’t get rid of theirs. This can’t just be a scheme to get rid of the hideous t-shirts his dad sends him.

Have more fun now that you’re not cleaning so much

Pretty soon, I was spending a lot less time cleaning, but still had a clutter-free house. Which meant there was time to have more fun. Show your spouse the benefits of having less by spending more time with them.

Do things that line up with your values that you didn’t have time for before, like service projects or practicing hospitality. Or save up the money you get from the crap you sell to go on a special date.

Camp in small spaces

After deciding I wanted to live in a small house, I suddenly became very interested in camping, particularly in yurts or small cabins. Why? I wanted to try it out and see what it was really like. I also wanted to see how the kids reacted. Did they love it? Hate it? Did they sleep well?

We really did have a great time in small spaces and the kids slept awesome when we were so nearby. Those experiences are helping us now as we draw up the layout of our bus. We know what worked well for us and what we really need to have in our tiny space to make it more enjoyable.

Be flexible

After awhile, Ian said yes to living in a smaller house. He also started to get rid of his stuff that he didn’t use (after moving and realizing we still had a lot of stuff). Was it a tiny house? No. Did he get rid of all the stuff that I knew he wasn’t using? No. But it was a step in the right direction.

If you want to live simpler with a spouse who’s resistant to the idea, be flexible. If they agree to something that isn’t exactly in line with your vision, but is closer than you are now, go for it. Some people need more time to warm up to simple living than others (and some will only go so far).

Be patient

I’m pretty all or nothing. When I learned about simple living, I wanted to be all in. The next day. But when you’re married (and/or have kids) it takes some time to transition to that lifestyle. And that’s ok.

I think if I’d have gone straight to living in an RV, I wouldn’t have liked it. I still would have had too much stuff. I still would have had a shopping problem. And I would have been happy for a bit, but Ian would have been miserable.

Part of living more simply means building patience and practicing contentment no matter where you are on the journey. Because if you don’t, no house will be small enough, you’ll never have few enough possessions and you’ll always be anxious to do something more drastic.

It’s a journey.

Do you have a spouse who isn’t as enthused about living simply as you are? How do live more simply even though they aren’t on board?


10 Ways to Build Intimacy in Your Marriage

10 Ways to Build Intimacy in Your Marriage

Valentine’s Day is coming up – the day to build intimacy in your marriage. It’s the perfect time to give your relationship the attention it deserves. But what about the rest of the year?

Wooing your spouse and being intentional about your relationship shouldn’t be reserved for one time a year. If you want a thriving marriage, building intimacy needs to be a priority all year long. Here are some fun ideas for doing so:

1. Plan Date Night

And arrange for the sitter! One common complaint that I hear about date night (and have complained about myself) is that it seems like planning date night falls squarely on my shoulders, as well as the responsibility to arrange for childcare.

My proposal? Take turns. Plan a date night that’s all about things your spouse loves. Next month, they do the same thing. The point is to share responsibility and be thoughtful about what the other person enjoys.

2. Schedule Sex

The joy of sex isn’t lost when it’s scheduled – it’s lost when it doesn’t happen. If that happens in your house, decide how often is good for the two of you. Then, try making (and keeping) an appointment with your spouse for some sexy time. This can be really fun.

3. Profess Your Love

My friend Joshua wrote his wife a love note once a week for a year. My other friend, Justin, gave his wife a journal on their 10th anniversary full of love letters that he’d written her over the course of their 9th year of marriage. Celebrate your marriage by telling your spouse how much you love them.

4. Pursue Common Interests

Ian and I are pretty different people, but we share a lot of common interests. We both enjoy running (never thought I’d say that), good microbrews and giving thoughtfully to others.

One of our favorite things to do is leave surprise gifts (of beer) for our friends. Find ways to pursue common interests together.

5. Engage With Each Other

How easy is it to put the kids to bed, turn on the TV (or go to Facebook) and zone out until it’s time to hit the hay yourselves? Answer: too easy. Instead, take advantage of the special alone time this presents you with.

Play a game, give him a foot bath or … have sex! Even if it’s just for a little bit of time a few days a week, this is a great way to get that special time together you crave.

6. Stop Nagging

My name is Nina and I’m a recovering nag. I used to nag my husband all. the. time. Can you guess how much time he wanted to spend with me? Not much.

For the last few years, I’ve made the effort to stop nagging and start serving and my marriage has improved so much. Do I fall of the wagon? Yes. Does it last very long? No way. This habit is way too toxic to let get out of control.

7. Give Creative Gifts

For Christmas, I made Ian some “Man Coupons.” It was a really fun project and I loved watching him unwrap them. The best part was watching him read through the coupons. Yes, there were the typical sexy coupons. But there were some fun ones, suited just to his personal tastes, like:

  • Gravy … All. Over. Dinner.
  • You and Me Time. No kids. No computer.
  • Nap Time
  • Massage
  • Dessert of Your Choice
  • Guys’ Night Out. And I Won’t Bug You At All. (Ok, I learned that my ability not to bug ends promptly at 2 a.m.)

What creative gift can you give your spouse?

8. Get Out of the Rut

The date rut, that is. If every date consists of dinner at the same place, followed by a movie, it’s time to shake it up. This used to be our M.O., but then we realized that it was really … boring.

Since then, we’ve branched out – snowshoeing, hiking, getting a tattoo. Of course, we still like dinner and a move, but we’ve switched to a theater that has comfy seating and serves dinner and our favorite beer while you’re watching the movie.

9. Surprise Each Other!

What does your spouse love and how can you incorporate that into an awesome surprise?

I love miniature ponies. A (whole) lot. We always used to drive by a farm that was full of the cutest miniature ponies ever. One day, we were driving into town, right by that farm, when Ian started slowing down.

I began squealing as he turned into the driveway. He took me to the pony farm for our date (and there was even a baby pony)! He took a picture of my favorite one and framed it for me. That’s love, man.

I’ll be grinning for the next 30 minutes, just thinking about it. :)

10. Pursue Each Other

Ian and I celebrated our tenth anniversary in November. I’ve learned a lot in the last ten years, one thing being that our marriage is most enjoyable when we are intentionally pursuing each other. How?

By studying each other and being the “expert in that person (but not in a creepy, stalker way). By doing thoughtful things for each other, things that reflect the other’s interests and passions. By recognizing each other’s needs and giving the other space to meet them. By creating the time to spend with each other and being present in the moment.

You have the opportunity each day to build intimacy in your marriage. How do you do it?

Use Your Words

Use Your Words

Use Your Words

I love the crinkles around my husband’s eyes when he smiles. They’re my favorite color, blue.

And truth be told, I try to be funny just to make him laugh. I love the sound and the way he ends a good belly laugh with a “tee hee hee.”

I told him that last night as we lay in bed, trying to fall asleep in the sticky heat.

“I love to know that you treasure me, too,” he said.

We said our good nights, I love you’s and I lay in bed thinking about the conversation.

I am so grateful for my husband. For his love, passion, talents and yes, his amazing good looks.

But do I make a point to tell him often enough? Do I make a point to give him my undivided attention often enough? Do I let him know that I cherish him often enough? No.

I’m often selfish in this. I want him to treasure me, to tell me how awesome I am. I want him to go out of his way to do the things I like, to make me feel loved.

Sometimes It often it gets a little one sided.

That’s why I’m thankful for reminders like the one I had last night. My husband needs to be cherished as much as I do. And the funny thing? The more I cherish him, the more he cherishes me.

I need to use my words, to tell him how grateful for him I am. I need to let him know those things that I love about him. And act in ways that back that up.

What do you love about your spouse? What makes them so endearing?

Tell them.