Simple (and small) Living vol. 7


I clearly recall the Sunday afternoon about three years ago when I was snuggled up on my giant king-sized bed, settling in under my voluminous down comforter for my Sunday afternoon nap ritual. The door was shut and the shades pulled down. I could hear the faint sound of my children playing in their rooms. My husband was reading in the living room downstairs. My weekly sabbath nap afforded me time to recharge for the week ahead.

But then the image of our spacious floor plan popped into my head, and there was no avoiding it. I was giving this up when we moved into our small home. There was no possible way my bedroom would be a sanctuary for me on Sunday afternoons, because it would be the route to the kids bedroom and our only bathroom.

The whole idea felt unpredictable. While there were many details that didn’t make sense on paper, I trusted that we could adapt and that our home could be a restful place despite these types of challenges.


Rather than focus on what I was giving up (my secluded bedroom, my own bathroom with an extra deep tup for soaking, 2000 square feet), I had to start thinking about what I would gain. I was gaining nine acres of Idaho forest right outside my window, no traffic noise, the permission to get rid of a lot of extra stuff, no more clutter on my bedside table.

Our bedroom is now the walk-through to our kids’ room. So yes, our bedroom is basically a really wide hall with a bed in it. Looking back, we probably could have reworked the floor plan a little differently. I won’t go into all of the reasons why we did it this way, but one design reality is that hallways and privacy require square footage – and we had very little to spare.

Here’s how I maximized the limited space in our bedroom to make it as uncomplicated and fuss-free as possible.


  • I chose a very simple palette.

My entire bedroom is mostly off-white. I love white, so we chose to use a creamy white,  together with some grey and natural wood in this space. It’s calming, and I love the way the outdoor sunlight makes our bedroom glow. In the morning, the whole place lights up like a big luminescent pearl. It’s lovely and makes me feel content.

  • We eliminated storage-friendly side tables.

We did this mainly because they didn’t fit.  The unexpected blessing is that I no longer have to clean off my bedside table, which I found myself doing frequently before. There were always empty glasses, books, magazines, and jewelry strewn all over the surface. Now I have a simple wood stump side table; it’s where I set my phone, which I also use as an alarm clock and Bible.

  • I am a firm believer in making your bed every day.

Even a disheveled room looks dramatically better with a made bed, and it really takes just three minutes. In a tiny bedroom, making your bed tidies up half the space!


  • My clothing collection was completely overhauled

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My wardrobe had to fit into one dresser and 36 inches of closet rod. Entire books have been written on how to downsize your clothes. One very helpful book for me was The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering by Marie Kondo and the blog Unfancy, which explores all facets of building a capsule wardrobe.

I’ll be back next week to tell you more about simplifying my wardrobe.

Now that I’ve lived in my high-traffic-area-limited-storage-minimal-bedroom for two years, I think the challenges have actually been blessings. Even though my small closet gives me angst from time to time, if I spend twenty minutes reorganizing it or finding a few items to donate to the thrift shop, I’m much more at ease. I am probably the happiest I’ve been with my wardrobe because it’s full of timeless, nicer quality pieces, and there is less quantity to wade through.


And it turns out I still regularly get that sabbath nap I was so fearful of losing. My expectation is not that it will be a quiet nap, but I do curl up on the bed and look out at that glorious view and enjoy some rest each week.

– Sarah

Simple (and small) Living series: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5, Volume 6

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  1. Nanci
    April 12, 2016

    Would love it if you could post a sketch of a floorplan for your house. It would help me to “see” how it works overall.

  2. Sarah
    April 12, 2016

    Nanci that’s a fantastic idea. I will try to include a floor plan in a future post!


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