Want 7 hours? Toss these 7 things right now. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated December 07, 2018
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Feeling sleep deprived? Your cluttered bedroom (combined with your late-night Instagram scrolling) could be partly to blame. To give yourself the best chance at great sleep, it's important to design and maintain a bedroom that is your own personal sleep oasis. This means cutting down on clutter, getting rid of old sheets and lumpy pillows, and eliminating food from your bedroom entirely. Get rid of these seven things in your bedroom today, and you'll be one step closer to getting those seven hours tonight.

Gentile bedroom, after
Credit: Michael Wiltbank

Old Pillows

As pillows age, they tend to get lumpy and uncomfortable. Plus, if you haven’t been in the habit of washing your pillows properly, they can also be filled with dust, germs, and bacteria. Studies show that after two years of use, as much as one-third the weight of the pillow could actually be dust mites both living and dead (eek!). This may sound like a nightmare, but the simple solution is to toss out your old pillows and replace them with fresh ones, like these great options.

Spare Bed Sheets You Never Use

For each bed in your house, you should only keep three sets of sheets—maximum!—so that in theory, you could have one set on the bed, one set in the wash, and one set waiting in the wings. Take inventory of your sheet collection and recycle any that have holes, are torn, or stained. If you have more than three sets of sheets that are in good condition, consider donating the extras.

The Knickknacks Cluttering Your Bedside Table

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, the clutter surrounding you could be partly to blame. To give yourself the best shot at sound sleep, organize your bedside tables and the areas near your bed. Start by limiting the number of tchotchkes and sticking to the essentials, like a glass of water and a box of tissues.

And according to sleep studies, the one thing you should absolutely remove from your bedside table is your cell phone. The blue light electronics emit can hurt your chances at getting eight hours.

Outdated Tech Gadgets

Most of us are probably hanging onto a cell phone or two that we haven't used in years. Now's the time to get rid of these devices that are no longer serving you. It's a smart idea to keep your last phone (just in case), but the others should get donated. Best Buy and most providers will accept them. And while you're at it, don't forget to get rid of the corresponding tangle of cords and chargers.

That Bag of Clothes You Keep Meaning to Take to Goodwill

Whether you recently completed a closet purge or you keep a bag on hand at all times to collect clothes you no longer wear, the stash of clothes you have the best intentions of donating often ends up sitting on your bedroom floor for far too long. Today's the day to finally bring that bag to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you need help getting motivated, just think about how these clothes could be serving others, rather than cluttering up your bedroom.

Stacks of Magazines and Books You're Already Read

Getting rid of books is hard—trust us, we get it. It's easy to have an emotional attachment to books and magazines, but keeping that towering stack next to your bed could be causing you to lose sleep. Go through the pile, and ask yourself if you will ever re-read each book or magazine, and if the answer is "no," it's time to part with it. Since you'll be donating these books rather than throwing them in a landfill, thinking about them going on to a new home can make letting go easier.

All Traces of Food and Dishes

Maybe you have dirty dishes shamelessly hanging out on your bedside table, or perhaps you keep a snack bar in your nightstand drawer "just in case." Load all of the cups and dishes into the dishwasher immediately, and transport the snacks to the pantry. By making your bedroom a food-free zone, you'll keep crumbs out of your sheets and pests away from your bedroom, and also cut down on late-night snacking. Plus, sleep experts suggest making your bedroom a space solely for sleep and sex, so avoiding eating in your bedroom could help you catch more z's.