Illustration: Ramóna Udvardi

The difference between a house and a home is how much you love living there. LaunchPad explores the innovative technologies that help you care for your space more effectively.

It took only a few nights in an Kiev AirBnB to figure out why I’d spent so many years unable to keep my bedroom neat. The apartment was in the Podil district, spacious and well-appointed; its master bedroom featured a queen mattress on a simple platform positioned directly in the center of the room. The bed left just enough space around it for a small nightstand and a mini-bureau for linens. I could walk the perimeter of the bed without having to turn sideways — but I came close.

I soon realized that the limitations of the space inspired more careful use of it. I had always considered the hall closets and drawer space at Airbnbs more decorative than anything, but without my go-to habit of letting my duffel bag explode onto the floor in the bedroom as an option, I folded and hung my clothes. Choosing outfits instantly became less chaotic. Unable to rest against a headboard or wall, I worked on my laptop in the much more appropriate kitchenette, and read my books on a recliner. The bedroom remained tidy throughout the trip not because I had stumbled upon my miracle bedroom maintenance plan, but because this was the first time I used the bedroom as just a bedroom.

“Bedroom” is an incomplete description of how this particular space functions for most people. Bedrooms often double as dressing rooms, home offices, entertainment centers, or, of course, the occasional impromptu dining table, for when takeout orders simply demand to be eaten in bed at the end of a long week.

These are hard habits to break all at once. But there are ways to keep these functions from crossing over into one another and creating chaos. And a space with less chaos is always less intimidating to clean and maintain. Here are some tips for reminding yourself what your bedroom is really for, and keeping it clean and serene enough to make it a restful space:

Advertisement

Once you account for how many functions your bedroom actually serves, it’s easy to understand how quickly the space devolves into chaos. So it’s important to decide on critical key functions and allot space accordingly.

Using visual cues to designate each area’s purpose will reinforce good habits about what belongs where. So placing a desk in its own corner makes your work space its own. A bed with a gauzy or linen curtain wrapped around it, or a bold statement curtain or blanket suspended over it from the ceiling, reminds you that this area is sacred and cozy and for sleeping only.

I found that a bright, multi-color 4' x 6' rug running lengthwise toward my dresser and mirror works as a dedicated “runway” space for my morning ritual of trying on and discarding outfits. Now, instead of tossing them all over the room, I have all the outfits on the carpet for easier management. If you already have carpet, there are plenty of DIY ways to integrate wood surfaces into your space to create rooms within rooms.

Advertisement

When it comes time to cleaning these surfaces, I switch between my Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum’s torque drive cleaner head for rugs and carpets, the soft roller cleaner for hardwood, and the combination tool for getting around furniture edges and doing a once-over on window treatments and curtains. The vacuum’s got incredible suction power and a 40% bigger bin than the V8, so it can suck up every single bit of dust. After all, dropping your clothes on the carpet after deciding not to wear them only works if the carpet is clean!

Got a piece of statement jewelry or a fancy dress you just don’t wear enough? Take them out of hiding in your closet, sort through the metastasizing lump of necklace chains in your jewelry box, and make them part of your bedroom décor! I’ve got my favorite sparkly jackets and cocktail dresses hanging from a recovered wooden panel with hooks on my bedroom door, and Pinterest has an embarrassment of riches on how to show off your jewelry as decoration.

Advertisement

Making sure your closet isn’t packed too tightly will also make it easier to get in there to clean. Not that the Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum needs much space (it’s cord-free and thus, super easy to maneuver), but you’ll be happier vacuuming the floors if your shoes are displayed on a rack instead of having to be picked up one by one every few weeks.

And if anyone tells you it is twee to display your books according to spine color, don’t trust them and find a cute floating shelf for your favorite color. The Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum will make sure they don’t accrue any dust — don’t want your allergies acting up just as you’re drifting off to sleep!

Advertisement

Lots of organizing advice suggests opting out of a typical nightstand and instead using a small dressers with drawers — and, by extension, much more surface area on top. But in my opinion, ample counter space is for chefs, surgeons, and that future version of you that cooks every meal from scratch.

In my experience, large surface areas attract empty Diet Coke cans, discarded cosmetics, tissues, and cords you have absolutely no idea the origin of but refuse to throw out. You can’t be expected to just eliminate a need to store clothing or have a desk, but there are a lot of us who barely touch the contents of various nightstands and storage drawer sets, and instead just let things accumulate on top of them.

We’re trying to set ourselves up for success here, so instead, minimize the square footage of space available and don’t get overzealous when decorating.

Advertisement

That also makes them easier to clean when the time comes: Pop your Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum into handheld mode and use the mini soft dusting brush. It will save you time (and lots of dust inhalation) and is gentle enough to use on delicate surfaces.

Having a dedicated space for different activities is critical, and so is knowing what tools you’ll use when the time comes to tidy those spaces. It’s easy to look at a chaotic room and just see mess, but hopefully with some better boundaries in place, you’ll start to understand your bedroom as a manageable series of tasks.

Advertisement

Don’t want to be distracted by dust bunnies while you’re working? Run a vacuum under your desk before you start your day. Cobwebs in the corner keeping you up at night? The Dyson Cyclone V10™ vacuum in handheld mode will make sure there’s nothing but ceiling overhead. When you’ve got something powerful and versatile in your corner, it’s easy to make cleaning a habit instead of a chore, and when your space feels calm, tranquil and well-cared for, well, then, hopefully you will too.

Alana Massey is an author and aspiring one-woman lifestyle empire. She lives in the Catskills in New York.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Dyson and Studio@Gizmodo.