The bedroom is meant to be a sanctuary, a place to retreat for relaxation and escape. "[But] it often isn't a sanctuary;it's a dumping ground," says Vicki Norris, a Sherwood, Ore.-based professional organizing expert, speaker and author.

"Make sure you reclaim adult space," Norris says. "If it's supposed to be a space for husband and wife, it's time to get toys and donated items out."

She suggests taking advantage of hidden spaces such as those under the bed or behind doors.

Norris also notes that it's important to customize the bedroom to your personal needs, whether that involves adhering to traditional design principles or not. "I see a lot of people spending money on things like chaise lounges they hardly sit in," she says. "Even if your bedroom has a little nook, you don't have to set up a sitting room if you're not going to utilize it."

When purchasing furniture, look for pieces that can double as storage, says Audrey Long, owner of New Hope, Penn.-based Audrey Long Interior Design. She recommends armoires with shallow dividers so you can easily see everything. Store extra linens under your bed, or use a chest at the end of the bed that can double as seating. "Then when you take pillows and all that fluff stuff off of the bed, you've got some place to pile it," she adds.

"Use gift boxes or shoe boxes within deeper drawers to hold sweaters and socks in neat piles," she suggests. "It holds things together, and you can see them better."

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