Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Bedroom

Hooray for an early spring!  But, I've been up to my neck in hand me down clothes and pre-pregnancy bins switching out everyone's clothes.  Call me selfish, but I didn't want misplaced 40 gallon plastic totes in my pictures!  Did you miss me last week?   I will make up for the lost post though, with an extra post this week.  I told you that we had gotten new living room furniture a few months go and downsized in there even more since the pictures I posted earlier, so I owe you current pictures!  I'll update that in a few days.

In the meantime,  to reward your patience in waiting, here are the promised pictures of my bedroom.   The space is fairly small, just 10x12.  I'm actually IN the closet sitting on the dresser to take the pictures of the bed ( ha ha!)

Perhaps the rest of you feel this way, but my bedroom was always the LAST room in the house to get clean.  It was too easy just to have it be the landing place for whatever project I was working on or unsorted mess bundled up in a hurry for company - it was the best place in the house to stash all the mess I didn't want anyone to see!  I could just shut the door on it.  But, it was so disheartening to me and my husband.   Regardless of whatever the rest of  the house looked like, I was going to sleep and waking up surrounded in mess.  Talk about a mood killer.

So, if any of you out there are looking for a place to get started, start in your bedroom!  This is not just because it will lift your spirits to create this little space of peace and order for yourself  (as important as that is), but also because if you have young children, this will likely be the easiest place to keep them from interfering with the order you have created there when you move on to other areas of the house.  Shut the door, ban all children from entering the room without permission as a new family rule, and threaten all manner of severe punishments if the rule is broken.   Start this ban now, even if your room is a " work in progress" in terms of order.  When they test you (and they will) enforce it.  If this has never been a rule in your house before, just expect it and be ready with an immediate consequence.  They'll figure it out quicker than you think.

Okay, so here's how I got the room like this.  Too bad I have no before pics to show you.  When I first made the change, we slowly cleared everything from the room but what was in the closet.  In my case, hubby purchased me a new bed we desperately needed.  So, even the old bed went while the new bed was assembled.  Then, I put back the following: the bed and a pair of nightstands (with nothing but essentials in the drawers), and a small three-shelf bookcase with special personal books, topped by a pretty plant we love. I added a couple choice pictures to the wall.  I had previously cleared the closet of everything and put the old dresser INTO the closet as a way to organize it while freeing floorspace in the main room.  These are my clothes, and I have the smaller of the two hanging racks.  He has the larger and he has two pull out shelves in the drawer under the bed.  The baby has the two pull out drawers on my side for his clothes and a tiny two drawer Rubbermaid chest for blankets and shoes.  The bed is an awesome IKEA model!  I love those drawers, and the headboard also hides two small shelves for books or other personal things on either side.

We have made some changes since our initial design, mostly related to my new son!  These were taken just yesterday, so as you can see, I did add a swing when the baby was born.  He naps here and we move him here sometimes at night.   I expect we may replace this with a mini-crib against the wall. ( I may try to fit him in with the other kids in their room though.  I haven't decided yet.)  We added a tiny skinny collapsible hamper for dirty clothes too next to my husband's nightstand.  This was my way of compensating for the fact that he invariably tossed his work clothes on the floor ( Love you, babe!)   In the closet, we are storing my  Moses Basket above my side.    I added the fabric bins just about two weeks ago, as that shelf used to be sitting empty but for some bags and the Moses Basket.  The other things that I placed in the bins were creating organizing issues for me in other ways (i.e. scarves falling off of hangers in my closet, an unsightly pile of bags on my shelf, my crochet yarn getting all tangled,  etc.)  The bins really helped me and I love that they match my duvet, which I also adore.  My husband actually picked that out for me...these were our wedding colors!  It is so important to have a room you love, then you will really want to keep it neat!  IKEA sells duvet sets for as little as $9.99, most for $14.99.  If you want a quick, cheap spruce up to your room, treat yourself!  Okay, back to the bins.  In order, they hold: baby wraps, my current crochet project, a few personal necessary items, head scarves and accessories, extra bags/shopping totes/purses/diaper bag.  Yes, I know these are mostly my things, but hubby has a very large desk downstairs he stores personal items in.   The two baskets on the dresser  (his and hers) are for laying out clothes for the next day.  We usually hang any necessary items on the hanger above the basket.
So that's the story.  But, I haven't told you the best part yet.   In the morning, I collect dirty clothes, toss the covers over and smooth the bed, remove last night's water glass and shut the door. The kids are not allowed in here, so VOILA!! One whole room that is always clean.  It takes me 60 seconds in the morning to make it perfect, aside from emptying the hamper a couple times a week, replacing washed clothes in the closet and vacuuming once a week.  It always makes me feel good to go in there. I sometimes sneak upstairs to sit a minute if I am feeling overwhelmed by other parts of the house.  It has made such a difference to my husband and myself.

Now, use this for inspiration, and don't get discouraged!  I did not do this overnight.  I slowly, pile by pile, corner by corner, cleared this room over a span of many days and several weeks.  I started with the main living area, specifically with MY bedside area, then moved  onto the general floor space. It took a while because, as I said, a lot of the stuff in my room belonged everywhere in my house BUT my bedroom!  I would venture to say this was the worst room in the house before our change, rivaled only by our laundry corner downstairs.    I cleared the closet in the same way.   By the time I got the dresser into the closet, I had been living in relative order for several weeks and had disciplined myself to not pile unwanted stuff in this room.  This is another post, but a big part of achieving this was not tackling projects in other areas of the house that were too big for me to complete in a reasonable span of time.  And an even bigger part of it was just being determined that I deserved at least one room in the house that was mine and was not to be messed with!  Once my "stash and dash" habit was broken, the bedroom space was a breeze to maintain because we spend the bulk of our time in other areas of the house.   Once I got down to the furniture items, and all the other clutter had been cleared and consistently kept at bay, we went shopping at IKEA.  Hubby took the day to build the bed and I spent the evening setting the rest of the room up.  As you can see, it didn't take long at all because there really wasn't that much stuff to move!

Well, what are you waiting for?  Go!  Run upstairs, clear the top of your nightstand and a little bedside floorspace and post a "No Trespassing"  sign on your door for the kids!  Don't burn out!  Remember small, consistent change is the goal.  Focus on clearing a little more space every day, and above all, NOT re-cluttering the space with items for any reason!  Visit your cleared areas daily and "patrol" for things starting to pile up.

I need to address one more thing.  After seeing pictures of my spaces or other minimalist pictures online, you may crave having your own spaces in this kind of order, and as quickly as possible!  Some people advocate a crash clean method of getting a space in order.  If you are one of them, how's that working for you over the long term?  I did that for years...throw down all my energy and resources cleaning, exhausting myself.  It got the space cleared quick, sure.  There was certainly quick gratification.  But, it never lasted.  How many of you find that this is the case in your homes?   Same story? Here's why:

The  bulk of this battle is fought mentally, not physically.

Until I learned to clean and organize this way and adopt other essential principles of minimalism, I  never made the mind connections that allowed me to maintain my positive changes.  I had to break the habits I discussed in the passages above.   I had to break my consumer habits.  Under the crash clean method, without these real mental changes, as soon as I let down my guard days or a week or two later, things would revert to their former state.  It's about the process, not the place.   I cannot stress this enough.  If you gradually manifest this change,  and congratulate yourself for all the little successes along the way, you will be on a path to transformation, and it will be a lasting one!

Shout out those little victories!  Let's cheer each other on!

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