Remember when you were a kid and your room (or the bit of the bedroom you staked out as your territory) was the only place you had to keep everything? The bed, which doubled as your couch, was squashed in between the dresser and the table, all your books and toys and projects vying for space with your homework and your backpack.
You tacked up posters up to make the space your own and if your household was chaotic, you spent a lot of time in there. If you were allowed, you had a TV, definitely a radio and often a record player too. Back then you kept everything in your room out of necessity. Your parents didn’t want your collection of millipedes in glass display cases to be their decorating theme. If you wanted to hold onto your old rocking horse, then you kept it out of everyone else‘s way at the foot of your bed. Your room was full.
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It can be hard to transition from that to a bedroom that’s just for sleep and intimacy. We know the ideal bedroom is supposed to be a calm oasis and we think that’s what we ought to want but that calm, peaceful room with its obligatory seafoam walls and muted don’t-notice-me colored sheets feels empty and impersonal. We’re all grown up now but sometimes we think longingly of that room we had, that cozy den full of the things we loved and felt were uniquely ours.
That’s why decluttering and organizing your bedroom often doesn’t work until you put thought and action into creating what I call your cozy-comfy space. It can be the corner of your bedroom if that’s big enough or you can find room in a closet or any other little nook you can uncover.
Mine is in our closet, just a squished in armchair and a shelf of books. As I read in there, I’m surrounded by our clothes and shoes and since my closet is organized and decluttered, there’s room for the chair. A soft lamp and a blanket to throw over my shoulders on cold evenings and I’m in Heaven.
It doesn’t matter that I’m surrounded by clothes and blankets rather than my childhood toys and books. I don’t need the specifics of that time but rather the feel. I felt cozy and ensconced in my overfull childhood room. I feel the same way in our small closet. That little space is just for me.
Where could you make into your cozy-comfy space? Is there room in the corner of your bedroom or do you have your favorite chair downstairs? Which end of the couch do you gravitate towards? Can you find a little end table to put next to it so you can set down a cup of tea and a book when it’s time to take a break?
Once you’ve set up comfy-cozyland, head back upstairs and take a critical look at what’s in your bedroom. Has it become a catch-all for everything that doesn’t have a place? Do clothes cover every surface and stuff every drawer? In that case, begin with decluttering. Are there boxes you haven’t opened in three moves? Set your timer and start decluttering.
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Is there an elliptical for hanging clothes on and a suitcase that’s still full of last trip’s souvenirs? Those would be good places to start too. The goal is to have everything where you use it, so if you use the elliptical to exercise and feel that’s the only/best place, then get the clothes off it and keep the area around it cleared. If you know that you’ll never use any piece of gym machinery in your house, least of all the elliptical that sort of works, then getting that thing out of your bedroom is going to clear up so much space.
Take a look at the color of the walls and the bedding – is it so muted you’re guaranteed to fall asleep out of boredom? You can have a restful space and still avoid cautious choices, so experiment with some of the colors you know make you feel joyful. Try them out as an accent piece with a pillow or picture and get out the paint rollers if you know you really want the walls to be lime green or burnt sienna. Warming up the color scheme will help your body memory resonate with that sanctuary you called your room way back when.
Now consider the decorative pillow situation. Do you have twelve pillows scattered across the bed because you love and cherish each and every one of them? Or is this another attempt to recreate the comfy-cozy feeling of your childhood room? Once you’ve set up your little nook, those pillows may be nothing more than an impediment to getting into bed easily. Or perhaps they’re there in lieu of a bedful of stuffed toys. How about getting rid of the pillows and installing beloved Teddy in your nook instead?
Try on the idea that your bedroom is cluttered because you’re lacking a comfy cozy spot. Once you’ve found your hideaway, experiment with how restful a clear, clutter free bedroom feels now.