Last week, I started talking about ways to create a home that’s your sanctuary—about designing a space that you step into and say, “I’m so glad I’m home”. Think about it as moving from driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, with horns blaring, exhaust fumes, and your stress level at 10, to pulling onto a beautiful tree-lined street complete with birds chirping and the smell of honeysuckle wafting through your open windows.
In spite of it being a room where chaos often reigns, one space that should really be an oasis and safe haven is your bedroom.
Last week I explained what I’ve coined, “The Sock on the TV Phenomenon”, where once you see something long enough it simply becomes a backdrop. One place that often happens is in the bedroom. Of course, I see bedrooms that are tranquil and relaxing, but I see a lot more that are anything but that—bedrooms that are used as gyms, offices, storage facilities, TV rooms or the children’s playroom—rooms that never see anything except clutter, and aren’t at all comfortable for the homeowners. These are spaces that don’t say, “come on in, relax, unwind” but rather shout, “you’re not going to feel peaceful in here!”
“The Sock on the TV Phenomenon” is prevalent in lot of bedrooms. You put a pile of clothing on a dresser intending to put everything away later, but you get tired so the pile stays there. Eventually you just don’t see it. The same goes for the magazines, books, crafts, office supplies and tchotchkes, that end up in the space.
Creating calm doesn’t just happen. You need to be intentional about it! Having a restful place to retreat to at the end of your day, or to take some time out is critical.
In addition to making your bedroom a place that’s calm and serene, it’s important to give yourself the gift of time alone. You may have to be creative about setting aside time for solitude. For some of us that’s a lot easier than for others, who may not have any privacy.
Often, we spend so much time rushing though our lives in the “doing” that we never get to the “being”—especially alone. There has to be some division between our “public” self and our “private’ self in order to feel like we’re in balance. Shutting off the outside world, if only for 10 minutes each day, helps us figure out who we really are.
It’s likely that no one else is going to say, “you need some peace and quiet”, so you have to make it happen.
Some people are afraid to be alone. In the constant din of other voices they don’t have to listen to themselves. Spending intentional time alone can, at first, be like meeting a stranger and figuring out if you want him or her in your life. In creating this space, we also have to avoid the trap of thinking, “what should I be doing instead of sitting here?” or, “I could be doing a load of laundry or raking the yard, or vacuuming” or “if I’m here hanging out with myself, what am I missing out on that others are doing?”
Rumi, a 13th century theologian and poet wrote, “a little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you.”
Get rid of the clutter.
Pare down what you have in your closets and dressers.
Be discerning about what you put out on display; those items should be things that make you smile and bring you joy.
Invest in good sheets (you really don’t need 4 sets!).
Put a small plant on a table.
Get rid of all the electronics you can (yes, even the TV)—they have a negative affect on sleep.
Make this room a priority; before the rooms that are on “display”.
Make your bedroom the most restful place you can.
On Saturday, I spent some time vacuuming the bedroom, dusting the tables on the sides of the bed, changing the sheets, (a Saturday ritual), making sure the shoes were lined up in the closet, opening the windows to let some fresh air in. I can walk in there and breathe; I can “turn off” the outside world and enjoy my peace full home.
Next, I’ll talk about ways to make other rooms in your home feel more peaceful and less chaotic. Until then, enjoy some time alone— you deserve it.
©2014 peace full home/intentional living
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