The bedroom may not be the obvious place to begin spring cleaning. But it is an excellent place to begin, because time spent here gives you a huge return on your investment.
How my bedroom became my personal retreat
A few years ago my husband and I had (another) baby on the way. We decided it was time to make our two-bedroom house a three-bedroom, so we undertook to renovate the attic and make it our new bedroom. We weren’t thrilled with the plan, but we were running out of space and this attic renovation seemed like a reasonable solution. We enlisted some help, we dry-walled and painted, and we moved into our new bedroom with a few weeks to spare.
Oh. My. What a surprise. The change we had made out of pure necessity was a delight. Every night we looked forward to climbing the stairs to our private retreat, to enjoy time alone and well-deserved rest. The room was simply done, but pleasantly so, and the sight of it filled me with calm every time I reached the top of the stairs and took a look around.
I got in the habit of lighting a candle every night when I came upstairs, and I usually kept a vase filled with lilac or hydrangeas or a few inexpensive stems from the farmers’ market. My bedside table was stocked with good books and a few fluffy magazines.
The bedroom is (relatively) easy.
Because my bedroom is not a public room, I am not as tidy in that room as I am in the more visible rooms of my home. I drop clothes on chairs and the foot of the bed, I leave shoes all over the place and half the contents of my purse may be left splayed across my dresser. I would never do those kinds of things in my living room. Tall teetering towers of books balance on the bedside table and the adjacent floor and magazines that didn’t fit on the table gather dust under the bed.
The upside of this chaos is that it’s pretty easy to restore order. I can greatly improve the look and feel of the room by making the bed and neatening the bedside tables, which takes 5 minutes. First I remove everything from the tables, dust them off, and put back the items that actually belong there in an orderly fashion. (Don’t put back items that don’t belong!) Instant improvement.
My next step is to hang up any clothes lying about and attack the remaining horizontal surfaces.
If I want to go all-out (and we are talking about spring cleaning here, so that may be appropriate) I will swiffer under the bed, clean the windows, and wipe down the baseboards. I dread flipping the mattress and don’t do it often enough, but if you’re ever going to do it (and you should), spring cleaning is the time.
You could use a retreat.
A neat bedroom does wonders for my sense of calm and order–I relax just be entering the room. Once the room is neat and clean, it takes just a tiny bit of effort to imbue it with a special “retreat” feel. Here’s what I do in my own home:
- Light a candle. I absolutely adore candles from the Trapp Co. and I feel truly indulgent when I light one of these. (The black pepper scent is my favorite, and it doesn’t lend the room an overly feminine feel, which my husband appreciates. Orange-vanilla can be a little girly, no matter how wonderful it smells!)
- Buy some flowers. Seriously, all it takes is a sprig of something fresh in a bud vase to give the room a totally different feel. You can cut it out of your backyard or buy something pretty at the florist. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Just put a single stem in a vase and put it on your bedside table.
- A book you’re eager to read, a cd you love to listen to–choose something enticing and put it in the room so you can enjoy it there.
You start and end your days here.
This is the room where you wake up and the room where you drift off to sleep. It’s the first thing you see in the morning and the last you see at night. Make it a place that restores and refreshes you. Caring for yourself in this way will reap huge dividends.
Show love and respect for your partner.
You can honor your relationships by tending to the room where you spend so much of your time together.
It’s good motivation.
I get such a boost out of my improved bedroom that I am much more motivated to tackle the rest of the house, and that is a good thing when it’s spring cleaning time!
Got any advice on how you make your bedroom retreat-worthy? Please share!