Sorry in advance if you’re thinking this post is going to be scandalous and dirty — you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
Well, okay, it might be a bit dirty, but less in a sexy bedroom way and more in a wow-I-didn’t-realize-that-your-carpet-was-that-color kind of way.
My fiancé Dan and I live with my parents in the same house they’ve lived in my entire life, so my bedroom now is my childhood bedroom. The only time I didn’t live in my parents’ house was actually when I was away at college, so this bedroom has always been my bedroom. Since my room was designed to be a nursery originally, the walls are pale pink with a unicorn border and there are several large Disney prints. In fact, there’s a print of The Beauty and The Beast that hangs over my bed that I had my parents remove for several years when I was little because it scared me. Now, the print is back in its rightful place and the Beast dons a fake mustache because one of my friends once stuck it to the framed print, and I just loved it too much to remove it. And let me tell you, those fake mustaches are made with some quality glue.
I’ve never hated the fact that my room is so childish with the pale pink walls and unicorn border, but like most children, when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to change it up. My parents used to offer to get my room painted a different color if I cleaned it, but with all of the stuff (and all the depression) I had, that seemed utterly impossible.
My room has always been a mess. My floor has always been covered with various clothing, shoes, purses, and knick knacks, with only a narrow walkway from the door to the bed. I just have so much stuff, very little storage space, and very little motivation to put things away when I’m done using them.
It’s actually a running joke with my friends and family about how messy my room is. There were always plenty of jokes about not being able to see the carpet or find my stuff. My dad used to say that just looking in my room would give him hives. Back when our dog Dixie was alive, I used to keep my room door closed at all times because we had no idea what she might find in my room and eat.
Regardless of the mess in my bedroom, my house was always the place that my friends and I hung out, so my room was always the changing room when we needed to get into and out of our bathing suits and the place where we hung out when we wanted to gossip about what was going on at school. My friends were very familiar with my room and its messiness. When we were kids, my friends and I used to attempt to clean my room, only to get distracted by all of the fun things we found. One time, my childhood friend Tiffany fell in the mess and we almost couldn’t get her out.
That’s right, my mess is so legendary that I almost lost a friend in my room. Don’t act like you’re not impressed…
Now, on my days off, I often wake up with a lot of “room cleaning” energy and jump out of bed to start organizing, but every single time I start, I almost immediately become crippled by how overwhelming the job is. Besides that, I feel so nostalgic about and attached to everything that I find. You mean you want me to throw away that prize that I won in the 3rd grade?! Are you crazy?! I might need that someday! Cleaning my room is a mental battle every step of the way. I’ve essentially come to terms with the fact that my room will never be clean. I just assumed that when Dan and I move out, I’ll be forced to go through everything and throw some stuff away, so until then, I’ll just have to grin and bear it.
But just because I assume that my room will always be messy doesn’t mean that I’m comfortable with it. In fact, my room has never really been a place where I felt comfortable or enjoyed hanging out. As an extrovert, I’ve always preferred common areas. Ever since I was little, I would hang out in our living room, either at home or at college. Even if no one was interacting with me directly, having them in the room with me and having the option for interaction was always soothing.
It always surprises me to hear when people tell me they just enjoy hanging out in their rooms instead of in the common areas of their homes. Beyond my extroverted nature, my room just doesn’t feel like a place that I would be comfortable hanging out in, especially considering the mess. I’ve moved my at-home office into my room so that I can have some distance from my relaxation space in the living room, but working in my room doesn’t help too much considering how crappy I feel sitting in there. Spending time in my room makes me feel cramped and reminds me that I’ve always failed at cleaning up my room. That’s not exactly the atmosphere that makes me feel relaxed!
One of my friends recently turned her bedroom into a kind of plant sanctuary. She told us all about how comforting her room is now and how she loves spending time in her room because she created a space that she loves. I’m so happy that she’s been able to convert her space, and hearing her story has renewed my hope for an organized bedroom. But alas, the mess feels as overwhelming as ever.
So my amazing fiancé and I made a deal. He will do the brunt of cleaning my room, if I will actually part with things and allow him to throw a lot of stuff away. I readily agreed, knowing that if I had Dan as my voice of reason, it would be easier to see through the nostalgia and recognize what is actually worth keeping and what isn’t.
So now, a few days a week while I work, Dan spends an hour or so tackling a section of my room, asking me every few minutes if I want to keep something or if he can throw it out. This way, I really think about whether or not I need the thing, I don’t feel overwhelmed, and my space becomes less cluttered, little by little. Talk about leaning on your partner and letting them help you using their strengths! It’s been so helpful to have him doing the heavy lifting on this one. Plus, I get to see him and spend time with him during the day, which I love.
I do hope that once my room is clean and/or that when Dan and I move out that I can keep my room clean without feeling stressed and overwhelmed. But don’t worry, I’ll still never be someone who makes my bed. You only get into it again at night…WHAT’S THE POINT?!