Phoebe vs. Bedroom: Part One

My previous post about house-sitting, while helpful in the self-discovery area, failed to highlight the many good things to be had in house-sitting.

After I adjusted, the solitude was pretty nice. I went at my own pace while “home”, only had to clean up after myself (usually…), watched what I wanted, blasted music and audio books, and wore my comfy clothes, which are the sort of comfortable I don’t like wearing around other humans. Being out in the middle of the country, I didn’t have to worry about drunken neighbors four-wheeling at midnight, nor did I have to deal with their super-bright bug light zapping insects all night long.

I survived two and a half weeks with a wardrobe consisting of about 35 items (not counting pajamas and the like), which was something of an experiment, and got a good start on a decent self-care routine. Hurray for clear skin!

Coming back home was something of a shock. Word to the wise: clean your bedroom before you leave for extended periods of time. I didn’t. It hurt.

For the last couple of weeks I was on something of a quest to examine my life and see where I could simplify it, and coming back to the clutter that is my personal space reminded me of this. It hit me recently that I’ve been unnecessarily stressed for someone with a job and social life as simple as mine. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m over-committed, for starters with:

  • this blog I try to regularly update
  • my over-zealous attempts to cultivate multiple healthy habits all at once
  • continuing to adjust to my job
  • my psychotic dog’s training regimen
  • my hobbies/habits, including writing, painting, and gardening
  • my class

My solution? Minimalism.

At least that’s what Jo accused me of the minute I uttered the words “capsule wardrobe”. (Her exact words were, “You aren’t becoming a minimalist, are you?” said in a disgusted tone.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept behind minimalism: simplifying your life, not allowing your possessions to control you, being a good steward of your resources, and eliminating excess. However, I don’t and probably never will be a true minimalist. Should I attempt achieving such a title, it would very likely become one of those things over which I obsess to the point of a mental breakdown. It all comes back to balance and priorities.

Which brings us back to my bedroom.

My room is not in the least bit tidy, let alone relaxing. I’ve always been something of a packrat – nothing too extreme, but more than is healthy for my sanity and my wallet. I collect random trinkets and pieces of furniture no one else wants because I hate wasting. I adopt my father’s books on a regular basis because he has good taste and their addition to my shelves makes me look smart. What’s really annoying, though, is how I’ve never really had a theme for my bedroom. It’s always been colors I found fascinating at the time, which has led to several yellow and gray items, some lime green, and a good amount of teal and turquoise in varying shades. Right now I’m into dusty purples and blue-grays.

For a year now I’ve put up with a room crammed with three bookshelves, a desk and chair, an armchair, a couple of tables, a carpet, a trunk, and my twin bed, with my dresser in the overflowing closet. I’ve already rearranged the room three times, once recently, because with the layout there are only a few places where the bed can fit, and several of those are on or along the wall shared with the upstairs bathroom. I’ve stared at the travesty of wallpaper and paint and the stained ceiling. I’ve bemoaned my habits of owning more than I need or even want and my lack of motivation for clearing out the excess. And I’ve dreamed of being able to finally paint the place so it looks half decent.

But now, in an effort to simplify my life – and because I’m 22 and honestly should have done this sooner – I’m undertaking the challenge of finally cleaning, organizing, painting, and decorating my room for, like, the first time ever.

Why now?

Because not only am I jealous of the freedom I had with a small wardrobe and almost no possessions for 2 weeks, but because those two weeks sleeping in a comfortable double bed and occasionally rescuing a dachshund earned some pretty decent cash I hadn’t been planning on.

So I’m remodeling my room, and you guys get to witness this challenge in all of its glory. It’s clutter versus procrastinating packrat, and I’m so enthused that I even gave the whole thing its own page up there on the fancy blog tab.

I’ve enlisted the girls to help me paint, which I am hoping we can complete this weekend. I settled on a color palette and got Mom’s approval, and I already had her permission to paint the trim. I even have a rough idea of how I want to arrange furniture (though I’m bound to change my mind in a week). At present my budget is $300.00, which seems staggering, but we have no paint supplies and I don’t know how much paint I’ll need, and then I’d like to get some floating shelves to replace my oldest bookcase.

I’ve spent the last few days drawing up a plan of action (see that handy page labeled “Bedroom Renovation”) and have had all I could do not to run home to get started, even though I was still house-sitting. My first night back (Tuesday) I had to force myself to go straight to bed.

At present my biggest challenges are 1) pacing myself and 2) self-control so I don’t rush out and buy accessories before the room is even painted.

As for painting, I’ve enlisted Nina and Jo’s help, which may be dangerous. Below are my current color palette and three layout options.

From left (because the type is small): Dark Gunmetal, Thistle, Alice Blue, Mindaro, and Jungle Green. The nice thing is that I already have furniture and wall art with most of these colors.

Layout:

These layouts are oriented with south at the top. It’s almost to scale, but not exactly. The door opposite the windows is the door into the hall, and the one on the west wall -> is the closet door. The east wall is shared with the bathroom and the west with Jo-the-night-owl’s room.

The furniture (or as close as I could get to the proper dimensions):

  1. Bed (I will be upgrading from a twin to a double)
  2. Desk and chair (brown thing that looks like a piano, with a white thing in front of it)
  3. Tall bookcase (textured rectangle)
  4. Second bookcase (long gray rectangle, possibly to be replaced with proper storage cubbies or a cabinet)
  5. Night table (almost-square brown/gray thing)
  6. Coffee table (gray oval that looks like a rug)
  7. Floating shelves (not purchased yet; purple line with books underneath, which was the closest I could get)
  8. Not pictured – sundry pieces of wall art and other hangings; laundry hamper; fish tank; plants; knick-knacks and junk.

I had a third bookshelf, a chair, and a rug, but removed them because they were taking up space and were not being used enough.

Option 1

Neither of the girls liked this one. Pros: one outlet is easily accessible, the bed faces east and is not against the bathroom wall, and the work and sleep areas are clearly separated. Cons: the door opens right on my bed, which isn’t tactically advantageous and also means all of my junk will immediately get dumped there.

Option 2

This was Nina’s choice. Pros: the head of the bed isn’t sharing a wall with the bathroom and I get a clear view of one of the windows. Cons: this window lets in the most light from the bug zapper, the night table is in perfect position for frequent slamming by the bedroom door, and the bookcase on the other side of the bed is blocking one of the outlets (the other is behind the desk).

Option 3

The option I’m currently most in favor of (hence the feature of Carswell the pothos). Pros: The foot of the bed is toward the door, one outlet is easily accessible (and possibly both depending on how I arrange things on the west wall), and I can put something at the foot of my bed like I wanted to. Cons: Bathroom wall.
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