Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Arranging Disarray: Bedroom Makeover

The skeleton in my closet is my closet itself. As is the case with many fashion-lovers, it has managed to leak into my bedroom. This, coupled with my own messy habits, history of priorities, and busy life has turned my bedroom into anything but a Zen environment. Someone recently made the observation that I never put time into "making" my room. Even though I live in it and it has many of my beloved things, I have never put time and energy into making it mine and making it work for me. My energy has always gone into buying my wardrobe--at the expense of my environment. But, no more! My priorities are shifting, and I have started the immense task of a room makeover. We're not talking Sephora's 15 minute mini-makeover; we're talking a weekend at the spa and a day with Bobbi Brown to get things in shape.

As I undertake this project, I figured I'd share some of what I learn and what will (hopefully) make this successful. What am I defining as success?
1. A room so pretty and neat that I can take pictures in it, and it meets my standards for IG posting.
2. Meeting the above criterion occurs daily and is maintained for at least 2 months.
3. My room feels like me--not only because of being filled with things I love, but because it has my style and reflects my aesthetic.

Of course, there are restraints. After having developed a vision (start with the end in mind- this will also help with motivation), you need to start by assessing limitations. What are your limitations? For me, my budget is one. I'm ready to commit a couple k to this project, and it will likely end up being a bit over budget (rules were made to be broken, right?). I see this as an investment in self-growth and quality of life--both of which I don't think can have price tags slapped on them. A few thousand dollars seems a modest value to facilitate the aforementioned priceless commodities (See how good I am at rationalizing?). I could easily throw megabucks at this project and buy from the likes of Modern Love, Suite NY, and Horne (take a look at these stores for inspiring designer pieces). Another restraint that demands consideration is my recent acquisition of a very different sort-- a kitty I found in the middle of the road. I need to consider the fragility of items, their size and weight (any small, light décor will be batted to the floor), and surfaces (will it scratch or pull easily?). These considerations transition into the number one factor for me to be successful with this endeavor: it needs to be functional!

What is functional? The functional aspect of your room depends on your behavior and needs. Making your space functional requires that you 1.) are aware of your behavior, 2.) know your needs, and 3.) use your problem solving skills. Of course, you could change your behavior to meet your environment, but sometimes it's helpful to change your environment to meet your behavior.

Be aware of your behavior: I am an efficient person ("efficient" is a euphemism for lazy). I am not going to go out of my way for some small, unnecessary reason. For example, I hate trash cans with lids. I don't want to have to walk around my bed to get to my closet. If I take off a clothing tag, it's not worth it to me to walk to the next room to throw it away. I do not walk downstairs every time I have a small piece of something to recycle. If there is an empty surface, I will find some unnecessary item to clutter it. I *hate* doing laundry, and I will avoid laundry at all costs. I like to put special cards or notes that people have given to me where I can see them.
Know your needs: For example, I need storage. I can't afford to be consuming space in my room for purely aesthetic purposes; almost everything needs to serve a dual purpose. I have spent hours searching for decorative containers, boxes, and storage that are also functional. One of my needs for function also ties in with one of my constraints: I need everything to be kitty-proof: no fancy light that is going to be knocked over during a fit-of-energy spree, no fabric headboard to be pulled within the first week.
Use your problem solving skills: Obviously, this is likely to be closely related to your behavior and needs. The steps of problem solving: 1. Identify the problem 2. Brainstorm solutions 3. (Gather information if necessary and) Weigh the pros and cons 4. Decide and act 5. Assess outcome 6. Revise as necessary. For me and my "behavioral efficiency," problem solving consists of the placement of many items: I have a waste basket in every room, and I plan on adding a small recycling basket for the upstairs. Regarding clutter: there will not be a chair in my room; it would only serve as a magnet for items that do not need to sit on a chair. One strategy that my friend uses to reduce clutter is keeping a small basket next to her bed; as there are small, miscellaneous items she does not want to deal with through the week, she pops them in the basket. Every week, she processes the basket, putting everything where it belongs. My loathing laundry typically results in a Mount Everest of clothes, which is a pain to sort; I've bought four baskets to sort clothes as I disrobe to omit one step from the dreaded laundry process. It makes it easier for me to grab a basket, haul it downstairs, and throw it in--sans sorting time.

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