Monday, January 19, 2015

From the Weekend: Scenes from the Bedroom Cure

Found on my husband's nightstand while curing the bedroom.

I hadn't really intended to do the "cure" quite this devotedly. I'd intended to do it the way I always do on-line events like this--pick my own tasks and do them at my own pace. Instead, it seems I am doing almost all of the assignments--and when they are assigned, too.

Along with hundreds of others all over the world, I cleaned my bedroom this weekend. I started Friday and finished Saturday.

The assignment was simply to clean. I took it a step further and decided to incorporate one of Joshua Becker's assignments from "A Simple Year." To wit, to declutter this room as one of two areas of my home and get rid of anything "unnecessary."

Once again, I started with a room badly in need of both cleaning and decluttering.

This was taken from the doorway:

This is rather embarrassing, but I had let things go--I knew the big clean up was coming and I was working 'til 10 pm all this week---excuses, excuses.

Immediately to the left of the door, we have the dresser. (That is the closet door to its left)

Then, the loveseat/dog's bed. I have had this piece of furniture since a room-mate dragged it home from a University reading lounge back in the eighties. (Room-mate and University shall remain nameless.) It's an incredibly sturdy and heavy piece of furniture.

On to the bed wall. It is a lovely little alcove just big enough to feel cosy.

And then, to the right of the bed (and tucked behind the doorway) are the shelves.

Oh, the shelves.

I have been thinking about culling their contents for months, now.

Easy to purge: the Simple Scrapbooks magazines I've had for years--but never referenced. Time will tell if I regret that decision, but I doubt it. My scrapbooking style is as simple as can be--and I don't really need books for ideas, anymore.

More difficult, however, were the books dealing with my faith. I have had periods of intense belief and periods of indifferent, almost non-belief throughout my life. I am in one of the latter right now--and I am not completely at peace with it.

When I started purging the books --the books on what it means to be a Christian woman, the books on prayer and the books on God's character, and so on, I was scared. Really scared. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know what I was doing. Was I saying good-bye to ever believing in God again? Was I committing to being an agnostic? Was I turning my back on God? I wasn't sure I was ready to do that, but those years I was a practicing Christian were truly some of the worst years in my marriage and family-life.

I decided to keep two C.S. Lewis books, Mere Christianity (which I have read) and The Problem of Pain (which I think I've started but not finished). I committed to reading the latter within six months. I will decide then whether to keep my books or let go of them.

It also occurred to me that if I ever do return to my faith--I just might want a different library.

Marie Kondo would have me pile these books on the floor. My knees argued back--and won!

As I considered each book, eventually I found myself picking up each one, holding it in my hand and asking myself, "Does this bring me joy?" Then, if the answer was no, I put the books in the box and said, out loud, "Thank you for your service."

And so I built a pile of boxes outside the door.

As you can see, I decluttered more than just the Christian books.

The rest was easy.

I decided I didn't want to see these boxes underneath the love seat anymore.

What did they store? One box was full of painting clothes suitable for a range of weights and seasons. I kept something in my current size suitable for summer and trashed the rest. The other box held summer clothes for a person about eighty pounds lighter than me. I pulled out two pairs of pants and the rest went out to the hallway.

I vacuumed everything that could possibly be vacuumed, including the mattress and the window screen. I dusted and I dusted and I dusted. I washed the mattress pad and pillow covers, sheets and pillowcases. I vowed to buy new pillows and wrestled the duvet into its beautiful cover and put a new and better piece of fabric on the poor old worn out loveseat.

I practically have a brand new room.


Nothing is styled. I basically finished, took photos and then rushed off to work.

And here we are, the shelves! I am most proud of these.

I pulled out a few toys I've had in storage. That duck on the bike is one of the silliest things ever.

So, there we have it.

One clean and decluttered room, ready for whatever the year may bring.

Boom da da boom.

ETA: I finally got the shelves tidied up and styled. Here they are:


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Great job and great inspiration.


Anonymous said...

Hi Alana,

This post really resonated with me -- I too cycle through periods of faith that vacillate from intense to, at best, indifference. What is difficult for me is figuring out how to own and honor the value I have for certain rituals and symbols without getting bogged down in the religious minutia of what those rituals or symbols "should" mean. This can be tough living in the Bible Belt with an atheist husband. :)

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I think you've done a fantastic job on your room and your house as a whole. I've followed your blog for a long time (I used to blog at min/min and we all did the wardrobe cure together at one point) and am so impressed with how you continue to refine your style and sense of self -- and make both of those things evident in your home.


PS -- There's a great children's book by David Shannon called Duck on a Bike. If you have a chance to check it out, you totally should.

Alana in Canada said...

@Lorraine--thank you!

@Laura-- thank you for letting me know I am not alone. I appreciate hearing about your struggle though I do wish you didn't have it--especially given where you live.

The wardrobe cure--my, that was many moons ago!

Thanks for your encouragement and support. It means a lot.

Marian said...

Well done, Alana! The room looks fantastic, and to my eyes, positively oozes with charm ... the hardwood floors, the sloped ceilings, the wrought-iron bed frame... :)

For what it's worth, I don't think getting rid of the Christian books necessarily has any deeper meaning (as in, getting rid of the books equates with turning your back on faith). In fact, I think that if your time as a practicing Christian was one of the worst periods in your married and family life, then getting rid of the books was probably a very healthy thing to do. Who needs reminders of difficult times?

I never had strong faith to begin with (we went to church every Sunday when I was growing up, but nothing much ever seemed to resonate, although I do have to say I loved the singing). It wasn't until after having kids and then moving to the US, that I really started thinking about faith, and I went through quite a difficult period of trying to find answers to spiritual questions. It wasn't until I stopped asking questions (and accepted that it was perfectly fine to be a non-believer) that I finally felt at peace. I wish you peace as well, Alana, no matter what side of the coin you end up on.

AJ Lauer said...

Well done! It looks lovely and so cozy in there :)
We didn't get too much more than dusting done on the bedroom this weekend. I think for our media-free night we'll tackle the closet. eek.
(found you through the AT comments :) )

La Bella Testarossa said...

Hi Alana - it's rouquinne from AT here!

Beautiful job; I love how the duvet cover pops against the green wall.

I also appreciate that you discussed the hard choices you made with respect to the books. This year, The Cure has made me appreciate a few more things about my life than my previous attempts at it ever did.

Alana in Canada said...

@Marian, thanks for that. I, too, absolutely loved the singing! And then I lost my voice. I don't know if I can be "at peace" with being a "lapsed" believer--but then, I had no peace as a believer, either. So, maybe I am just the sort of person who has a difficult time being at peace!

@AJ--thank you! Good luck with that closet. I didn't tackle it this go round as I just went through it when fall hit. I will go through it again when Spring comes in a few months.

Alana in Canada said...

@rouquinne/La Bella Thanks so much for stopping by! That is very interesting. For me, the Cure is always the same, it is my courage which makes the difference-- maybe yours too, this time?

Sarah Moya said...

Wow! Great job! Your room is beautiful! I feel like I could get on your bed, wrap myself up with that beautiful cover and fall fast asleep!

Sarah Wilson said...

I LOVE that you think your bedroom was in bad shape!! Just take a look at my bedroom post. You're before is better than my after!! lol

Sarah Wilson said...

*your, not you're

I have no clue what happened there.

Anonymous said...

Wow! You did a fantastic job on that room. It looks so inviting and cozy now.

(I too date back to the wardrobe therapy dates!)

Luisa in Dallas

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "days" not "dates"!


Anonymous said...

Well done alana😀

t said...

It looks great - much more inviting and relaxing! However, staring at a calendar from my bed would keep me up! ; )

Alana in Canada said...

@Sarah Moya--it is delicious, isn't it? The duvet cover was a gift to myself after I'd been working for six months.

@Sarah Wislon--my goodness, girl, so glad you joined the Cure!

@Luisa--thank you so much! Good to "see" you again!

@elinjanne--well, I have to say your "before" photos were quite the inspirationto me.

@t--funny, I put that calendar there years ago because I used to write in my journal every night in bed and I always wondered what the date was! I never even notice it, now.

Anonymous said...

Alana i am really impressed
You have organized ur home so beautifully

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