I use the phrase “master bedroom” loosely because it doesn’t have an attached bathroom, and in fact wasn’t even considered a true bedroom when we purchased the house because it didn’t have a closet. The room has an outside access door (which is sealed shut) and a funky ceiling, so we’ve decided it was originally a porch or sunroom that was closed in.
You may remember that for the first year this room was our school/catch-all room, and last summer we gave it a makeover. It’s still not quite finished, and is one of those examples of me setting aside a space for a season. It’s not perfect yet — pictures aren’t hung and that cute hanging planter in the corner is still sadly plant-less.
But the room makes us happy. We’ll finish it one day. Probably right about the time we add on to our house and this becomes a kids’ room (Amie has already claimed it. And I’m guessing it will become pink at that point).
We did make a few changes this year — bought lamps and fun throw pillows from Ikea (it took me close to a year to find exactly what I wanted), and David’s dad installed a ceiling fan for us and built a baseboard for the brick wall. If you want people to offer to do projects for you, just decide to adopt two children! We’ve been so grateful for the help.
I’ve had various ideas of what to do with that painted brick wall. A rustic bench with candles and a stack of books? A little bookshelf? A couple large prints or a mirror? But the longer we’ve left that space bare, the more we appreciate its simplicity (although an outlet cover wouldn’t hurt).
In the spirit of transparency, here’s the view behind our door, which is decidedly unattractive. We’ve talked about hanging a curtain over the outside door. Or better yet, taking out the door and framing a window instead. I don’t love hanging our shoes on the back of the door, but I do love freeing up storage space elsewhere (I’m telling you, you have to get creative with no/tiny closets, people). Out of season shoes and purses go in the baskets on top of our wardrobes. I’ve never regretted trading out my desk for that tucked-away filing cabinet.
Back to purging/organizing. I’ve always been a clothes and shoes minimalist. So much so that it’s a little embarrassing to show you my closet (and one of those dresses even belongs to my friend). I discovered a long time ago that I tend to wear the same things over and over, so I might as well keep it simple. It helps that I have a couple of great friends who let me borrow clothes for fancy occasions. I try to keep the bottom of my wardrobe clean but sometimes you just need a space to throw things you don’t have time to deal with yet.
I’m so proud of David, who after skimming through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, did an entire Marie Kondo clothes purge — throwing all his clothes in a big pile on the bed and going through every single piece. The man still has way more clothes than he wears, but we’ve made progress!
As we did our whole-house purge this summer, I took notes of everything we got rid of. I wanted to try to discover common themes of clutter to avoid bringing it into our home in the first place. Here’s by far the largest category of stuff we purged: things given to us by other people. I don’t want to step on any toes by writing this. All of us benefit from the generosity of others, and we are so, so grateful for all who have helped us especially in our adoption process by donating their baby gear and clothes. But we’d collected so much of it we were bursting at the seams, as well as other things over the years we felt bad getting rid of because they were given to us, some of it from our wedding 11 years ago.
I’ve come to realize that when people pass along hand-me-downs or things they’re no longer using, they really just want to be helpful. So the way I can be most grateful is to thank them, then when I get home, go through the items and immediately take out what we need, and donate the rest. That’s what I want when I pass along things to others. I’d hate for anyone to hold onto something out of guilt.
The other thing I’ve noticed about myself is I often tend to say “yes” to something offered just because it’s free or really inexpensive: be it toys or more clothes or funky little kitchen appliances, even if it’s not my exact taste or not something I would otherwise buy. And now with six of us living here we just don’t have the space for those items anymore (which is why I also avoid yard sales).
If it’s not on my list of things I’m looking for for my house or something one of us needs, then I’m learning to say no, thank you! Just because people have offered us lots and lots of fun hand-me-down clothes for Gabe and Noah, doesn’t mean I should keep them all. I keep what can fit in their drawers without cramming, and pass on the rest.
I said this last year, and I’ll say it again: it took David and I ten years of marriage to make our bedroom a priority. It was always a little plain and clutter-filled, and quite frankly, depressing. The last room on our priority list.
We’ve never for one moment regretted investing last summer in making our room a haven — choosing a paint color and curtains we loved, buying a few new things here and there, working to keep it uncluttered and peaceful. It’s not big or fancy, but it suits us perfectly.
[2014 Master bedroom here]