Today is cleaning day and I normally start my cleaning in the living room, but today I started in my bedroom. I needed to clear off my dresser, which had accumulated a lot of clutter — papers that needed to be tossed or filed, unmatched socks that never found their partner, broken bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam — I couldn’t take it anymore. So my bedroom was my focus and in my mind I heard my mother from my childhood telling me to, “Clean your room!!”
As adults, our homes take on our personalities, but our bedrooms are our sanctuaries (at least in my case it is – and in many of friends it also seems to be the case). The public spaces are nicely decorated, they speak of our likes and tastes, what we want to say to the world. But our bedrooms are where we keep ourselves to ourselves. I clean for other people sometimes, and I notice the difference between the rooms. I see the little trinkets people keep in their bedrooms, the stuffed animals from their childhoods they keep in a corner; the mementos and photos; the parts of themselves that they don’t share with the rest of the world.
As I’m cleaning my bedroom, these thoughts go through my head and I start to notice what I keep in my bedroom. What parts of me am I keeping to myself? My home is a shotgun apartment; people have to travel through my bedroom to get to the kitchen or to the back of the house and backyard. My bedroom is partially on display, although I finally have a door installed (it took 4 years for my landlord to do it, previously I had a curtain to keep the AC in one room).
I also wonder, does keeping your bedroom tidy or not say anything about how you see yourself? Regardless of how the rest of your home is kept. If your bedroom is who you are … and you see yourself as messy or neat (or ALLOW yourself to get into a state when you don’t really like it to be that way, as I did), what does that mean to your psychological well-being? Hmmm.. I know there are studies done on this but, I should get back to cleaning my room. Or the mom-voice in my head will start yelling at me.