Full circle (or maybe oval)

By Mir
September 7, 2009

It’s been approximately two years and two months since we moved into this house, and there has been a methodical progression of organization and renovation ever since then. Before we moved in our stuff, we repainted in the living room, hallways, and the kids’ rooms. The children’s rooms were the first parts completely finished and habitable, followed by the kitchen and then the living room. We redid walls and flooring, and then the dining room was perfect. We found the perfect kitchen table, and then I vowed to stop complaining so much about the kitchen. (Ahem.)

My point is that it’s not that we haven’t been working on the house and fixing it up. We totally have! But even as we’ve worked on every other room, one thing has remained unchanged: Our bedroom.

I know there are people who make the argument that your bedroom should be your beautiful haven of relaxation and the place where you can retreat at the end of the day and feel completely at ease, but I am apparently missing that gene. I believe the bedroom is… where you keep your bed. And, um, everything else.

See, I can’t abide piles of stuff and whatever in the common areas of the house. If people are going to coming through, I want an area that’s tidy and clean and functional. And in my last house, I had a giant basement, so that was a good catch-all for everything I didn’t have the time/inclination to deal with, but here, we have no basement. But we do have a giant bedroom.

I suspect you see where I’m going with this.

Our bedroom has piles. And boxes. In fact, up until yesterday, it held four boxes I never unpacked when I moved here. I mean, you’d think a couple of years would be enough time to finish unpacking, but if you were me, you’d be wrong. Inbetween the piles and the boxes we have the bed, which is fine. The bed has no headboard or fancy frame, because back when I bought it I couldn’t afford either of those. On one side of the bed we have my nightstand, which matches my giant dresser—both of which are pre-divorce pieces of furniture from a set my ex and I split up when we parted ways. Instead of a nightstand, Otto has a little… ummm… stand thing, and he has no dresser.

He does, however, have a beautiful toy box from his childhood. And a lovely oak bookcase/hutch thing rescued from his mother’s house at some point. And I have a bench and a rocking chair from the old house that haven’t found placement anywhere else, too.

To recap: We have a bed, no frame. We have a matching nightstand and dresser that don’t match the rocking chair, bench, Otto’s nightstand thing, the toy chest, or the bookcase. None of those things match each other, either. And we have stacks and piles and boxes and basically a ton of crap.

My motivation to weed through the mess is very low. No one ever goes into that room except me and Otto (and occasionally the kids). It’s not a public room or anything. I know I should take care of it, but by the time the end of the day rolls around and I’m climbing into bed and marveling at what a pit the room is, I’m asleep three seconds later. So.

One of the things I got rid of before moving down here was a cheap elliptical machine. I’d bought it when Chickadee was a baby, I think, and I was determined to get my body back. (That was, of course, long before I realized the truth that you never get your body back after a baby. You get A body back, if you’re lucky, but the one you had before? Gone forever.) Over time the elliptical had done little more than gather dust or serve as a clothes hanger, so when gathering moving estimates I finally acknowledged that I was never going to use the thing and it would be expensive to move, so I sold it.

Yesterday Otto and I answered an ad on Craigslist and drove a couple of towns over and bought an elliptical machine.

DO NOT ASK ME why I think I will actually use this one. I could tell you that I’m different (flabbier and more desperate) now, or that this one is a lot nicer than my old one, starting with the fact that it’s nearly silent vs. the one that used to necessitate turning the television ALLLLLLLLL the way up to drown out the flywheel squeaking, but I’m aware that all of this is me desperately hoping it’s true rather than, you know, actual reality. I’m aware of how ridiculous it is.

What I hadn’t quite thought through, as we were picking it up, was that yes, TECHNICALLY we have plenty of room for such a thing in our bedroom, but in reality there was nowhere to put it. On account of the boxes and piles and stuff.

So Otto and I spent a romantic Sunday evening cleaning our bedroom. Hubba hubba. And he pretended to be impressed when I finally unpacked those last four boxes, and I pretended to be impressed when he rearranged the furniture so that the room looks even MORE like it was decorated in the Early American Dorm Room style than it already did (quite a feat, let me tell you). But by gum, the new elliptical machine has a dedicated space, now, and theoretically I’m going to exercise on it.

I want to feel all triumphant and stuff, but mostly I just feel tired. Huh.


  1. Otto

    For the record, Mir is on the elliptical RIGHT NOW. And I did a spin, too. But my knees seemed to have turned into pumpkin pie filling or something …


  2. Lady M

    Congrats on the unpacking! We’ve been in our place for a year and a half, and we have one piece of furniture (piano) in our living room and zero decorating or painting done. Both children are still alive though, so we’ve accomplished something.

    Good luck on the elliptical. Maybe making a sticker chart will help you keep track of progress?

  3. dad

    Feel the burn baby.
    Time for a body rennaisance.

    To be technically correct, your bedroom incorporates all the elements of neo-eclectic architecture. While this genre has never gained the popularity of say Art-Deco or the International School, it remains a favorite of those prone to whimsy, or parsimmony.

  4. Megan

    See that’s why I am grateful that my wee little house has no conceivable room for an exercise machine because I can totally believe that if there were room I would have one, natch, and I would use it practically every day. It’s only the lack of space that’s letting me down really.

  5. liz

    I need a dad who can give pep talks about my decorating like that.

  6. liz

    Or, to be more specific, my lack of decorating.

  7. Sharon

    The limit seems to be that two-year mark – once past it, by golly, it’s time to finish unpacking. I still have one small pile, but with the progress you have demonstrated I am motivated to take the items in hand and find them a home once-and-for-all! I think I need someone to hold me accountable but my husband cares less than I do….

  8. Crickett

    Take it from a military brat: anything still in a box after 2 years is something you don’t need. Toss the box unopened. If you later determine the box contained something you now need…buy a new one! lol

  9. liv

    i think i love your dad. :)

  10. Susan

    I wasn’t much of an exerciser until I got my elliptical. I do thirty minutes a day and can definitely feel it. It’s hard at first but stick with it because it really pays off.

  11. Em

    You will get no judgement here. None. We have been here 4 years, have 2 boxes yet unpacked with stuff for the walls which really should be unpacked on account of we have nothing on the walls – for 4 years. Did you ever play The Sims where when they walked into an undecorated room, their little happiness gauge went way down? My life.

    Our bedroom, though not big also has piles. Winter clothes I only “put away” in July (remember New England?) but am pretty sure the kids will fit into again any week now when the weather changes back as well as hidden piles of toys I need to make sure the kids won’t notice are gone before I chuck them for good.

    I guess I just like reading when other people have some of my same imperfections.

  12. Karen

    We have an ENTIRE GYM in our house dedicated to the -idea- of dedication to better health we have theoretically adhered to.

  13. Becky

    Thank God I’m not the only one who thinks of the bedroom as a place to store my crap (messily) and sleep. My favorite part about the bedroom? It has a door that I can close when company comes over!

  14. Javamom

    You have described my bedroom. Er, our bedroom. Except when the nonsleeping baby’s crib moved into my/our bedroom, HE left for the downstairs dorm-style room with a bed and the bedroom became my and the baby’s room. Except, the baby is an almost 2yo toddler. Who is not ready to sleep in her brother’s room. So in addition to the crib we (I) also have, um, piles. And boxes. And bins. And stuff. And crap. And MY motivation to clean up in there, patch holes, repaint, bladibla, will increase marginally once said toddler moves out. Or I move the crib out and she has no choice but to sleep in the toddler bed in her brother’s room.

    Beautiful haven of relaxation….ha!

  15. mamabird

    I have had an elliptical for 5 years and it has gotten a lot of use. Since my daughter has been born, not so much. But it is a great way to feel like you’re accomplishing something while watching tv! I used it right until my doctor cut me off of all exercise. It takes awhile to get into a routine, but once you get there you’ll miss it if you go too long. Good luck!

  16. sillyme

    Pumpkin pie is yummy! I think I will get some. Thank you, Otto!

  17. mama speak

    Sharon–don’t come visit my house, or more specifically, my “study” which seems to be a study in how long I can go w/out unpacking a closet full of boxes. It’ll be 4 yrs this November. Maybe your post will be the kick in the arce that gets me to go finish it.

    Or not.

    And I’ve said it before, but I pink puffy heart your dad.

  18. Chuck

    See, at least you did a one-time expense for your exercise delusion. I pay dues to a gym every month that I don’t use near enough…and the last time I exercised, I did it with a low-tech power walk around the local park which was free. But I do like elliptical trainers…easier on the old joints as I hit my 40’s.

  19. Sheila

    I’d like to know what was in the four boxes!

  20. MomCat

    Oh good…I still have a couple years left to unpack those final four boxes.

  21. meghann

    I just have to say that I love knowing that I am not the only one whose bedroom looks like that. We moved in a year ago, and our bedroom still has the piles of boxes everywhere. And a bed, and some mismatched night stands. I feel better knowing that by the Mir timetable, I still have a year and a half left before I need to worry about that room. Lol!

  22. Heather @ critterchronicles

    Whoohoo for unpacking! We’ve got a military family thing going on, and we tend to move every 2.5 years or so (the shortest time in a duty station was 5 months; the longest was 34 months). We’ve lived in our current home for 12 months now, and just this past weekend my husband and I unpacked a cardboard box that we hadn’t touched since we lived in Germany, oh, 4.5 years ago. (We’ve since lived in South Carolina and Colorado and now live in Okinawa, so it’s made its way around the globe. Literally.) So I hear you on the not getting around to boxes thing.

    Also? Up until we moved here my bedside table was also our home office filing cabinet. A very attractive gray metal one, at that. Fancy. Now we have loaned-to-us government furniture and a “king-sized” bed that we fashioned by pushing two government-issue twin beds together and plopping an egg crate mattress and mattress pad on top. Again, fancy.

  23. Brigitte

    At this point, I don’t think I’ll have two pieces of furniture that match each other EVER. “Neo-eclectic” sounds good, much better than “crappy dorm room”, thanks Mir’s dad!

  24. Nicki

    I probably would have been much worse about the unpacking after this last move, had I not thought that S would have a meltdown over all the boxes. I guess it’s good sometimes to have the right motivation.

    And I have to admit, I totally didn’t see where you were going with the boxes or exercise equipment. Right now, we’re eager to turn our bedroom into a romantic retreat. (Mostly so we have some place we can afford to retreat to.)

    Good luck with the elliptical.

  25. My Kids Mom

    I’ve always disliked “bedroom suites” of matching furniture. Coordinating, yes, but pieces and parts with memories behind them works for me.

  26. Mary

    We’ve been in our house just two years now, too, though our bedroom was the FIRST room we did! No clutter (my husband is a NEAT FREAK!) and soooo peaceful! I could LIVE in that room!

    We FINALLY finished the living room (after stripping three layers of PAINTED wallpaper – don’t even get me going!) and the sofa/chair arrived Friday with the tables to follow this Thursday! Woohoo! After two years, I’m going to have more than two recliners and a big screen in my living room!!!!!

  27. Greg

    Be advised: you might have some explaining to do if you start cuffing your husband to an elliptical instead of a headboard – given your new found interest in sex toy theme parties and all.

  28. Tracy

    Well, it appears we are thinking alike. I have a treadmill that I’ve had for over a year now. It did not have a dedicated spot. Over this past weekend, I cleaned out my spare bedroom. When I say cleaned out, I mean there is nothing in there now. I repainted and now, I’m moving my threadmill in there with my spare TV and wha la…gym!

    Oh and for your four boxes…come on, Mir after 2 years, you should have just loaded them up to the Goodwill. You didn’t need anything in there…UNLESS of course, it’s gym clothes or memories. I’m just sayin’….

  29. Tammy

    After 6 years in our house, our bedroom has yet to be done. Everything else is done except our bedroom and the upstairs hallway/stairwell. Maybe next spring?

    Good for you for finally conquering your demons. You give me hope. ;)

  30. mom, again

    When we moved to Britain, we took no furniture, instead budgeting a major IKEA shopping trip for about half as much as it would’ve taken to move our crappy furniture. Oh, my, gosh! The first time EVER I had exactly the right, matching, pieces of furniture for each room. Heaven! UK houses don’t have closets. So, you have to buy wardrobes and shelves. And since we had a toddler, all those we put doors on all the shelf units to keep him from emptying them daily.

    Then, we had to move house and back to the real world of ‘we used to have this in the dining room, but I guess we’ll put it…in our bedroom. And THIS was perfect in the guestroom we no longer have so we’ll put it in…the dining room. Even though we’d used the same wood color and mostly the same product line in every room of the original plan, it was just all the wrong shapes and design for the next house, which was ‘period’ and had ‘character’ vs. the first house which was modern and very much like a U.S. house except for the no bedroom closets thing. When I came in the house, there was a cabinet in the lounge (living room) where the diaper bag, hats, coats, stroller blanket etc. etc. lived. There were also cabinets into which magazines, toys and 3 weeks worth of newspapers and mail could be swept at a moments notice. Though luckily Mum lived far enough away we had more notice than that she was coming over. Anyway, major clue: the random piles in each room now had a place to go and hide besides my bedroom.

    Anyway, we’re back in the U.S. and one thing I am committed to buying now is storage units. I got very used to having storage with doors in every room. OUr downstairs here has nowhere to put anything except the floor or the kitchen bar. For years, we had dedicated piles due to lack of furniture; which then migrated to the garage or my bedroom when the place needed to be ‘clean’ No more! Now I’ve got an IKEA plan to create a wall ‘o storage. I might not be able to buy more than so much of it at a time, but over the course of the next year, bit by bit, I will have somewhere for stuff to go.

    Go get some IKEA girl, it will solve your problems in the bedroom.

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