Creating a Life Free From Chaos

10 Tips for a Rejuvenating Bedroom

Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, a retreat from the world where you can relax and rejuvenate. Studies show that what you’re thinking when you go to bed affects how restful your sleep is, as well as your mood when you wake up. A peaceful bedroom free of clutter and chaos can greatly affect your outlook – your bedroom should be a welcoming retreat, not a source of stress. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so it makes sense to make your bedroom as eco-friendly and non-toxic as possible. Here are 10 tips for making your bedroom a simpler, restful sanctuary.

  1. The bedroom should be reserved for relaxation and rejuvenation. When decorating your bedroom, keep it simple. A clutter-free bedroom is calming and can be a safe haven from the chaos of daily life. If it’s not restful or sensual, it’s got to go.
  2. Keep horizontal surfaces as clear as possible. To avoid clutter on your bedside table, put away everything except maybe the book you’re currently reading, your alarm clock and your reading lamp. Some lovely flowers, or a candle, or a favorite photo of you and your sweetie are a nice touch, but don’t go overboard trying to “decorate.”
  3. Less is more in the bedroom. Remove unneeded furniture and get rid of the “stuff.” The bedroom is a place where minimalism truly is important and will contribute to your happiness immediately.
  4. When shopping for furniture and décor, opt for eco-friendly materials, or check out resale shops and antique stores for secondhand pieces. Not only are you avoiding the cost (both monetary and environmentally) of new materials and the waste that goes along with creating new products, you’ll avoid the off-gassing period from the manufacturing process.
  5. Choose low-impact linens. Cotton grown in the U.S. uses 25 percent of the insecticides in the world and 10 percent of pesticide use, so going organic here can help lighten the toxic load on both you and the planet. Those chemicals leave a residue on the finished sheets that lingers. Your skin is your largest organ, so it makes sense to be careful what it comes into contact with 8 hours a night. Other natural fibers to consider include linen, silk, jersey, and flannel – just be sure the material is organic and that it specifies that no chemical retardants or stain protection chemicals were added.
  6. Make your bed every day, preferably as soon as you get up in the morning. This simple habit not only keeps your room looking tidy, it’s a cue that tells your body and your brain that rest time is over and it’s time to get a move on. It’s also a welcoming sight when it’s time to turn in for the day.
  7. Keep it clean. By spending a few minutes daily putting away clothes, making your bed and keeping the bedroom free of clutter, you can easily keep the bedroom tidy. Choose earth-friendly cleaners for your bedroom (really, your entire home). Those commercial cleaners that kill every germ known to man can also do damage to you. Dust with a plain microfiber cloth. Use green cleaners or a DIY solution of vinegar and water to clean windows, mirrors and other surfaces. Vacuum or sweep regularly to rid the room of allergens. Launder your linens in nontoxic laundry products — use a fragrance-free, additive-free detergent, available at most grocery stores.
  8. Covered storage is very zen. Visual clutter is distracting and stressful, so store as much as possible out of sight — in boxes, cabinets or drawers. If covered storage is getting tight, it’s time to declutter.
  9. Keep the electronic items out of the bedroom as much as possible, using only necessary items such as a lamp or alarm clock. Keep electronics turned off, and unplug them or use a power strip to shut them down when not in use.
  10. Keep the bedroom sacred. Try to keep activities such as web surfing, bill paying, studying and working out of the bedroom, and do them somewhere else, such as a home office, living room or even dining room. The bedroom will be far more restful if you don’t associate it with “work.”

The Blue Soap That Finally Cleaned My Shower

I’m always looking for new cleaning tips, tricks and “recipes,” and this recipe is based on one I keep seeing on Pinterest.

Our master shower has an ivory, textured floor that seems to collect every bit of dirt available and is practically impossible to clean. I have tried many different cleaners, both DIY and commercial, nontoxic and toxic, and many different scrubbers, from scrappy sponges to hard-bristle brushes. My shower was clean, but the textured floor still looked dirty, no matter what I used.

When I saw this pin floating all over Pinterest, with so many rave reviews, I decided to give it a go. My first attempt, with the recipe as written, was moderately successful, but still not as clean as I wanted it (I want it to look new darn it!) The textured floor is much harder to get “white” again than a flat surface. I played with the recipe a bit, and stumbled upon this concoction that cleaned every bit of dirt and gunk from the floor texturing, plus all the soap scum residue that was hanging on the bottom walls. I’ve just been calling it “blue soap.”

Blue Soap
2 parts Dawn dish soap, the original classic formula
1 part white vinegar
1 part water

Mix it all together in a spray bottle and spritz it all over the tub/shower/sink/whatever. The mixture should be pretty thick and gooey — you want the stuff to stay where you spray it, not run down the drain. Once everything is coated thoroughly, leave it. Just walk away. Let it soak for several hours, even overnight. When you’re ready to clean it off, wet a scrub brush and go to town on the dried blue soap. Add more water as needed until you’ve given all the surfaces a good once-over. Rinse well, and bask in the glow of the super-clean results.

I have tried this recipe with a variety of eco-friendly dish soaps, but none of them came close to the results I got with original Dawn.

If you’ve got a spot that’s tough to clean, give this mix a go. It’s best to make a fresh batch each time, and it can stink pretty bad (thanks to the vinegar). But it works! Happy cleaning!