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I am always looking for problems to solve in my schedule and home. Between Josh (who is an engineer) and myself, we’re always tweaking things to reach “optimum efficiency” – including our marriage!

But quite honestly, how I manage our home has a direct impact on our marriage. If the house is messy and out of order, I get stressed, and that in turn strains our communication. If I’m tired from mismanaging my time, I’m not going to be in the mood for any kind of romance like, ever.

These are problems we’ve faced in our marriage, and because of them I started looking for practical ways to improve my attitude. As I talked about in How to Create a Daily Routine, my attitude is negatively affected when I feel overwhelmed by the house. It’s one of the reasons I use the same cleaning routine every week. But it’s easy to notice the rooms I spend a ton of time in – the living room, kitchen, and bathroom – and neglect the one we go to every night: the bedroom.

I believe women are more affected by their environment than they realize. I might be an extreme example, but I venture to guess most women feel more at ease, relaxed, and cheerful when there aren’t clothes lying on the floor, dust on the windowsills and vaccuming that needs to be done.

I’ve also noticed that stressed out women aren’t in the mood for sex. Yes, I said it. I believe that the best married sex is only a clean house away. But that’s just me.

Even if the rest of the house is messy, I always keep our bedroom spotless. At the end of the day, our bedroom is a retreat from the responsibilities of life. It should be a place of calm and a haven from noise and busyness. Since Josh and I are trying to make a habit of reading together, talking, and praying before bed, it’s also a place for us to share the latest in our lives. I want our room to be a place of peace and calm – even as we have more kids. Here is how I do it.

Always Make the Bed

Every morning, without fail. I make our bed. This is a simple habit that makes a WORLD of difference in the overall appearance of the room. If you glance in a room and the bed is made, the room will have a “pulled together” feel even if there are toys on the floor. To be honest, I find it awkward – and even uncomfortable – to glance in a room to an unmade bed… Like I walked in on something. Again, probably just my OCD little self. 🙂

But truly, taking the time to make the bed can actually jumpstart other good habits. And it takes literally three seconds, especially if you don’t have 18 throw pillows and a duvet, like I do.

No TV!

Josh and I have never had a TV in the bedroom, and we never will. By keeping media out of the room we encourage conversation and, well, other things. The very presence of a TV gives the option of turning it on, which can be a subtle distraction to quality time. On occasion we’ll watch a funny YouTube video on the iPad together, but for the most part we try to concentrate on talking or reading aloud.

Clothes Go in the Hamper

This is another three-second task. Instead of throwing your clothes on the floor – buy a hamper, and put them in the hamper. Josh is still learning this little ritual. 😉 If you have a fantastic closet (we have two tiny closets, one for each of us, and mine isn’t even in the room) you can just hang your clothes up if they are clean.

Throwing clothes on the floor is easier in the moment, but can subtly add stress in the long run. Just by having them out of sight in the appropriate places can be a great way to bring calm to the room – and reduce your to-do list.

Create a Peaceful Environment

I was six months pregnant and on a business trip in Ohio when I got my first real massage. I got to wear a robe and drink cucumber water and sit around on lounge chairs. The environment was so relaxing. That’s when it dawned on me: this isn’t that hard to create. As soon as I got home, I turned our bedroom into a spa.

At Walmart I found two wall-mounted votive candle holders. I found pillar candles on sale at Hallmark, and I rearranged the art in our room. I got plug-in air fresheners (you could also diffuse oils) in lavender, which promotes relaxation. Now whenever we go in our room I instantly feel more relaxed. These simple changes help me sleep better and come to the next day refreshed – which is great when you’ve got a rowdy four month old who thinks sleep is optional.

Pick Up Before Leaving

Finally, before you leave the room each morning pick up anything on the floor and put it where it belongs. This is another quick task you can do every day so things don’t pile up! Have a place for everything – I keep my jewelry on my vanity, books on my end table, clothes in the hamper, and if Josh has left anything out of his closet, I put it inside. The only things that sit out are the hamper and Josh’s slippers.

If your bedroom is currently in chaos, once you go through it with a deep clean the maintenance is very simple! Each of these tasks takes no more than 5 minutes total in the morning. I do this before fetching the baby for her morning feed. The time investment is so worthwhile for the benefits received: less stress, more calm. I look forward to bedtime now that it’s my own personal spa!

How do you make your bedroom (or any room!) a retreat? Share below!

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