Guest post by Cheri Gregory
My Clutter Free journey began in my bedroom.
Like many clutterers, I’d spent decades using our master bedroom as the “just throw it all in there and slam the door” stash-and-dash solution when company was due in an hour.
But discovering that I’m an HSP—a Highly Sensitive Person—has transformed how I view my bedroom.
HSPs are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.
We need to create ourselves a sanctuary, a safe quiet place of refuge where we can seek shelter when the world overwhelms us.
When we ask ourselves, “How can I make my bedroom a true sanctuary for my tired body and soul?” the obvious answer is to first oust every ounce of clutter.
HSPs process an overabundance of disorienting visual stimuli all day every day. The last thing we need are piles of confusing clutter visually assaulting us in the one room we retreat to for safety.
Moving Past Our Stories to Sanctuary
Of course, clutter rarely leaves without a fight. Thanks to our extra-strength HSP consciences, the three stories Kathi says all clutterers tell themselves can feel especially like gospel truth to us:
“I need to keep this just in case”
When you tell this fear-full story, you let fears from your past control your future.
“But so-and-so gave it to me!”
In this guilt-ridden story, people from your past (who aren’t concerned about you, just how you make them feel) are allowed to control your future.
“But I spent so much money on it!”
This shame-filled story allows a mistake from your past to control your future.
As these stories come up, we can respond with compassion and permission.
Compassion for our feelings of fear, guilt, and shame.
Permission to keep only what we need and want.
Making Your Bedroom an HSP Sanctuary
Once the clutter is out of your bedroom, grab a pad of paper, a favorite pen, and sit down on your bed.
Write these four senses at the top of different pages: touch, sight, sound, and smell.
Look around the room and ask yourself, “What do I want in my bedroom? What sensory experiences are especially soothing, relaxing, and restful for me?”
Ponder each sense for a few minutes and write down what comes to you. Here are some questions I’ve asked myself:
- What textures do I love?
- Smooth high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets?
- A soft blanket, knit with slubby yarn?
- What temperature(s) help me relax and sleep? Do I need:
- An electric blanket?
- A cooler grade of comforter?
- A heating pad or Thermaphore to ease my back pain?
- A rotating column fan?
- What skin products do I want to keep in my nightstand?
- Hand moisturizer?
- Lip balm?
- Nail clipper and file?
- What colors are calming for me?
- Cool colors?
- What patterns — or lack of pattern — do I prefer?
- How well are the lighting options working for me?
- Can I make the room as light as I want it?
- Can I make the room dark as I need it?
- How can I block out disruptive sounds?
- Noise-cancelling headphones?
- How can I bring in pleasing sounds?
- White noise?
- What scents irritate me, giving me headaches or making my face flush?
- Might I want to try unscented detergent, softener, and dryer sheets with my bedding?
- Could I natural citrus cleaning products?
- Can I find fragrance-free candles?
- What scents relax and sooth me?
Make a wish list of what you want and need to add to your bedroom sanctuary.
But no frantic shopping spree to buy a peaceful bedroom all at once.
Reign in your HSP intensity, say “no” to Perfectionism, and commit to adding new items gradually, enjoying them one at a time.
Using Your Bedroom as an HSP Sanctuary
Decluttering your bedroom will not automatically transform it into a sanctuary. Your bedroom will become your sanctuary as you seek sanctuary in it.
This also takes compassion and permission.
Compassion, rather than criticism, for your HSP self.
Permission to be tired, to need quiet, rest, and refuge.
If you find yourself resisting rest, remember that Jesus himself invites you to rest…
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
…and say “yes” by taking refuge in the One who offers true rest.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)
Wondering if you, too, might be an HSP?
Subscribe to Cheri’s blog and receive your FREE “HSP–Who, Me?” PDF!
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.