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Room Makeover: Man-Cave Edition 

Meet Karen the Craftswoman

“Man-caves” are typically spaces dedicated to the hobbies and interests of the men of the house. And this may come as a surprise to you, but they are one of my favorite room types to work on.

While they may not always be the most aesthetically cohesive, man-caves communicate an earnest enthusiasm for their decorator’s past-times. I’ve worked in garages covered floor-to-ceiling with expensive sports memorabilia and gaming dens housing trophies and figurines polished to perfection. Not to mention, some of the coziest seating and most impressive technology I’ve encountered on the job were in man-caves.The cool, the odd, the adorably tacky— I’ve seen it all. And this unabashed approach to decor is what makes man-caves so fun: you never know what you’re going to see, but you do know it will mean a lot to the owner.

(And for those in the household who are not the biggest fans of the man-cave, consider this: all “Anthropologie” and no “Adam Sandler movie poster” makes for a pretty dull house. Loosen up and let your home have a little fun!)

Father’s Day is right around the corner, so I think it’s as good a time as any to tackle the clutter that can build up in man-caves and other types of hobby rooms. Obviously these tips won’t be exclusively helpful to men— they’re for anyone with a space dedicated to their interests! But the issues I’ve encountered while working on traditionally “gentleman-only” areas tend to follow a pattern. So here’s a brief list of tips that you can help you get the most out of your hobby room:

Store Your Electronics Thoughtfully

The major tech-nerds won’t need to hear this, but it’s always a helpful reminder to the rest of us! Cords can fray rather easily if they’re bent incorrectly, and exposure to things like dust and moisture can be detrimental to electronics. Take the time to properly untangle and “containerize” loose pieces of tech: there are lots of accessories online and in stores that can help keep your electronics operational and accessible. And while you’re at it, get rid of cables and consoles that you know you don’t need, alongside duplicates and damaged items.

Give Your Furniture Some Love

A prime feature of the man-cave is its comfortable furniture, so you’re gonna want to keep it in the best shape possible. Depending on what type of seating and surfaces you have, ask yourself some maintenance questions: Does it have special cleaning products? Is there a warranty for scuffs or tears? Does it need some extra stuffing? Remember, a little TLC can mean the difference between a ratty armchair and a top-tier recliner.

Address Your Drawer Situation

Cramming random objects into drawers makes it impossibly inefficient to find what you need when you need it. So get ahead of the frustration and deal with it now! Take everything out, decide what you want to actually keep, then put that stuff back in an easily-accessible way. I recommend using small boxes and dividers to store loose objects like nails, screws, writing materials, etc.

Get Your Papers in Order

How often have you had to go digging in a disheveled stack of documents in hopes you’ll find the one you’re looking for? Let’s just agree to ditch the whole “throw it in the pile” filing system. Buy yourself a plastic crate and some filing dividers. Sit down and got though the pile of papers, shredding stuff with sensitive information and filing whatever you’re keeping into categories. To start, I’d recommend making a folder for Medical, Car, House, Warranties, Banking, and Personal. Then you can toss the crate into a closet and forget about it for real, guilt-free.

Clear Out the Corners

Man-caves sometime fall culprit to “store-and-forget” syndrome— meaning you stick something in there that doesn’t go anywhere else and let it collect dust. But that’s no fun for a space meant to help you relax and enjoy yourself! Start decluttering by pulling stuff out of the corners, since they tend to bear the brunt of “store-and-forget” syndrome. If it’s something you don’t want or need, toss it (responsibly). If it is something you want to keep, decide where its permanent home should be. (Avoid putting it back in the corner unless it actually makes sense to put it there!)

Get Hampers and Trash Cans

Yes, I mean plural. This is especially helpful if you have a larger space to yourself. If you tend to leave trash and clothes on tabletops or the floor, having multiple hampers and trash cans can make it easier to prevent that clutter build-up. Just be mindful to actually use them instead of tossing stuff next to them.

Clean Once Per Week

Fun-rooms aren't nearly as fun if you’re constantly cleaning them up. So instead, aim to do a general cleaning of the man-cave at least once per week. The basic chore list should look something like this: take out trash, clear table tops, pick up loose clothes, and vacuum/sweep the floor. That’s it! This will keep the space generally clean without having to go too crazy.

Freshen Things Up

The right scent can accentuate the room’s vibes and add an extra layer of relaxation to a space. Start by exploring different fabric sprays or air fresheners if you’re just looking to avoid lingering odors. Or, if you want a more atmospheric route, burning candles can immediately uplift the atmosphere of any room, especially when you’re going for a cozy vibe. Explore different scents, wick types, shapes, and colors to fit the vibe of the room! (I personally recommend scents with notes of bergamot, sandalwood, and sage because they avoid being flowery and perfume-y.)

Caring for a man-cave isn’t always at the forefront of our minds, but we forget how messes and clutter can negatively impact our enjoyment of our surroundings. That little bit of effort every week can amount to much greater appreciation for your space. So roll up your sleeves and dig in your heels to get your man-cave looking its best!


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