When life gets a little too busy, it’s easy to neglect the small things. At first no one really notices the small things left undone. You know…the door that needs painted, the wallpaper peeling in the bathroom, the worn pillows, or the cluttered desk.
But as the paperwork and closets are ignored, and broken items stay broken, a growing chaos becomes evident. Does this ever happen to you?
Has your office ever been this cluttered? Some days I’d rather work in another space to avoid it.
Suddenly the chaos around you starts to affect the way you feel inside. Maybe you recognize this. Maybe you don’t. But suddenly the outer chaos becomes inner chaos, and you feel edgy and fragmented.
I am a firm believer that Your Space Matters, and that how you live affects the way you show up in the world.
My sad, cluttered kitchen…and this is MUCH better than it looked last night! Feeling very fragmented in this mess, and not sure what to tackle first.
Has your kitchen ever been so cluttered that you can’t find the car keys? You’re frustrated, irritable, and maybe even panicked about being late for the meeting. Your day has started off on the wrong foot, and you find yourself snapping at people along the way.
Have you ever walked into a room in your home that just feels “off”? You can’t pinpoint why you feel this way…you just do. So you spend as little time as possible there, or even avoid it all together.
Your Space Matters: One of my clients hated her outdated, ugly kitchen so much that she never wanted to walk into it. Now that the space is bright and shiny and new, she loves spending time there with friends and family.
Your Space Matters: Another client always preferred working away from her home office. She began to notice that she was avoiding going back to the office to work, staying away longer and longer. When she finally realized that she hated the lack of color in her office, she took the first step with a quick coat of paint in a color that made her happy. With a few more tweaks to the space…big changes! Her time in the office is now productive and energetic.
Your Design Homework:
- This first small step in the process is to ask yourself if your home is a place that you can retreat to. Does it nurture you and make you feel comfortable? If it doesn’t, then what is your vision?
- Is there a room in your home that needs a little TLC? Projects unfinished? Make a list, focus on completing ONE THING at a time, and then see how it affects your mood.
Have you noticed that clearing out clutter and simplifying seems to be on everyone’s minds lately? I know I have. We see it on magazine covers at the supermarket. We see news clips on TV. And if you’re active on social media, solutions are bombarding us all the time.
Many of my friends are downsizing, now that the kids are gone, and moving to new locations. Some are facing moving aging parents into assisted living. And with downsizing comes the questions “What should I get rid of?” and “What should I take with me?”
The thought of going smaller sounds wonderful…and scary at the same time. We dread the thought of clearing out clutter, when years of living in one house have created huge piles of it. And then memories get in the way.
So I started thinking about what I would take with me if I were moving to a new place and needed to declutter. What would I take if I had to limit myself 7 things to decorate my new home? Let me show you what I discovered…
This antique Chinese pillow box was the first thing I bought during our stay in Singapore. I love the history behind the piece. And I love red!
I love textiles, and our trek through the Balinese countryside to find the village where these are woven, is a memory I won’t forget. Only 3 villages in the world create double weave Ikat cloths.
My collection of handmade pottery Mood Stones is something that I love to look at, touch, and shake. I couldn’t pick just one!
On a trip to Florence, I lusted over this one of a kind inlaid stone “painting”. It was a little pricey, so I didn’t buy it. Imagine my surprise when I opened this the following Christmas! Hubby did good!!!
Now the real challenge begins! With four favorite things already selected, I want to layer these two special carpets and roll them together to count as #5. This is getting hard! I walked around the house taking pictures of the most special things I would like to take on my “starting over” move. I’m learning that’s it’s a little easier to choose from a photo.
More tough decisions! Of course, this Vietnamese painting has to be included!!! But I really love the red chest……. Can a grouping count as one thing?
This large raku pot has been in our home for over 20 years. I can see it as a lamp in the future, so it’s a “must take”. Plus, it shows my “happy colors!”
And now I’m left with 3 or 4 things that didn’t make the cut. I’ll be sad to say good bye to them. What I’ve learned from this design challenge is:
- A lot of things in our home can be replaced or substituted.
- I would take things that can’t be replaced…art work, antiques, textiles…sofas can be replaced
- The things I chose have memories attached to them
- Understanding how hard it is for some people to move from their family home into a much smaller apartment
- It was hard not to cheat. I really wanted to call all of my artwork one item!
Your Design Homework this week:
Take up this challenge in your own home. Imagine that you’re moving to a new home in a new location. You want to start over with a clean slate, a new look. What 7 things would you take with you?
Beginning a new design project can be a daunting task, no matter how excited you are. When you have that “dream room” in mind and don’t know where to begin, overwhelm can suddenly paralyze you into doing nothing. But it doesn’t need to be this way. Breathe in…breathe out! Let’s start at the beginning, declutter the mess, and get organized.
- Start with a “No Sweat” filing system. If you’re like most people with a dream design project, you have stacks of magazine pages torn out and in a pile. And I’m guessing that you have a few fabric swatches too. Well, the time has come to get this mess sorted and organized! Do you know what to keep? How long have you been saving them? OK…here goes.
- Solution: You need a fast, flexible filing system that’s based on keeping ONLY what you need for the project. This system works best if you have large folders. I like to begin with broad categories like Kitchen, Bathrooms, Bedrooms, etc. You can subdivide it all later.
- Supplies: Flat bottomed expandable hanging folders work great. Then you can fill them with color coded file folders (one color for each category.
- Time: About two hours to sort and set up the files. (A good friend helping out will cut the time in half.)
- What to keep/how to divide: First, divide the pictures and swatches into piles, one pile for each room that you’re working on (kitchen, bathroom, family room, powder room, foyer, etc.). Then label the folders with these room names and place the pictures in the folders.
- Receipts for items you’ve purchased or will purchase.
- “Before” photos of your space. It’s always fun to have a comparison to show your friends. Another, more important, reason to take these photos is for insurance documentation in case of flood or fire.
- Fabric and wallpaper swatches
- Furniture tear sheets and specifications
If a file becomes too full, it’s time to move it to it’s very own hanging folder with file folders to subdivide into receipts, photos, swatches, etc.
Remember, that this is supposed to be fun! So set a date to begin the decluttering of your project pile. Just do it!
June seems to be the perfect time for selling your home. School is out, summer fun can lead to new friendships, and settling in to a new neighborhood is just a little easier.
After recently having my Atlanta townhouse on the market , I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to sell a house. What is the best way to prepare for the onslaught of prospective buyers? When your own home is involved, it’s difficult to remember that the house is a product, and the way that you present it is marketing. Don’t get me wrong. I offer this service as part of my design business, and have staged many homes in the past. But when your own home is involved, it’s hard to be objective when it comes to marketing and creating a “move-in –ready” home. You realize that you’ll still be living there. Selling can be a long process. And you want your home to reflect “you” – to be authentic.
Here are some of my secrets to help you with the process. Some of them might be a little painful to follow, but try your best. The results will be worth it!
1. Declutter, but not so much that your home feels sterile.
2. Clean everything. This includes windows, doors, floors, cabinets, etc.
3. Paint your rooms a neutral, light color.Try taupe, tan, or a soft green.
If you’re thinking about moving, work on these three secrets today. Tomorrow I’ll be back with the other 18 secrets! Happy planning!!!