Every once in a while a someone will contact me for a design consultation. When I get to their home and they show me around, I suddenly begin to realize that the main issue is they are resisting change to their home.
Sometimes they know a change is needed because their grown children have been telling them they’re still living in the 80’s. And sometimes their spouse wants to make the change, but they just haven’t been able to wrap their head around it yet.
This week I realized that anyone can have a fear of change…even a child who isn’t quite ready to give up the only room she’s ever known. You see, my new “clients” are my daughter and granddaughter. And the life change that is prompting this decorating project is a new baby sister.
As I was talking with my granddaughter, I could sense some resistance to the changes that we’re planning to her room. And it made me think about other clients who’ve expressed these same doubts, openly and in the ways they react to my suggestions. Here are the 3 Signs You’re Resisting Change. Do you see yourself on this list?
1. You can’t seem to part with anything – clutter and collections
We all know about hoarders. They buy almost anything and everything whether they need it or not. Their need is to buy. But when change is hard for you, everything you have is special. Giving away, paring it down, or selling something to make room for another is painful. Sometimes clients will have a room that no one is allowed to go into because it’s so crowded with things they can’t bear to part with. Do you have a room like that in your house? My aunt did, and we called it the “scary room”.
2. You worry about how you’ll get used to it…before it’s even started
Before the kitchen design is finished, you might be worrying about how you’ll get used to the dishwasher on a different side of the sink. Or you worry about how the new space plan will affect your cooking habits. So you make no decision because you can’t even imagine what it would be like.
And some people can’t imagine a room without the things that they love…Bambi, flowers, and PINK!
3. You stay where you are and complain about the space where you live
Imagine pushing the gas pedal at the same time that you’re pressing the brakes. What happens to the car? That’s right! It goes nowhere!!!
You say that you want to change things, to update, and to make things new. But by not making the decision to move forward, you’re sending mixed messages out into the world. And that creates confusion and stress. Often by saying “I’m too busy” or “I can’t afford it” we just use that as an excuse to not face our fear of change.
So how can we work around this? How can change become less stressful and more about the fun and excitement of moving on? And how can you get your child or your spouse on board for these changes that you’re so ready to make?
• Look for stylish and cute containers to store things
• Design storage into your space. If you’re a collector, make sure that there are lots of shelves for your “stuff”…that’s what I’m working on at my house.
• For de-cluttering, make a “keep” pile, a “get rid of” pile, and a “maybe” pile. Some organizers will tell you to get rid of anything you haven’t worn or used in the last 6 months.
• Make a “things I need to change” list. Order it by priority and do the one thing on the list that is the most important to you. It might be as easy as taking down the 80’s wallpaper that is peeling off the wall. Or it might be something major like taking down a wall so you can see into another room while you’re cooking. But find the one thing that will make you happy and also be the easiest for you to adjust to.
• Do one thing on your list at a time so that you can get used to the change. Make one decision at a time.
• Visualize yourself in your new space every day. Maybe that means having a copy of your design perspectives hanging at your desk. Maybe creating an idea book on Houzz of all the beautiful new things you’ll be including in your new space. Or maybe making a vision board of what your dream space will look like will fill you with excitement.
• Start with subtle changes and get used to that first. Try painting two shades darker than the white that you have now. Or maybe use a different shade of the same color family. This seems to be the way to make my granddaughter happy. And a way to finally retire the “bubble gum” pink…and Bambi!