This home sat empty for three months. Then, the realtor called us to stage it, and after only two weeks, they were under contract. We love a success story!
The decorating trends for 2017 include a few surprises, and some holdovers from 2016. This year, comfort and some fun elements are becoming popular.
Here they are in a nutshell:
- Bright greens (apple, lime, emerald)
- Light and soft colors (light blush, light grey)
- Dark and deep colors (deep grey/purple, graphite, navy blue)
- Bright white for accent
- Lots of bold patterns and pattern mixing
- Texture mixes – large, chunky textiles mixes with faux fur and very “comfy” textures
- Mohair, wool, and velvet is also featured
- Reclaimed wood and wood tile is still popular
- Tropical prints, and geometric prints (this sounds like a 70’s re-boot to me)!
Materials for fixtures and accessories:
- Bronze, copper, and gold, soft – not too shiny, and all mixed together
- Chalk-white, or matte white ceramics
- Marble and brass tables, and counters/sink fixtures
- Acrylic (acrylic “frameless” art mounts and tables)
- Natural “driftwood” style tables.
Overall styles and trends:
Farmhouse and reclaimed styles are still big, but accents like bare Edison bulbs are out. A more sophisticated farmhouse look is gaining ground – think of artisan-crafted furniture and accessories, like hand-blown glass, and less crafty/DIY items. Streamlined styles are still popular for those with a more modern taste, but adding textured throws and unusual art and wall hangings will keep it from feeling cold. Some sources say the boho-chic style is still popular, but it seems like the main trends are comfortable, yet sophisticated… whimsical, but with a bit of drama. There also seems to be a paradox of styles between hiding away items and having a minimal look, but then also adding more and more patterns. The heavy industrial seems to be fading away, along with oversized furniture. Using space efficiently is key this year.
Abundantly Clear Design – 303-322-5327 – email@example.com
I recently spent a week with my sisters (I have three) and I realized something. No matter how well we are doing, we still carry around our own personal baggage. Sometimes it’s from yesterday, and sometimes it’s from twenty years ago. Emotional baggage is very hard to part with. In some way, it defines us. Even difficult experiences make us who we are. Logically, we want to get rid of it, but perhaps we are afraid of losing something important. Perhaps these memories offer comfort, because they show us how far we have come. But when this baggage is always in front of us, how much of our present can we truly enjoy and appreciate?
Clutter is a physical form of this emotional baggage. Sometimes it directly relates to good or bad memories. Sometimes we just remember how much it cost and so we hate to “get rid of it”. But how much is this “baggage” really costing us?
Would selling it be worth the time? If so, great! If not, ask yourself what this item really means to you. What do you feel when you look at it? Does it bring up that emotional baggage? Would a donation to a charity help you get this off your mind, while possibly giving you a payoff greater than the actual dollar amount it is worth?
I believe the freedom people seek when starting to get organized is only possible when they are willing to free their minds from the emotional baggage that led to the physical pile-up. The stacks accumulate because we avoid them, and the negative feelings become more intense when we avoid them, as well. Have you woken up from a terrifying dream, lately? Have you hurt yourself walking through a cluttered space? These are signs saying: “pay attention to me!”
When you are ready, so am I. Let’s get rid of some baggage together.
Live “abundantly clear”,
Accessories transform a nicely decorated room into a perfect, finished space. But many homeowners have a hard time choosing the right ones. Consequently, rooms are often left unfinished.
Now, with this simple checklist, this can be a thing of the past:
When you see an accessory that you are considering for your room, make sure it meets these guidelines:
- Does it have the right mood? In order for an accessory to “work” in a room, it needs to be in harmony with the mood of the space. That means that it evokes the same feelings. Is your room romantic? Sleek? Cozy? Make sure the accessory feels that way, too. However, accessories that change a room’s mood can work as well if done correctly. For example, a modern space feels warmer with rustic or hand-made accessories like woven bowls or rough textiles. Rooms with a lot of patterns in the fabrics can benefit from areas of “rest” with monochromatic or streamlined accessories.
- Is it going to make the room too “theme-y”? In general, it’s best to avoid a room that looks like it came out of the Madonna Inn (Google that if you aren’t familiar it). A touch of whimsy or a conversation piece here and there is great, but a “jungle room” may start to feel a little old after a few months. A bowl of beach glass on the table with sea shell throw pillows can look great, but add in anchor-design curtains, a fishing net, and a light-house sculpture and the room starts to feel like a seafood restaurant from the 70’s. A room should have a consistent feel, but a little restraint goes a long way.
- Is it the right scale? If you are looking for a piece to display on a large, high shelf, don’t choose something that is too small. It will just feel lost and incomplete. And a very large item will look out of place in a room of small, delicate pieces. Make sure that the accessory you choose harmonizes with the scale of the other items and furniture around it.
- Is the color right? Does the color (or colors) of the accessory work in your room? Of course, it doesn’t have to match exactly, but make sure it blends nicely. NOTE: Another option is to choose an accessory with a color that stands out. This can make a dramatic statement. Make sure, however, that this “drama” fits the mood of your room! It can also help the design of the room if this “pop” of color happens in three places throughout the room – for a triangulation of color.
- Do you love it? This may seem obvious, but many homeowners get caught up in making sure that all of their decorating “works” and forget to make sure that they really love everything that is going in their home. Even if the accessory fits all the other criteria, if you don’t love it, don’t buy it.
And remember, less is more. Like when accessorizing an outfit, sometimes the best thing you can do is take one item away to help the remaining ones look even better. That way, you can…
Live Abundantly Clear!
– Holly (always happy to help you accessorize, or edit) Lange – (303) 322-5327
The other day I was sitting on my back porch reading a book about the Law of Attraction. I’ve read books about this concept before, but I often like to remind myself of the simple concept that we have more control over our lives than we might think. That’s not to say it is our goal in life to control everything, but that success or failure is often a product of our outlook and attitudes, and being open to a solution. Often we are so fixated on the problem, solutions don’t even enter our heads.
While I was reading, I was marveling at the beauty of my little back yard, and the sounds of birds, the breeze, and the cars and dogs in the distance. I love the sounds of waves, and sometimes miss living near the ocean, but I realized that the sounds I heard were very much like the ocean. They had a rhythm to them, and they were breathing in and out. It was a lovely realization. But then I began to notice a few robins that kept calling to each other – and it stood out against the other sounds. I saw an adult robin, and then a young robin fly to the top of our fence. His wings were small and he seemed unsure about this new flying thing his mom was clearly anxious for him to try. Then I heard some fluttering coming from other spot. It sounded like a bird that was stuck somewhere, struggling. I looked around and realized it was coming from our neighbor’s window well. This was about 6 feet deep, with a metal grate on top. I walked over and saw another young bird sitting down there, unable to get out, and looking up with his little beak open. He must have fallen in, but couldn’t fly well enough to get out. Luckily, the grate wasn’t locked, so I was able to lift it up and put it aside. Meanwhile, the mother bird was keeping a close eye on the situation and was calling to the baby bird. After I moved away, the little bird flew up and out of the window well and wound up near a tree a few yards away. I put the grate back on and went back to my reading.
About fifteen minutes later, however, I heard the familiar cry of the baby bird. It was higher pitched than his mother’s, so I was beginning to recognize it. It seemed like the mother and her chicks had left, but this little bird hadn’t followed. I peered through the fence and could see the baby bird hopping towards the same window well. Of course, not being able to speak bird I couldn’t warn him to stay away from it, and sure enough, he hopped onto the grate and then fell through it. Poor silly bird. I walked around and took the grate off again, but without Momma around to coax him out, I think he didn’t know what to do. After about five minutes or so I had to intervene. I put on my gardening gloves and climbed down the little ladder. After a few attempts at gently picking up the very scared bird, I finally was able to lift him up back onto safer ground. I also tried to shoo him away from that pesky grate. He still wasn’t flying, but at least he had a chance at survival, now. I know he may not make it, but I did the best I could and now it’s up to him.
So, of course, events like this often inspire me to think of them as a metaphor for life. Sure, why not?
How often have we felt like we were stuck in a big window well? How often are we tired, scared, and just want our Mommies? I believe that whenever there is a problem, the solution is waiting for us. The window well grate is lifted up for us but we don’t see it, or we are too scared to try and escape. Sometimes, we are even lucky enough to have someone lift us up and save us (even when we make the same mistake twice!) But in the end, we are ultimately on our own. Our adventure is ours alone, and only we can decide how it’s going to go. It may be a little scary, but if we are brave and accept help when it is given, we might do okay.
And in my life, I am so grateful to have taken some time, listened, and been allowed to have this little experience to share with you.
As always – be well, and live abundantly clear,
A few years ago, the show “Clean Sweep” gave everyone the idea that in about a day or so, their home could be gorgeous and organized. Now, the show “Hoarders” is doing the same thing. The fact that the clutter epidemic is getting more attention is positive. However, if you need to get organized, the important thing to remember is this: your home did not get this way overnight, so making a lasting and positive change will take time.
Since this principle applies to so many things in our lives, why do so many of us still think that the magic bullet still exists? Saving money for a comfortable retirement takes time, losing weight and keeping it off takes time, learning a new skill takes time. If you decide to call an organizer to help, or if you tackle the problem on your own, just remember to schedule enough time, stick with it, and maintain consistency until you are finished. I compare this process to getting in shape. You can’t become a long-distance runner overnight – it’s just not possible. I started running last summer and it was not fun. I walked most of the time, and ran as long as I could stand it. Then each time out I ran a little more until I could run 4 miles without too much trouble. It probably took about 6 months from couch to 4 miles. It takes time.
If you do hire an organizer, be clear with him/her about your expectations. Do you want your whole house organized in four hours? This is not a reasonable expectation, even with a large crew. It physically takes time to sort and purge items, but it takes even more time to decide what these items mean to you and how and where you want to use them in your home. The fact is, as the client, you are responsible for making decisions about your priorities – what items fit your ideal vision for your space, and what ones do not. I can bring a crew in and clear out your home – but what will you learn? How will that help you to maintain an organized home in the future? An organizer is there to coach you and ask questions, and help you see your life and your things in a new way – so they no longer own you. But it takes time.
The TV shows don’t show you how many people worked on the home, and they don’t really show how long it takes. Mission Organization often makes it seem like projects are completed in a day or two, yet knowing organizers who have worked on these shows, I can tell you it takes about a week – for one room. Help is out there, but starting this with unrealistic expectations only sets you up for disappointment and frustration. Do your research, read some books on organizing, talk to people who have hired organizers before (organizers will be happy to give you names of clients). Decide in advance if you can do this on your own, or if the help is worth the expense. An organizer’s value comes from teaching you new skills and helping you stay on track. These skills come from training and years of experience, so the cost reflects much more than how much he or she can physically move around in a session. Paying for this service is not for everyone, but many people find it very helpful for years after the initial work. With that said, if you know what to do and just haven’t done it – then schedule the time and get going! If it’s worth doing – it’s worth scheduling – but give it time.
Since I’m about 2000 miles away from most of my family, it seems the best way for me to keep in touch is to read Facebook, or their blogs. My little sister, Robin, has a blog – www.digthatbird.net I just read it today and I was surprised to learn it was about getting organized. Hey, isn’t that my gig?
It seems she’s going through a tough transition, but one thing helping her out is a big project to keep her occupied. I’m a fan of that trick. When I’m stressed, I like to cook, sew, or organize something. Sure, our house is and should be (given what I do for a living) pretty organized on a regular basis. But hey, I’m human, and there’s still a basement, and the “utility drawer” (I refuse to have a junk drawer), that can get a little full with the deal-with-it-later stuff. Robin’s project is a little bigger than a junk drawer, however.
I was surprised to find that she has decided to take on my parents’ home, a house stuffed with 40 years of items, not just from raising five kids, but from two businesses (one of which was physically moved from a 500 sq. foot office into the former library of the home). Given that my father was born during the Great Depression, and can pretty much find a use for anything, you can imagine the daunting task before my little sister.
Why am I not there helping? Well, geography plays a big role, but I think it’s bigger than that. I joke with clients that I help them (as in, other people’s parents) because my parents won’t let me. It may have to do with the fact that I haven’t lived there in about 20 years (egad). I’m sure there are a few items of mine buried in the attic, but overall, I’m physically detached from the house, and the stuff. Robin has been away for a few years, but has pretty much always left her room “as-is”. She’s deeply entrenched. For her, it’s not “their” clutter, but “our” clutter. If you ever decide to help your family with their clutter, and you haven’t lived there in a while, be warned – they may not take kindly to this idea. You still expect your childhood home to look then same, but when you return to find it very different than you remember, it can throw you. This different perspective can seem hurtful to the people who live in and love this home. You are wearing nostalgia glasses, and not seeing things clearly. In that way, you are an outsider. But even an outside help would be more welcomed – because it is completely neutral. This is the irony of the situation.
While my father was ill a few years ago, I tried to keep myself busy by cleaning out the expired food and science experiments in my parents’ fridge. My father was in the hospital, and my sisters and I had just returned from seeing him. We were just sitting around, not knowing what to do. So, we started pulling things out of the fridge that had dates starting with a “19..”, giggling, and shoving jars under each other’s noses, saying “smell this! – no, you smell it!” and for a while we could forget about what may or may not be happening a few miles away in that cold hospital room. I remember that time fondly – a time when we were all in the same boat, without the distraction of kids, jobs, spouses, etc. We were just there for each other – and we found a project to do together.
Years later, my father doing better, my parents still have not forgiven me for the things we threw away. So, now, when I go home… I touch nothing.
One thing I noted in Robin’s blog: she wrote about her own struggles to part with books that represent a recent failing to her. This is something that many people deal with. There are things we keep because they are from our past, and things for our future plans. If the bulk of our possessions are in the past or future category, and very few are for the present time, this must be addressed. Many of us are very hard on ourselves. If we had a bad relationship with our mother, we keep things of hers after she’s gone, even if they have terrible memories associated with them. These things haunt us in a very real way. Perhaps we are punishing ourselves. Perhaps in some way we feel that if we accept this burden, we have atoned for our sins. I think this is a mindset from which we all need to free ourselves.
Keep the good things, the things that make you smile, the things you need and use now. Keep a small percentage of things for the future and good memories from the past, and ditch the rest. There is no need to torture yourself – the world gives you enough to deal with. You deserve good things, a good life, and a harmonious home that makes you feel safe.
Even though Robin is uniquely qualified to handle this challenge, she’s hitting a roadblock – trying to figure out what to do with all that stuff. This is hard for anyone, but especially in this case, considering all the unique items in the house. My advice is: hire some local help. As I mentioned before, outside help can really do the trick because they have the skills, but are detached from the stuff. Also, I am a big fan of just picking up the phone and calling someone who might have the information I need. When you open yourself up to just a little bit of help, it’s like a huge amount of energy flows your way and pretty soon you have a whole network of people, eager to join you. When you try to go it alone, pretty soon you could feel isolated and defeated, and it’s likely you’ll give up.
I did a quick search of the organizers in my parents’ area:
Organizers can consult and help refer clients to the resources they need – like resale shops that specialize in vintage clothing, office supply stores that could use old office equipment, or at the very least, the proper recycling centers and junk hauling companies (like 1-800-got-junk) – I personally like the guys at “College Hunks Hauling Junk”, but they aren’t in New England, yet. I think it’s always worth a call – since anyone in that kind of business worth their salt will give you some leads on where to go – without charge.
I hope my little sister succeeds in her project, and for her and all the sisters and brothers out there, trying to help their parents get organized – remember: help is out there!
As the summer wanes, houses sell and staging items come back. Kids return to school and moms start thinking about all of the “stuff” in the house. So, I’ve been working on a lot of organizing projects, including one in my own home – thanks to all of the staging accessories coming back into my house! Some of the recent projects outside of my home include: a garage packed with various tools and automotive supplies (an impressive assortment) – and the best part is – they had chickens and ducks and goats – oh my! They stayed in their respective areas – but I had fun paying them a visit after we were finished! I also recently helped an art teacher organize her classroom just before school started. My sister is an art teacher (and my mom was too), so it was a lot of fun working in such a familiar territory. Other projects included working with a mom to organize and store baby clothes for when the next baby arrives, and setting up a closet for her new au pair.
Some staging projects have been mixed in there, as well – but mainly a lot of items are returning… So, how does an organizer organize her own storage space? Well, it’s pretty much there, but with some spill-over. I’ll be clearing out anything that doesn’t currently have a home and adding a new shelf unit (the plastic ones from the hardware store are cheap and easy to assemble). Then, I’ll do a once over to make sure everything that does have a home is in a good spot – and re-arrange as needed. I’ll also pull out items that haven’t been used in a while and put them into the “donate” box. The shelf should help get the extra items off the floor, and that will pretty much be it. However, given that I’ll be organizing other people’s homes for the next few days, I may do this next week. Yes, professional organizers are capable of a little procrastination, too!
Live abundantly clear!
Holly – (303) 322-5327
Well, summer is almost over and pretty soon the pace of life will start picking up again. For a business owner, summer is a great time to reflect on what is working in the business, and what’s not. It’s also a good time to think of new ways to help your clients and spread the news about said services.
I work with many Realtors who are looking for ways to thank their buyers with closing gifts. Sometimes it will be a basket of goodies or useful tools that come in handy when you are moving in. Years ago, when we moved into our new home, we received a big bucket filled with a hammer, paper towels, a screwdriver, a tape measure, towels, and masking tape, among other items, and I must say that most of those items are still in use to this day. However, for the buyer who has everything, sometimes the best gift isn’t an item, but an experience.
A gourmet meal prepared in your home, a massage or time with a personal trainer are some nice ideas – but how about a professional organizer helping you get your kitchen items put away the first day you move in? Sounds good, doesn’t it? Imagine waking up on the very first morning in your new home, and you walk down to the kitchen and the coffee maker is plugged in and the coffee and all the accessories you need are within arm’s reach. Sure, you may be standing in your neat and organized kitchen with your cup of coffee, surveying the rest of your home that looks like “box village”, but at least you have one neat little oasis. And, you can make breakfast.
Depending on the size of the kitchen, it can take about four hours to set-up. This is a great gift to provide to clients, or you can offer two hours and the client can decide if they’d like more help. The nice part about giving an gift certificate like this is how ours are different – but I don’t want to give away all the secrets. Give us a call and we can discuss!
Holly @ Abundantly Clear – (303) 322-5327
P.S. – A note about comments… I review comments about once a month or more to see if they are appropriate to post. No comments will be allowed that include advertisements, inappropriate language, or that appear to be spam. If your comment does not appear to be a legitimate comment – and that is subject to my judgement and interpretation (such as it is), I will still read it, but it will not be posted. Them’s the rules…