Monthly Archives: March 2009

Why Depersonalize?

When staging your home for sale, you may hear advice like “remove personal items and family photos”, but isn’t that what makes a house a home?  Well, it’s what makes your house your home, but buyers want to buy “their” home, not yours.  Buyers need to take mental ownership before they can take physical ownership of a house.  It needs to feel right to them, and if your personal imprint is too deep, they’ll only feel your presence.  

Ask yourself this question “Am I ready to let go of this house?”  If the answer is yes, then let your actions match your goals.  Prepare your house in the same way that visual merchandisers create a display at a store.  Make sure it appeals to a broad range of people.  Remove anything that is unusual, unique, personal, or even bizarre.  If you ever had a party, and a number of people made comments about an item that you are not selling with the house, then ask yourself if this item is calling too much attention to itself.   If so, pack it up and hide it away.

It won’t feel like your house anymore, but you are saying goodbye to this home, and moving onto bigger and better things.  Even if you are downsizing, or moving because of a less than ideal situation, the future will be brighter once this chapter is behind you.   If each little thing helps the house sell one day sooner, then you’re one day closer to your new beginning.  Start to detatch by depersonalizing, say goodbye, and move on.   In a few months, you’ll be glad you did.

Organize to Economize

Anyone who’s been to the Organizing System Store (why advertise for them?) knows that getting organized is expensive!  Or is it?  True, storing items you aren’t using requires containers to hold them.  But wait!  Why are you storing items you aren’t using?  We all do it, and we all have very good reasons.  Perhaps it’s an item you use once a year, like around the holidays.  Perhaps it’s clothing that doesn’t fit, but once summer comes around, you plan to slim down to fit into that size XS sweater.  Huh?  Then there’s the “it may come in handy” items.  If you have the room to store these items, you’ll get no quarrel from me.  BUT, if you are finding that your daily quality of life is suffering because you have a layer of unused items, covered by a layer of often-used items, and they are starting to blend together in chaotic mess, then we need to talk.

Many people think they don’t have the money to get organized (“when I win the lottery – I’ll finally get organized!)  In this economy, we can no longer afford to be disorganized.  Buying a pair of shoes,  a shirt , or a food item and then later realizing you already had the exact same item, buried in the back of a closet or cupboard, could be costing you much more then the time it would take to get organized.   Misplaced items might as well be trashed items.  Some of my clients even lose money!  Many’s a time clients and I have found gift cards, checks, or even cash that they were looking for, or forgot they had!

We use about 20% of our belongings 80% of the time.  That’s just life.  The trick is making a conscious effort to be aware of what you are using and what you are not.  I have a sewing machine.  Do I use it every day, or even every month?  Not necessarily, but I have a home for it where it won’t get in the way of other things I use every day.  When I need it, I can set it up in 30 seconds and it’s ready to go.   It’s not about perfection, it’s about utility. 

Is your home organized enough to be functional?  You don’t need to spend money to contain every item you own.  You just need to make sure you are keeping a reasonable amount of items for the space that you have.  Organizing systems are useful when there is wasted space – but they are not the solution if you are unrealistic about what you need, what you use, and how much space you have.

One more note – when you decide to make a change, and you can’t do it on your own, ask for help.  We all have skill sets, we all have talents, and we don’t need to be perfect in all things.  Maybe someone else can help you with something that has been holding you back.

Live abundantly clear! – Holly

Where’s the pix?

As you may have guessed, I’m still filling in my brand spanking new blog.  But, I recently updated my website to direct people here for the latest and greatest tips and pictures – oops!   So where are these fabulous pictures!??  I’m hoping to put NEW pictures on here – so they’ll trickle in as I work on new projects.  The portfolio pictures at are actually pretty recent – so feel free to check them out – (they take a long time to load on my old computer – but I hope they appear faster on yours!)  Who knows, the next picture on my blog could be from your house (if you want them here – of course!)  Here’s a recent before and after to get us started!

Enjoy your day! – Holly

A Master Re-Treat

Over the past four years of helping clients redesign and stage their homes for sale, I’ve noticed an alarming trend.  Okay, maybe it’s not alarming, I just like that phrase.  Moving on…

The trend I have noticed is that many parents spend the time and expense to give their children’s rooms an elaborate make-over.  It can be a palace, or a race car driver’s dream hang-out (well, if the driver was 5, that is).  I am always amazed at how beautiful and creative these rooms are, and I imagine how much fun the parents must have had crafting the perfect space for their little one(s).  But then I step into the master bedroom…

Now, generally the furniture is very nice – a good solid bedroom set.  But then, it’s like after they moved in, the parents looked around for a spare comforter that no one else was using, found one balled up in the  corner of the garage and said: “that’ll do”.  Yes, yes, once again, dramatic effect going on here – they very rarely have oil marks on them.   It just seems, overall, that many parents lose steam once they get to their own room.  I’d like to help correct that and be the one to say (yes, even in this day and age) “treat yourself”.

I know, maybe they had a great bedding set once upon a time, but after years of sharing the bed with the dog, well, more “disposable” bedding became easier to manage.  I can relate to all of the practical reasons for a lackluster master bedroom – not the least being cost.   For that reason, I haven’t updated my bedroom furniture in years (and I don’t plan to anytime soon), but I have put a little effort into the things that are easier to change – paint, bedding, throw pillows, art, side furniture, and lighting.

With a simple and inexpensive bedspread (or “coverlet” – the newer term for it), and a few colorful throw pillows, you can keep the old, soft comfy sheets and cover them all up so your bed looks neat, crisp, and you’ll keep the dust off your pillows!  One, two, or three throw pillows are plenty.  No need to be like Ben Stiller in that movie that made us all question why we suddenly felt the need for 20 pillows on the bed.  By the way, I mention bedding first because it’s the hardest thing to match to other elements.  With the color trends changing by the season, find bedding you like and then decorate or find paint around that theme/palette.

Some other things you can try to spruce up your bedroom and make it feel as good as the rest of your home: buy a pair of lamps that you love for your nightstands.  These may be with you for a long time, so really look around.  I’ve attached a photo of a lamp I fell in love with.  To get the pair felt like a splurge, but I’ll have them forever.  Find something with some color, or texture.  Make sure it will sit high enough so you’ll be able to read by it.  If you have room, get a beautiful club chair or similar and put it in a corner with a little table and a lamp.  Add some plants.  You can buy a large plant and put it on a stand to fill in a dead space or soften the edges of a big dresser by putting it next to it.  Plus, plants clean the air – and who doesn’t want some cleaner air while they’re sleeping?  Add some art – don’t put all the great art in the living room – save one or two just for you.  Put one over the bed – and put one in a place where you’ll wake up, see it, and smile. 

If you don’t have the means to make any changes now, then just think about it next time you have decided to do a little decorating elsewhere in the house.  You’ve worked hard to pay for your home – and you’ve probably put yourself last for a long time.  You deserve a space, just for you, that makes you feel great.  Have fun!

Spruce up your bedroom with lamps.
Spruce up your bedroom with lamps.


Welcome to the Abundantly Clear weblog at!

My other website,, has been up and running for years now, but I found that it was cumbersome to update.  I’ve decided to keep that one pretty much “as-is”, while adding a second site that I can easily update. 

I’m hoping to create a forum where people can ask questions about the kinds of things I help clients with every day: getting organized, staging their home for sale, making their space feel better without bringing in a bunch of new items they probably don’t need – and how to choose paint colors (and other decorating questions).

You can find out more about who I am at and go to “about us”.  In the mean time, I’m looking forward to seeing where this new site takes us!

Live abundantly clear!  All the best – Holly