Monthly Archives: September 2017

Wait! Before You Buy That

     I try to imagine the way of life centuries ago…families living in huts, shacks, and spaces so bare and so small that there was no point in deciding on a color scheme for the kitchen, or a decorating style for the living room.  They didn’t even know they should care.

    Shabby Chic…because handmade and hand-me-down were all they could afford.

    Farmhouse…they actually had chickens and cows.

    Craftsman…Daddy had a woodworking shop out back and Mamma did a lot of sewing.

    Vintage…that just meant Grandma died and you got all of her stuff.

    Fast forward to today.  While most 3rd world and developing nations don’t put too much thought into the decor of their homes, Americans do.  But not all of us have the knack for putting together a fabulously furnished home, so we are heavily influenced by marketing.

     Better Homes and Garden, Southern Living, Magnolia, Country Living and other magazines put together perfectly polished interiors to showcase in their periodicals and online, complete with a buyer’s guide so you can create that look at home.

     Furniture store chains across the USA create a complete look for a room, and all you have to do is walk through the showroom, pick out the look you like, sign on the dotted line, and wait for delivery.  WhaaaLaa!  An instantly decorated home.

     But does that home truly reflect who you are?  Was it worth the thousands spent?  Would you allow the neighborhood children to come in and play?

     Could you see yourself facing an empty room and creating the complete look yourself, using nothing but second hand pieces purchased from thrift shops, consignment stores, estate sales, and yard sales?  OK, maybe not the whole room…but how about a few complementary pieces to go with a newly purchased couch or bed?

     Did you know that in almost every town there are local craftsmen and artists who take used furniture and refinish to your specifications at a cost often less than buying new?  There are other artists out there who take something old and upcycle it into something completely new with a new use, creating beautiful home decor items very inexpensively.

     Imagine, if you will, how much stuff could be saved from the landfills if we were more open to recycling, repurposing, and upcycling used stuff instead of thinking that we must buy it new.

     Imagine creating more income opportunities locally for craftsmen and artists, and reducing the amount of new imports from foreign countries if we took something old, and made it new again.

     Imagine your home reflecting you and your family, and not a marketing person’s idea of you, when you allow yourself to be open to possibility and step away from the big box retailers, and walk into the thrift store.

     Also, consider mindful shopping no matter which way you choose to fill your home.  Bring in only those items that bring you joy and serve a purpose.  Make sure they have a place in your home, and that they are cared for and maintained.

     When you have exhausted the usefulness of an item, release it, with no attachment to it’s value, to the next person who can use it.

     Please share your comments on any upcycling efforts you have made, any recommendations to local craftsmen whose work you admire, and any other thoughts on this subject.

Moving Mom

I had to clean out my mother’s house today. Oh, don’t feel bad for me…this is a great thing! While I am going to miss her, she is safe and sound in a senior based independent living apartment back home in Pennsylvania, just in time to hold her great-grandson on the day he was born.

When the time came for her to make the change from living alone in her house, to living in a retirement community, we were fortunate that it was all about the positives…fewer living expense checks to write out each month, lunch and dinner available in the dining hall, housekeeping once a week, an instant social network. Mom’s health is still good, but at 81, some things just aren’t worth worrying about any longer.

When she moved to South Carolina 10 years ago after Dad died, she did a major downsize. Thankfully she was vibrant and had the energy to unclutter all those closets, cupboards, nooks, and crannies. This time, with energy lagging, we focused on those items she needed to take with her.

During our first visit to see the new apartment, I took measurements, pictures, and notes as we talked about what would go where, what her daily routine would be like, what wouldn’t fit, and what new things she may need. As we packed from her house those items she wanted to take, ensuring each had a purpose and a place, we talked about those items she was ready to leave behind. Moments of her past, wedding presents from 1955 still well cared for, pictures, the large collection of elephants….

She found that letting go was much easier by picking up all of these things, reflecting, then releasing. It really is as simple as that.

She picked out a few precious items to keep, then selected very few items she wanted to pass on to us kids and the grandchildren. I promised her I will preserve all of the pictures, and then find good homes for everything else.

We moved her into her new home, then I returned to the old one to start the task of sorting, selling, donating, and cleaning out the remaining contents. I thought I would be sad. I thought I would dread doing it. This was my mother’s life!  But I wasn’t sad, and I jumped right in because I knew she was free from her attachment to all of it, and she was happy.

So as I move through this process, I am as much at peace with selling off a 1950’s milk glass bowl of my mother’s as I am when selling one for my client. I am blessed to have had this move happen in such a positive light. I hope if you are faced with the same situation, that you have the time and space to plan and push through it. But if you don’t, for whatever reason, let me help give you peace of mind. I can step in at any stage to organize, downsize, pack, move, and so on, for you or a loved one.

Reach out for me by phone, email, or facebook message for a no-cost consultation and let’s get started!

Oh, wait….did I say a 1950’s milk glass bowl? Well…maybe there is a little space in my kitchen!