It’s safe to assume that we all have at least one area in our home that we are less than proud of (and yes, I can admit to more than one). It might be an overcrowded junk drawer that is so full and impossible to close on the first try that it leaves you aggravated each time you open it, or your bedroom closet that you know has some scary fashion statements hidden in the back but the thought of getting to them is too overwhelming. I totally get it. These little problem areas start to add up and then one day you get the “what happened to the house that I love?!” feeling.
When you moved into your home you were probably so excited about the space. Leading up to the move-in you had envisioned what life would be like when you finally lived there and how much easier your days would be because of the new beginning. It’s a chance to start fresh and things would be different in this home because you will make them different starting from the day you move in.
And then 6 months in you find yourself back to your old routine. Your kids’ shoes are piled up near the door, you can’t find the sugar in your pantry that you swore you bought last week, and you aren’t willing to address the mountain of papers that are accumulating in your kitchen, but by the size of the stack you know that you need to take time to get through the pile or else you might miss something important.
You have invested time and money into your home and it ideally should be the place where you love to spend time and not a home where you find yourself avoiding areas just to stay sane.
I see it happen on a weekly basis.
I can’t think of a situation where a client has come to me and said that they are perfectly happy with the current state of their home. Instead, they have the room that always remains shut so that when guests come over they don’t peek in the room and see the mess. Or the annoyance that comes with not being able to find a top sheet in the linen closet even though there are dozens of sheets spilling off of the shelves. Or the embarrassment of not knowing where to begin to declutter, but they have finally “given in” and know they need some help from an outsider.
So, what can be done? Is it actually possible to fall back in love with your home?
GIVE YOUR HOME SOME TLC
A problem is not going to fix itself without some sort of action, so give yourself time (seriously, even just 5 minutes will help) to think through a solution.
What issues do you have with your home and what can you do to fix it? If your answer is “everything” then take a step back and try to get more specific. Think about a time this week where you were frustrated by your home for some reason. Maybe you are sick of looking at your old mismatched living room furniture or you are frustrated that your kids aren’t putting their toys away (I promise these totally unrelated examples are related in some way).
Now, think about what’s not working in each situation.
- Are your kids not putting their toys away because it’s too difficult to put back where it belongs? Are there too many toys that the mess becomes too much for them to handle? Are they trying to find a specific item but don’t know where to find it so they are going through everything to look for it?
Identify the problem, the solution, and work out the path to get there. Here are the same questions from above but with workable solutions:
- Are your kids not putting their toys away because it’s too difficult to put back where it belongs? What’s your current storage situation? Are the toys supposed to go back on shelves and can your kids reach the shelves? I love using open-top bins with toys so that it makes pulling out toys and putting them away easy for kids. Are there too many toys that the mess becomes too much for them to handle? Think about when you go to a restaurant with three pages of entrees. How are you supposed to decide? Options can be too overwhelming! Your kids might be playing with a toy to see if it sparks their interest, but quickly move on to something else if that isn’t fun for them (and then move on to another toy...and then another toy...). Sure, in a dream world they would put something away before taking something new out, but that’s not always the case. Give them fewer entrees! Keep fewer toys at their disposal that you know they use and love. Consider rotating toys on a weekly basis, or put them in a bag for donation in your garage. If they haven’t asked about the toys in a month consider donating or giving to a friend. Are they trying to find a specific item but don’t know where to find it so they are going through everything to look for it? Label, label, label. If your kids can’t read use a photo label. Have a dedicated area for each type of toy (i.e. a shelf, a bin, an area of the closet, etc.). Show them how to put cars back in the bin that has a picture of a car on it (better yet, have them color that picture!) and over time the habit will be built and they will understand where things go.
USE WHAT YOU LOVE
Products range in every shape, color, and price point. If you’re in the market to add products to aide your organization, make a point to choose something that excites you and will make the process more enjoyable (even if it’s just fluorescent post-it notes) . It may sound silly, but having products that bring joy to even the most menial tasks are worth it. It’s common for clients to come to us with inspiration photos--either products that they have seen and love or rooms that they want to replicate. We always ask what makes our client like the photo/product, and we usually hear things like “I love how calm it makes me feel” or “I love how pretty everything is displayed” and we get it: when you invest in products you love you are more likely to get excited about using them. We recently had a client who wanted everything in their office to be acrylic because she liked the look of it. DONE. If using an acrylic desktop file will make the experience of handling your to-dos more enjoyable, by all means do it!
SPREAD THE LOVE
As you go through your home and identify problem areas and work through solutions, you may find that you have a bunch of stuff that you no longer like, need, or want. You may feel wasteful just giving it all away, but remember that there are so many ways for others to use items that are in decent condition. Plus, the positive feeling from giving back may make the whole process even better for you.
Items in good, clean, working condition can be donated (tip: towels can be donated to animal shelters!). Many donation centers offer pickups, but it could be just as easy to get it out of your house and drop off a load during your weekly errand run.
So, I’d love to know: what do you LOVE about your home? Are there any areas that need some extra TLC? Comment below and I’ll try to offer tips to help!
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