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Resolve to Love Your Home



What’s Inside . . .

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Resolve to Love Your Home What’s the Message? What Do I Really Want? Why Didn’t I Do This Sooner? I Don’t Know What To Do Hired Help I Can’t Afford This Schedule Manageable Chunks of Time Time Swap Ongoing Maintenance

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Severns Avery

Special Projects Manager Robert Sawyer

How to contact us: My Life with Style 787 Kendall Court Lakewood, CO 80214 (303) 725-2301

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Design and Layout Hallie Davis

Resolve to Love Your Home The New Year is traditionally the time for making resolutions to change. New Year’s is a great time to start, but change can begin any time we choose. Is one of your resolutions to change an aspect of your home? The idea of changing your home may bring you great joy. We’re here to cheer you on and give you great ideas on how to make those changes. If the idea of making changes to your home fills you with equal parts of excitement and fear, we’re here for you, too. Magazines and television shows bombard us with images of how our homes are supposed to look. We erroneously believe that we should achieve this ideal and our lives will somehow be better when we do. Comparing our homes to the ones shown in the media may lead us to think “God, my house is a pigsty! I’m embarrassed to have people see my home like this.” Those kinds of thoughts often lead us to feeling overwhelmed. As a result, we do nothing. We ask ourselves “Why bother? It’s too much work and it will never look like the picture in the magazine.” When we gently explore our underlying emotions and why we choose to take care of or not take care of our homes, we can discover a wealth of information that helps us understand our reasons for taking or not taking action. This discovery process is the key to formulating a plan that supports and empowers us.

Designers are not exempt from feeling overwhelmed.

◄ Yes, this is my basement. It has become a dumping ground for items I don’t know what to do with. Beautiful dining room furniture from my parents sits unused because it doesn’t fit my décor, yet I can’t bring myself to part with it because I worry about disappointing my father if I get rid of it. Antique glassware from my mother’s side of the family sits gathering dust for a number of reasons:

There are not enough matching glasses to use. They represent a perceived connection with my Mom who has passed away.


I don’t want to expend the effort required to sell them. The mother of all excuses - I might need/want them some day.

So there they sit. At My Life with Style we believe your home should support, empower, and inspire you. Not because a magazine or designer tells

you it should, but because home is where you rest, rejuvenate, and create the emotional and physical energy needed to live your life to the fullest. So, let’s explore how to create a home that does that.

What’s The Message? Our homes often reflect how we feel about ourselves. When you’re dissatisfied with your life, it may show up as dissatisfaction with your home. When working with clients, I sometimes come to the conclusion that the problem is not the furniture, but that the dissatisfaction with the furniture may be a symptom of another underlying issue. Your feelings about your home send you messages. The messages will be unique to you, but common ones include:

I’m overscheduled and stretched to the limit as is. I can’t possibly take on my If I clean it, the kids/my spouse will just mess it up

I don’t believe I’m worthy to have a beautiful home.

An abundance of belongings makes me feel safe and if they disappear, I will feel vulnerable.

It takes too much energy to change my habits and

So we do nothing.

Conversely, we may engage in magical thinking that also keeps us stuck:

If my house is perfect, then my life will be If I blame where/how I live for the state of my life, I don’t have to take responsibility for my choices. I don’t really need/want this, but it was on sale and I LOVE getting a bargain.

What Do I Really Want?

Defining what you really want may not be easy. For example: ■ Do you really want more storage space, or would it be better to purge items you’re not using? ■ Do you need to keep the whole house clean, or would you be happy if you had a space where you could keep it just the way you like it? ■ Would you prefer to spend time organizing your belongings or spend time looking for them in a disorganized house? There is no right or wrong answer. But your home environment should support you, not work against you.

“Taking action and making your home reflect your choices in life is a great way to feel empowered,” said Cynthia Swan, licensed professional counselor. “Set up your home to function for you and ask yourself questions like: Do I want my home to be a retreat? Do I want this room to be a project room or is it for reading? Your home should encourage you to drop the outside world once you enter.“

Why Didn’t I Do This Sooner?

A comment I hear over and over again after staging a home for sale is “I wish it looked this nice before we decided to move so I could have enjoyed it.” There are three main reasons people don’t create homes that they love and enjoy:

They don’t know what to do


They believe they can’t afford it

They don’t have the time to do it


“I Don’t Know What to Do”

In this case, looking at magazines and watching home decorating TV shows can be a great source of ideas. Personally, I use the camera on my smart phone to take pictures of products and to capture ideas/ solutions I come across that might work for me or my clients. Creating a notebook can be a great way gather information and ideas to help you determine what you like and don’t like. As you collect information, you will begin to see a pattern of things that appeal to you. The next step is to ask “How do these items fit in with what I already have?” My husband and I use this question as the acid test of whether or not we will purchase something. As a designer, I don’t believe that everything has to match. But if something we are considering purchasing is markedly different from what we already own, we then discuss where and how we are going to use it.

Hired Help

Hiring a designer doesn’t have to be a budget busting experience. You may find that by hiring a designer you actually save money as they come up with ideas you might not have considered and share resources that reduce your costs.

Schedule Manageable Chunks of Time

If you schedule time to work on cleaning, organizing, or decorating your home, you’re much more likely to do it. On more than one occasion I have underestimated the scope of the project and have ended up frustrated and overwhelmed. Now, I schedule tasks on my calendar and use a timer to limit how long I work on a project. If I’m not finished, I congratulate myself on what I’ve accomplished, forgive myself for not finishing, and schedule time to complete the task. Yes, my house may be a wreck for a while, but I get the task done.

$ I Can’t Afford It

There are times in everyone’s life that “I can’t afford it” is a true statement. But you still have options. Rearranging the furniture, repurposing existing possessions, decorating with what you already have and finding inexpensive furniture and decorative objects at thrift stores or by the side of the road can change the look and feel of a room.

Time Swap

Consider swapping time with someone to help you and to help them bust through projects that are overwhelming to tackle alone. Cleaning someone else’s house is much more interesting than cleaning your own. Swap an hour of cleaning your house for an hour of cleaning someone else’s. A trusted friend has the ability to be objective about items in your home and can help you decide what you want to save and what you want to give away. Notice I said a trusted friend. This is not the time to ask someone who is going to make comments like “Why are you holding on to all this junk?” Then return the favor and help them sort and discard items they are having difficulty being object about. Here’s an important caveat: Don’t go home with your friend’s discards! Give yourself at least 24 hours to decide if you really need/want the item. If you do and have a clearly defined purpose for it, go back and get it. My husband and I have been in our home five years. There are two boxes in the Master Bedroom Closet that have never been opened since we moved in. Think that we need what’s in there? I doubt it. This weekend the boxes are departing.

Ongoing Maintenance

Once I have completed a big task (like organizing a file cabinet) I schedule time to do ongoing maintenance. 15 minutes here and there can make a big difference in taming the clutter beast. I’m much more willing to devote 15 minutes on occasion than two to three hours at a stretch. If you fall off the wagon, you’re not alone. The perfect home for most of us is an illusion unless we have the desire, time, or resources to create and maintain it. For me, the amount of clutter in my home affects my self-esteem. Too much and I begin to feel overwhelmed and powerless. But by no means, even though I’m both a designer and a professional organizer, do I have a perfect home. What I have is a home that uplifts and empowers me most of the time. I’m happy with that.

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My Life With Style January 2014 Resolve To Love Your Home  

New Year's Day is a great for making resolutions, but change can happen any time. In 2014, let's resolve to love our homes. This issue offer...