I've had a great time this year helping friends and family members declutter, reorganize and redecorate their homes. I've always loved to organize (my spices were in alphabetical order long before Fly Lady and Marie Kondo!), never pursued it as a career, but look forward to being asked to help others "spark joy" in their homes.
So far, "The Accidental Organizer" (me!) has had great fun this year helping to "reclaim" the homes of BFF Mary Elizabeth, niece Katy, and (the current project) my sister, Andi. Andi and her DH both had homes before they were married so the first step was a major decluttering. We had both learned a lot from reading (repeatedly!) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Andi was determined to keep only those items which "sparked joy".
To get rid of things quickly, we simply put them out by the street and gave them away. Voila...GONE by dinnertime!
Andi and DH had just had new flooring installed in their lower-level family room and bedrooms, which had previously been occupied by their young adult not-quite -ready-to-leave-the-nest children. They had also repainted the previously builders'-white rooms. As they ready for retirement, they're now ready to reclaim the space for themselves.
Here is the new decluttered, redecorated-on-a-budget family room. We were trying for a "Pottery Barn" look by rearranging and repurposing things that were on hand after the "purge". The trick was "shopping the house" and really trying to see items for what they could be, rather than what (and where) they "always were". Andi is thrilled with her "new room".
Here's how we did it:
1. We removed EVERYTHING from the room. Everything.
2.. My sister and her DH happily grabbed the used couch and love seat from a friend of mine who had just purchased new living room furniture. Both pieces are high quality with down-filled cushions. And we loved the color. Cost: $25.00 to rent a U-Haul.
3. Andi chose a taupe paint color to compliment the couches.
4. She brought home one panel of each of six or seven curtains she liked and we selected these, returning the others. You really need to see curtains hanging in the room to choose the perfect ones. These are taupe with white embroidery, left simply open and draped to the floor.
4. We picked up the two pieces of art over the couch (we needed something BIG) at a yard sale in Kennebunk for $10.00 for the pair.
5. We reused objects that Andi had inherited from my mother when she passed away last year to personalize the room: the antique cobbler's bench/coffee table, the copper lamp, the wooden shoes Dad brought back from WWII.
6. We repositioned smaller pieces from elsewhere in the house. The upholstered bench on the left had been almost forgotten in a back corner of the dining room upstairs. Now it gives this room a more contemporary feel while providing additional seating and storage.
7. Instead of lots of small accessories, we used just a few large ones.
We added family photos and an oil painting our Mom did over the antique desk that had belonged to Andi's DH's family . . .
And hung thirteen of her DH's antique Wallace Nutting prints, which had previously been residing in a closet. (Lesson: If you care enough to collect something, either honor it by displaying it or . . . "Kondo" it out!) These look perfect on the taupe walls.
Thanks to an ad we happened to see in the Sunday paper, we found the perfect plum-colored desk, chair and etagere on sale for Back-to-School at Big Lots. For $49.00 each, they add color, function and an unexpected contemporary vibe to the room.
After a week of hard work, I needed a break. While Andi was stuck at work again (she's finally retiring in January!), Andi's DH, my DH and I broke for lunch at our favorite seafood shack, Day's, on old Route 1 in Yarmouth, Maine. It's certainly handy . . . only about a mile or so from Andi's house.