If you’re one of the rare people out there who truly doesn’t care about having a home that reflects your personal style, is fairly organized and kept reasonably clean and clutter free, then this post is not for you.
I’m guessing that doesn’t describe you, or you probably wouldn’t have clicked on the post title, so I thought I’d share with you some ideas to overcome procrastination, fear and yes, I’ll say it, just plain laziness!
When we owned our residential cleaning business, I had the opportunity to see the inside of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of homes. Many were swoon worthy, but many more were not. They were disorganized, depressing spaces and just being inside sucked the energy out of me.
More often than not, the homeowners would apologize for their homes condition. Over the years I heard more excuses than I can count as to why someone’s home was disorganized, why they haven’t decorated and why they haven’t cleaned.
Here’s a sampling of their excuses. Do any sound familiar to you?
- I’ll start decorating/organizing when my kids are out of the house
- I’ll start decorating when I have more money/time/energy
- I’ll start decorating when I can figure out what I want. I hardly know where to begin!
- I’ll start organizing once I’m able to take the time to clean out my closets/drawers/garage, etc.
- I’ll start decorating when I can get my husband on board
- I’m concerned my friends/family won’t approve of how I’ve decorated
- I’m renting and can’t make any changes
- I’ll start decorating/cleaning/organizing when I can get it all done at once
I can understand, and even relate, to many of the excuses I heard. After all, it’s definitely more efficient to take on a large project at one time rather than spread it out over days, weeks, months or years. (Not that I’ve ever done that. 😉 Hello photo organizing?!). But the truth is that there is often never enough time or money to complete several projects at one time.
If we continually put off decorating our home because we ‘don’t have enough time’ or ‘it’s not the right time’, most likely we’ll never get to it and instead of being happy in our spaces, we become frustrated and discontent.
But there’s good news. NONE of these excuses have to get in your way. Just think of them as challenges that can inspire you to be creative.
I’ve put together a list of some of the more common excuses and solutions to overcome them.
I don’t have enough money to decorate my home the way I want
Hands down, this is the most common reason people don’t decorate their homes. Most of us have been there. I know I have, and to a great extent, I’m still there, and yet I’m not one to shy away from diy! I can understand the challenges someone might face if they’re not a crafty or handy person. Yes, there are tons of projects that are over-the-top gorgeous and require few, if any, design skills, but maybe you don’t have your mojo quite there yet. Then what?
Repurposing items is a great way to give your home a new, fresh perspective. You know that trunk at the foot of your bed? How about using it in the family room as a cocktail table? Remember that pretty scarf tucked away in your closet? Use it to drape over your nightstand. Have some mason jars that you don’t know what to do with? Paint them any color you desire and place seasonal flowers, kitchen utensils, bathroom items, etc. in them for a functional, fun solution. Small changes can work wonders. Still stuck? Invite a friend over whose opinions you respect and ask for advice/help. A different perspective and new set of eyes may be just what’s needed.
You’ve heard of clothing swaps? How about furniture swaps? Or maybe you can barter with a crafty friend? Are you a great cook? Maybe you’re tech savvy? Think out of the box and have fun at the same time.
We all know that paint is a budget decorator’s best friend. If I didn’t know that before, I certainly learned it when I FINALLY painted our kitchen wall a few months ago. I don’t know why I waited so long. Actually, I do. Which brings me to reason number 2.
I’m concerned my friends or family won’t like it
No matter how confident we are, when it comes to doing something major with our homes, we want the people we care about (and maybe even the ones we don’t care about) to like/admire/appreciate our efforts. It’s a huge let down when we’ve put a lot of effort into something and no one likes it, right??
But here’s the thing: not everyone is going to have the same taste as you, and that’s ok. Actually, it’s better than ok. Imagine how dull the world would be if we all liked the same things? Decorating is a personal experience, and when we get caught up with trying to impress others the process becomes a let down. You’re the one that has to live with your choices and yes, you’ll make mistakes. But you’ll also learn from them and gain confidence along the way.
A while back there was a VERY popular thread on FB about an RV that was remodeled into one that had light flooring and furniture. You would have thought, based on some of the comments, that the rv owners committed the worst decorating faux paux imaginable! The thread was peppered with comments like…’How stupid to decorate an RV in light colors! It will get so dirty’! ‘It’s so trendy looking. They’ll hate it in a few years.’ I chimed in and said that I wish more manufacturers would design light interiors on RV’s. After all, they’re small and can benefit from lighter colors. Also, we make a habit of taking off our shoes before stepping into our RV (and our home) and unless you have dogs that shed, it won’t get dirty. As suspected, not everyone agreed and that’s fine, citing that it’s not practical, especially with kids. That’s cool. Let them travel/live in a dark, depressing space ;).
Speaking of kids, here’s reason number 3.
I’ll decorate my home when my kids move out.
Ok, maybe if you have four boys under the age of 5 I get it, but truly, the fact that you have children is a poor excuse for not having a home you love!
The most important issue for households with kids is storage, storage, storage. Without proper storage solutions in a home with kids (or any home), it will be difficult to maintain a serene, inviting space. Setting it up initially might be daunting, but totally worth it. If they’re old enough, think about turning organizing into a game to get them involved. Use the process as an opportunity to teach them there are those less fortunate and that you’ll be donating the toys they don’t want.
Two of the most important decorating decisions for homes with young children are flooring and upholstery choices. Fortunately, we live in a time when there are tons of durable, affordable and beautiful options out there. If you like to change things up or simply want to be able to easily clean your upholstery, consider slipcovers. I’ve purchased two sofa covers from uglysofa.com for my porch and have been very happy with the quality, and they’re a fraction of what you would normally pay.
So now that we’ve established that children aren’t a hindrance, how about your spouse? Reason number 4…
My spouse has a completely different style than me
This can be tough, particularly if neither party is willing to compromise. But if they are, some lovely, interesting results can happen! We’ve all seen the HGTV shows where the couple has different ideas and in the end, they end up with something they both like (or at least that’s what they say on camera). By working together and possessing a willingness to try something different, you will be surprised with how easily you can mesh your styles.
If all else fails, just remember my motto…if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. :).
I’m renting and not allowed to paint the walls or make any changes.
Yup, this one’s tough. We rented a few years ago and I’ll be honest…I never really put my stamp on it. I knew we would only be there for a year and it was fine. Not great, but fine, so I kind of feel like a hypocrite writing this part of the post, but I think if I was going to rent long term, I would have put my stamp on the rental.
Now, that’s not to say I didn’t incorporate some items into the decor on the rental. I didn’t like the ugly carpet, so I put a large rug over it. We were allowed to put nails in the wall, so I hung some artwork. If that’s not allowed, decorative screens or command hooks can do wonders. There were no window treatments, so I added some that I had sewn up quickly for a pop of color (the kitchen was all white).
(For more ideas on how to decorate a rental, check out this post.)
I’ve got too much ‘stuff’! It’s overwhelming!
Eliminating excess clutter is like trying to lose weight. Don’t think about the fact that you want to lose 20, 30 or even 40 lbs (or more). Think about losing 1 lb this week, then the next, then the next. It’s the same with clutter. If you’ve let things get out of control, just take baby steps.
Remember that ‘photo’ project I mentioned earlier? Well, I had been thinking about it for nearly two years before actually making headway. How did I do it? By simply doing a little at a time. One day I went through a few photos and threw out the ones I no longer wanted. Then I did the same thing the next time, and the next time. Before long, all the photos I didn’t want were gone. Then I got three boxes and labeled them ‘early years’, ‘middle years’ and ‘hurry up because your time is running out’ years and put the appropriate photos in the correct boxes. Then I purchased some nice photo albums and acid free inserts and got to work. It took months, but that’s because I also went weeks without doing anything. The important thing is it got done and I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment!
The take-away on this one is don’t get bogged down by thinking of just the big picture. Think small, act small, and before you know it, you’ll achieve your goal.
I don’t know how to decorate!
You know more than you think! You know what you like. You know the colors you’re drawn to (just look in your closet). You know which styles appeal to you.
If you haven’t already done so, start some boards on Pinterest of styles that you like. You’ll start to see some common threads and you’ll be able to carry those into your own space. I suggest starting specific boards such as ‘living room’, ‘bedrooms’, ‘bathrooms’, etc. If you’d like some inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards for some ideas. Also, if you’d like to see some posts on organizing, including how I organized our bathroom and kitchen, click here.
In other news…
By the time you read this we’ll be out of St. Augustine and on our way to a small town just outside of Hilton Head, an area I’ve never visited, then we’re headed to Ashville, another town we’ve never been to.
We were in St. Augustine for just three days two years ago, which was the first year we started our ‘snowbirding’, and at the time it was chilly and rainy so we didn’t get to see too much and certainly didn’t go to the beach. This time we stayed for 10 days and did a lot more exploring and I have to say my impression of the area has changed from ‘eh’ to ‘quite nice’, (although Venice is still my fav). It seems to have more cloudy/rainy days than southwest Florida, but there are many interesting things to do and see, particularly if you enjoy history.
Till next time, stay warm my friends!