I can do it myself. This is something I say a lot. Like, a LOT.
I hate asking for help. I have a long history of taking pride in doing things myself. But as my life has gotten more busy with work, and my boys have gotten to the age where apparently I spend a lot of time driving them to various activities, the state of my house has suffered.
Mind you, I have a higher tolerance for dirt and messiness than most people, but I also lived in a construction zone for 3 out of the past 4 years, and my house has suffered more than most houses in terms of organization, clutter, and a sense of aesthetics.
Now, I am not an aesthetically motivated person. I don’t really “understand” design at all. In my taste in clothing, furniture and decor, I have no real intuitive sense of what goes with what, where to put things, and how to be creative. I am missing that gene. For sure.
After my divorce, I hired an incredibly gentle and talented woman named Katrina (her business is called Operation Organization) to help me scale down and shape up my living space. It was wonderful. And she let me keep all the things I wanted, and it was not at all traumatic. (I’m also not good with change.)
But that was several years ago. And my house again needed some love. So I reached out to Katrina, who has opened up a branch of her business in Dallas, but often travels to LA. The day I contacted her, she happened to be in town. It felt a little bit like kismet. I was as excited as a messy, design-challenged grump of a human can be about someone coming over to look at my house.
Katrina came over and assessed the state of the house. I repeated how important it is for me to not have to buy a ton of stuff, and how I like to use my vintage tins and weird baskets so that my house still looks like “mine”. She totally got it, and she and her team got to work. I love how not judgmental they are about my things; they are very mellow and not at all like the “Hollywood crazy scary design people” image I had in mind when I was introduced to her. It’s a very easy process, and for that I am grateful.
It took 2 separate visits and one determined carpenter, but Operation Organization has made my house look like a home; it’s not just a holding space for stuff.
I learned three things from this process.
- Design will never be “my thing.” Never. I know what I like if you give me choices, but it’s not like it really makes sense to me. It’s not my thing. Languages, math, being a mom, deep introspection, communion with God: these are my things. Design? Not so much. And that’s okay.
- The space you exist in does matter. When I walk in the door and I am happy with what I see, it lifts my mood. When my sons are not constantly being reminded to not put their stuff on the floor (because there is now a dedicated space for their crap), they are happier. When things I love are displayed so that I can gaze upon them throughout my day, it makes me feel good.
- I can’t do everything by myself. I should ask for help. I tend to isolate and not handle things when I feel I can not do them myself. (Note: doing this surrounding your mental health can have very dire consequences and it’s not a habit I am proud of…I’ve gotten better asking for mental health help as I have gotten older.) It’s okay to pay someone who is adept at a skill. I didn’t want to spend money on something I dismiss as frivolous, but I now see how valuable Katrina and her team were for my state of mind.
I feel hopeful about my life when I reflect on the changes in my home. Things are finally falling into place. Things are more cohesive. Things are pretty without me feeling like I am pretending to be someone I am not. My things are pretty. And the fact that I have weird things I think are pretty does not make them any less pretty; they are mine.
2018 is getting started. And I am on board for more changes, but also more order, more appreciation for my skills and more acknowledgment that sometimes I need the help of others to fully achieve my potential. I guess it does take a village. Or at least someone who knows what the village should look like.
Here are before & after shots of the laundry room: