How to get the new home feeling without moving

Moving.

The never-ending sea of stacked boxes..
The stuff you’ve accumulated over the years..
The physical act of moving it all to a new space…

It’s stressful.
In fact, it is listed as one of the most stressful life events right up there with divorce, job loss and death.

It can make you want to hide in a cardboard box like this woman on Twitter.

But moving doesn’t have to be stressful.

It can be an opportunity for a fresh start.
Moving can help you reinvent your space, your habits and lifestyle.
It can give you a chance to make the changes you so desperately wish and maybe even need to make.

Today, I am going to take some of the stress out of your move and show you how to effortlessly set up your new home so you can have the real fresh start you desire.

(Psst… Not moving, but yearning for the feeling of a new home? Not to worry. What I am going to share will help you too. This exercise will show you how to effortlessly refresh your space, without moving, in a matter of 15-minutes.)

Okay. Now down to business.
I have a question for you.

Have you ever thought about how much time you spent in your house before you decided to rent or purchase it?

The truth: Probably 30-minutes. Isn’t that crazy?
The biggest investment of your life is made in 30-minutes.

It’s mind-blowing really.

In those 30-minutes you were probably hyper-focused on your love of the big windows, the neighborhood, the crown molding, spacious kitchen or the dining room and the furniture you could purchase to fill it.

You didn’t think about where the laundry baskets go.
You didn’t think about how you had one less closet in this house.
You didn’t think about where the pile of clothes would inevitably start to accumulate during busy weeks.

That’s what happened to my client, Jen.
Jen and her family moved into their new dream home and a year later felt overwhelmed by dysfunction and mess.

To help her start fresh again we did a house tour.
So what’s a house tour?

It’s basically when you go through your house, room by room and assess what is working for you and what isn’t.

While I took Jen through the house tour to plan her fresh start she had a few powerful epiphanies. She realized in that brief walk thru that she had set up her new home exactly how it had been staged when she purchased it.

She put all the furniture in the exact same places even if it didn’t really fit.
Jen had really just adapted to the house.
She didn’t think about how the house could adapt to her life, her family and their needs.

So what happened after the house tour?
I gave Jen a simple design and organizing ideas and tips she could use to instantly refresh her space.
Here is what she did:

  • Jen changed their dining room into a playroom for her kids. They never used the dining room so this was an easy change. They even made some money from this decision. They sold the furniture and made a couple extra hundred bucks.

  • She lined the walls of the coat closet with hooks. It took the hangers out of the equation and made putting coats away super simple. Random winter coats never ended up on furniture or in piles on the floor.

  • She bought over-the-door shoe organizers and hung them on the back of her kid’s bedroom doors for all their little “treasures”.

  • She also replaced the ugly “builder boobs” light fixtures with more stylish light fixtures which not only looked better but also gave off better light.

Jen told me the best part was that now every Saturday instead of spending the first few hours of their day trying to clean up the mess of the week, they were able to go on a fun new adventure with the entire family.

You can have this kind of fresh start too.

Here’s a 30-minute exercise which will help you go through each room and find quick and easy design and organizing ways to make it feel like home again.

Step one: Get a piece of paper for each room in your house that needs some TLC.  Go sit in each room and make a list of all the changes you want to see in that space. Pretend that time and money are not issues. (Also don’t forget the little things you’d like to fix. If there is a room that needs a new light bulb or your doorknob is loose on your guest bedroom,  write it down.)

Step two: Prioritize the list for each room.  Generally I recommend starting with what bothers you the most, or if budget is an issue, then start with the issue that is the least expensive to fix.

Step three: Prioritize the rooms. While this may feel “pie in the sky,” it’s actually very helpful. This will become your plan of where to focus your attention.

Step four: Start with your first room!  This is not a race, more like a marathon so pace yourself.  And keep in mind the three budgets that everyone has to work with – money, time and energy.

To new beginnings of every kind.

 

 

P.S. Need a one-on-one reinvention intervention? Get 10% off my design and organizing services until July 31st at midnight! Book your session HERE.

What my mother taught me about creating an organized home…

 

My mother made our house a home.

She made every inch feel comfortable and warm.  She is the one who transformed the rooms, walls and space into an ideal place to grow, learn, dream and become.

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I can’t help but think about all the lesson’s my mother has taught me over the years about creating an organized home.

She truly taught me how to make any space a sanctuary.

It would be impossible for me to pick one lesson, and say this is the one that changed my life. However, today I’d love to share one lesson she taught me, that as an interior designer and organizer, I’ve used in my clients’ homes and my own home to INSTANTLY create more space without spending a dime.

For those who don’t know, I grew up in a traditional four bedroom home in Michigan. There was plenty of room for our family of six, but that didn’t stop my mom from constantly finding better ways to organize the space we had.

My mother is and was an innovative soul. Money was not abundant growing up, but instead of complaining about the lack of resources my mother got creative.

She started organizing.

She started thinking outside the box.

She started by creating a sweater closet.

There was a linen closet between our bedrooms. It was filled with towels. My mother moved all of the towels to the bathroom vanities.  Instead of folding the towels she rolled them up tightly so they would all fit. Then she filled the empty linen closet between our bedrooms with our sweaters.

I loved this sweater closet.

My mother and I were able to easily share sweaters, which was so much fun, and it also INSTANTLY created more space in our bedroom closets. I remember being surprised that this one act, the invention of the sweater closet, could change the way our home functioned.  

I have to say, my mother didn’t stop with the sweater closet. She took the doors off a closet in the laundry room so she could easily hang clothes fresh from the dryer. She made a space for me and my sister  in our bedrooms to blow dry our hair, so four kids never had to battle over the one bathroom.  When we started to move out, my mother turned one of the small bedrooms into the walk-in closet she had always dreamed of having…

In these moments, my mother didn’t just teach me to be resourceful. Really what she taught me, was to never wait for the perfect circumstancesShe taught me that nothing was perfect and that imperfection wasn’t a tragedy – it was an opportunity.

She taught me your home can be anything you make it and it doesn’t require a thousands of dollars, a complete redesign or drastic move to a bigger home.  

Sometimes, it just requires a creative eye.

In honor of Mother’s Day I am offering 10% off my 2-Hour Initial Consultation (through the end of June). If you want someone to help you create more space in your home, book a consultation here with me today.

GET STARTED.

Or if your wife or another woman in your life could use a creative eye and a little support with organizing, spread the love.

GIFT IT

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

How hiring an interior designer can actually save you money (and your sanity)

Morgan had been thinking about hiring an interior designer for months.

Yet there was one problem…Money.

“I’ve been having a hard time justifying the cost. It’s hard for me to spend money on beautifying my home. It seems like a vain expense when my family has other needs like groceries, soccer tournament fees, school books and eventually college tuition. Plus I am getting divorced. I should probably be saving every penny I have,” Morgan said.

Morgan also told me that her home didn’t feel like a home anymore.

She and her soon to be ex-husband had been in the same house for 10 years. They started their marriage in this house and raised their two young boys in this house, so there was a lot of love in the home. Yet, over the years, due to their busy lifestyles, they had given up on making it a special place. Don’t get me wrong, they had maintained the house and kept it in good working order, but they had never updated the kitchen, changed the beige paint on the walls or purchased new furniture. (In fact, they still had the couch they bought right after college.)

But, Morgan’s issue with her home wasn’t just her lack of connection to it or the outdated design.

The house was always a mess. As Morgan’s boys got bigger, so did their toys. Morgan had thoroughly investigated Pinterest to try to find cute ways to organize their soccer gear, trucks and school supplies, but always ended up feeling frustrated with half-finished projects.

Morgan had also recently started a bookkeeping business she ran out of her home. As she moved through the house during the day, she could not avoid the clutter. It was driving her so crazy, that she found herself organizing when she should be working on client work.

When her husband moved out and the divorce was officially final, Morgan knew she needed a fresh start, which is why she finally called me.

I meet so many women like Morgan, who feel like their need for joy is selfish or excessive. They feel like massages, an organized beautiful home, or even a haircut is an expense they can have…

When they get that raise…

When they get that job…

When they finalize their divorce…

When their kids are older…

They put off their joy or their needs to sacrifice for the greater good of the family, without knowing they are doing more harm than good.

The truth is, having a home you love that is organized and functional can not only improve your relationships with your husband and kids, but it can save you money and your precious limited life-minutes.

After our call that day, Morgan hired me for a 2-hour in-person consult.

For the 2-hour consult I went over to Morgan’s home. She walked me through every single room. We talked about what was working in each room and what was driving her absolutely nuts. We talked about what items of furniture her ex-husband would be taking in the next few weeks, her kids’ homework habits and about her dream home.

But we didn’t just talk about dreams we took action. In just two hours, we picked a new color for her bedroom and living room that she absolutely adored. We also started moving around her furniture. She was amazed that something as simple as moving the couch to another corner of the room, could give it a new life.

By the end of the day, Morgan decided to work with me for one more session.

During our second session, I came over for three-hours and organized her kids’ play room. I didn’t have to buy any extra storage. I used everything that was already in the house. I picked out two new pieces of furniture for the living room and designed a photo gallery wall using existing art and family photos. I identified the perfect spot in the kitchen and showed her what to order to create a command center.  Morgan now has a specific place where mail, kid’s school papers and family schedule lives rather than it piling up on the kitchen counters.

In total: Morgan invested less than $1,000 to work with me.

At the end of our work together Morgan said her home felt brand new.

But that wasn’t the best part.

Morgan told me that with the clutter out of the way, she was better able to manage her time. She was no longer spending 10-minutes here and 10-minutes there trying to wrangle the chaos. Instead of working until the late hours every night, she was able to finish work around 5:30 when the kids got home from school and soccer practice. She said this uninterrupted productivity also helped her able to acquire another 2 new clients that month and increased her income significantly. (This does not include the money she saved on unfinished Pinterest projects.)

I often share this story with potential clients or people considering working with an interior designer, so they can fully understand the power of intentional design. It’s not just about making pretty rooms or having the perfect throw pillow…

It’s about having a space that gives you peace and ease, so you can focus on what matters most.

Now I would love to hear from you.

What is one thing you would love to do to your home, that you haven’t because you think it is a frivolous expense? Share your thoughts and answers in the comments below.

Best

Sara

P.S. Take a look at some of my projects here.  Are you curious about how an interior designer could help you and your family’s specific needs? Want to learn more about working with me? Connect with me here today for a short 15-minute call.

Decorating Hacks to Make Home Life Easier

Decorating Hacks to Make Home Life Easier | Sara Eizen | Seattle Interior Designer

Do you ever look around your house and think, “Not again”?

It’s too cluttered, and company’s coming over in a few minutes.

You can’t find your keys and you’re running late.

You lost that important receipt, business card, or bill.

The laundry you were sorting on the couch is still there, two days later…and seems to be multiplying. How many people live in this house?!

These “not again” moments don’t just happen in your house – trust me! Every household struggles with keeping things organized, clean, and streamlined at home, much less some sort of cohesive design style that feels like “you”.

Because, of course, a home isn’t just a beautiful, bright space to take pictures of for Instagram.

A home is a place for life; it’s a place where real people (and their pets) live, rest, eat, and have fun.

As an interior designer, home organizer, and mom of twin boys, I am passionate about helping busy families reclaim space and style in their homes. I know first-hand the stress that comes from a home that isn’t optimized for family life – and the joy that comes from improving your home’s design and falling in love with your home all over again in the process.

That’s why in this post I’m going to share with you some of my favorite decorating hacks. These are “hacks” because they’re easy, simple, and cheap; but they’ll go a long way toward making your home life easier and happier.

I’m not saying you’ll never lose your wallet again. But…wouldn’t it be nice to only tear apart the couch cushions every couple of weeks instead?!

Decorating Hacks to Make Home Life Easier

Get rid of things you don’t need

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one first. Sometimes, the best way to make your home life easier is simply to decrease the number of items you have to pick up and organize every day. It’s not very crafty or Pinterest-worthy, but it works! And just think of the satisfying before-and-after photos you’ll end up with. Decluttering may mean getting rid of things you rarely use, doing a “toy detox” in the playroom, or spending a few hours going through your pantry and kitchen cupboards. But it will be worth it to be able to spend less time cleaning up and more time simply enjoying your home once you’re done. Read this post to learn my approach toward decluttering.

Set up a command center

When you’ve lost an important phone number or piece of paper, it can feel like the last straw. “Time to get organized – NOW!” But where do you even start? A household has so many moving parts – schedules, bills, mail coming in and going out, homework, permission slips, and more. I am a big believer in the power of a command center to bring a lot more organization and simplification to family life. Check out my command center Pinterest board for some examples. One of my favorite ideas is to use a simple dish rack as a command center, putting file folders in the slats to hold different types of papers and using the silverware holder for any other items you’ll need.

Store craft supplies vertically on a pegboard

This would work for art supplies, tools, and many other types of “clutter” you use regularly but don’t want to leave sitting around all the time. As a bonus, storing them vertically means you won’t take up valuable shelf or drawer space.

Use an IKEA bar cart as a rolling storage option

The IKEA bar cart shows up everywhere for a reason. It’s cute, handy, and easy to spray paint and customize to the look you want. One of the challenges with home organizing, especially when you have several people sharing a smaller home, is having a flexible way to store things. For example, what if you sometimes do art projects in the dining room, and sometimes in the kids’ bedroom? What if you have the whole family sharing a bathroom, and someone just needs access to their hair products in the morning? The humble bar cart to the rescue.

I love this example of an “art cart”:

And this rolling “vanity” is the perfect solution for the bathroom-sharing, running-out-of-bathroom-space problem:

Corral important daily items in one place

How many hours do we collectively spend searching for keys, wallets, and sunglasses every year? Too many! Here are some clever and simple solutions that I love:

Place a cute plate or tray somewhere near the door to store items like wallets and keys:

Build a shallow key and wallet cabinet in a kitchen nook:

Use a shallow built-in recessed between studs for keys and wallets:

Hide your laundry baskets

I love this DIY laundry basket “dresser” that allows you to hide laundry somewhat out of sight. Bonus points – it will make it easier to sort laundry and keep it sorted, since you could also label the dresser so everyone knows where their clothing should go.

Use a shower caddy to store clutter vertically

Here are two great uses of the under-valued but super handy shower caddy working wonders and making home life easier and more organized:

Hang spices in a shower caddy on the inside of a cabinet drawer or pantry:

Store cleaners vertically in shower caddy to declutter under-the-sink:

Got a few minutes? Try one of these hacks!

Most of these hacks will only take a couple of minutes to put into action, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how nicely they can solve some of your daily frustrations at home. Give one or two a try, and be sure to let me know how it goes.

©2017 Sara Eizen, All rights reserved.