Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Beotch is Back

It has been a year since I posted.
It has been three years since I shelved my business to take care of my family. I simply couldn't juggle giving birth to this business and balance the needs of the people I brought in to the world.
It was a tough decision.
I really, really wanted to design, organize and stage for people. It just makes sense to me. I don't get tired of it.
There were, however, stumbling blocks to success. With the chaos in my life, my usual spunky resourcefulness dried up. I recall being told how relentless working for yourself can be. I had to see it to believe it.
So, here I am older ( not gonna say wiser) but feeling "spunky" again.
I have decided to pick the one thing I love to do and win at it GOOD.
First, my mom said that what would probably be a selling point is, well, me.
I am pretty hilarious. Working with me on your worries, issues and trouble spots in your home will be pretty fun, be warned though I cuss a little.
So what on earth do I do anyway?

Three things:

Interior Re-design ( AKA " One Day Decorating")

I work with YOUR stuff and make it work in a new way that will surprise and calm you. I do not walk around and say "Dahhhling! It's all got to go!!" Nope, I take what you love, be it an oil painting of dogs playing poker or needlepoint pillows of NASCAR champions and "make it work".


"Let it Go! Let it GO!" This time, with feeling!
I don't have young children so that song doesn't annoy me. 

Purge - yes, you can. No, you won't miss it. Well, if it means that much to you, I will figure out how you can keep it. I promise.

Plan - what do you need from your space? What is it's purpose?

Perform - make the space, the the stuff and the souls in the house work in harmony.


I use the above skills to give you a road map not just to prepare your sell, but to make you  more money. I give you a guide map or do it for myself, you get to pick!

Wow, I did it! I have picked my lane and I am sticking it it!

The husband once said that a philosophy professor he had at UT asked if any one had a questions, my beloved, Smarty McTalky Pants popped off with, "What's the meaning of Life?"

The answer from the gentleman, " Do what you love and the money will follow."

Let's find out.




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Practicing what I preach

Here is another link to a cute bunch of organizing ideas.


You might wonder, "does she REALLY do all of that at her own house?" Well, yes. It does depend on the situation. I do not force it upon a cranky teenager, just as I wouldn't walk into someone's house or office and start to "fix" their mess without being asked. I organize what drives me crazy in my life and let the "lessor evils" go. I can only help someone if they want me to and are ready. But please know, most of what I do is observe and listen. I try to get into the person's head and see the patterns that would be the simplest and most comfortable for the person to keep in place when I walk out the door.

I am a visual learner. If I can't see it, I forget I have it. That means I need to see clearly all that I have at a glance. This explains my hook obsession. I use the walls in my house to hang everything where I can see it.

Want to know what your learning style?

I found a quiz that can help.


Your surroundings are a reflection of your insides. If you look around right now and think, " Holy crap my insides must look like the Apocalypse!" Well, it is not true. You just need some encouragement to find out about yourself. You need a chance to fall in love with yourself as you are right now. When you are ready, we will both know. It will just click.

Message me, I would love to help out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Spring Meltdown

After Spring Break the schools are filled with students who are, to be blunt, OVER IT. 

The average student has some serious spring fever. But what about those dealing with special needs and developmental issues?  The pressure of testing and the change in daylight savings time can lead to an academic disaster. What is a parent to do? With eleven weeks left in school, many of us are out of steam. Can you imagine how the kids feel? Well, let me help you with that. I can sit down with your family and help you develop some fun, low stress systems to help you get through end of school. Organization isn't about stuff, it's about you. What does your family need to get out the door in the morning? More than that, what do you all need to get food on the table AND get home work done AND get chores done so that laundry, cleaning and errands don't pull you under. 

Every year at this time, our house, with all the unique, special needs kids, resolute personalities and stresses, had to refresh and get VERY creative. I have had many wonderful people in my corner to be resources and comfort in this effort. Years of research and survival can now benefit you. Message me to get a free consultation if your home. The front lines of your struggle will help reveal what you need to not only survive, but thrive and find the blessings in the uniqueness of your family. The conversation is free, the implementation will be priceless. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Organization Day!

I know they have a day for everything, and today, is National Organization Day! Along with helping people decorate their offices and homes, I offer organizational consultations and services. But! Organizing your stuff is only part of it. Organizing the habits and time of a family or office is just as important. This blog post is for the teachers out there. Especially one in particular. Lindsay Lester, at my youngest's middle school needs breakfast for goodness sake! Teachers have for decades trusted dinner to slow cookers and been better for it. I have lots of great posts for that in the future, but not today, folks. Let's talk the most important meal of the day. I give you, Egg in a Cup.
I have seen many incarnations of this, but mine throws in an extra punch of protein.
Egg in a cup
2 eggs
2 Tbs fat free half and half
dash salt
dash pepper
two strips of turkey bacon
the amount of cheese you feel like

First, grab your coffee cup of choice. Sometimes I rinse out the one that has been holding my caffeine earlier. Spray generously with cooking spray. Crack the two eggs in and add the half and half. You can use milk if you like, the half and half happens to be sitting out from my previous caffeine binge. Whisk and put in the microwave for 60 seconds. Take out, add the salt and pepper, and microwave another 60 seconds. At that point I take it out and do another "Time Trick". I get kitchen sheers (clean regular scissors will work) and cut up little pieces of turkey bacon right into the cup.  I do that with some things while cooking for a short cut. You don't have to clean a cutting board that way. (But do wash the scissors afterwards, because gross). Stir, Microwave another 60 seconds. Now, here is the convenient part. It takes a bit for this to cool off, so grab your cup and a spoon and jump in the car and start your day. Even a cup with a lid would be helpful. Mrs. Lindsay could even nosh on this WHILE doing her crossing guard duty. As I said, this creates less mess to clean up, even until the end. Fill the coffee cup with water and microwave for 2 minutes. The egg funk will some off very easily. I recommend filling with water regardless as dried egg is a beast to scrub off.
Do you have your own space or time problem? Contact me I will see what I can come up with. And please, like my business page, Amy Madison Design. I promise to keep the tips coming!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Never say "no", laundry solutions, and carrots

Happy Winter Morning!

I got my first question. So happy.

"My house has no utility room, just a walk thru hallway to the garage, with washer and dryer hook ups and one small shelf. Clothes are piled up all over. We step all over clean and dirty clothes to go to the cars. How do you handle that?"

My Aunt Ronda has THE BEST utility room back in the 70's. tons of storage, and big enough for a sewing and craft table. If I could wave a magic wand and put that room in my builder grade house, *poof*, how happy I would be. The utility room seems to have disappeared in floor plans of most new, affordable homes. This baffles me, as a builder friend once told me of a study done. He said that most women, if they enter their home through a room that is a work space for them, experience a greater degree of stress than if it is simply an entry way. I imagine that most of  these designs are done by men who don't get that, nor do the washing at home. Bless their hearts. ( That is Texan for "you idiot")
I can relate, walking past piles of clean and dirty clothes every time I come and go - stinks. Those socks and underthings taunt me with their "undoneness". Piles of clean clothes that belong to my kiddos were everywhere. The relentlessness of laundry in a house can wear you out. It sometimes feels like the socks start multiplying like Tribbles on Star Trek, except they never match each other! Still working on Christmas Tree ornaments made with orphan socks. Keep checking my Pinterest for that one. Also, immediately call  the authorities and have me committed when you see it.
As I examined my "laundry hallway", it doesn't get the dignity of being called a room, I began to see hidden potential. There was space up there. By "up" I mean that I went vertical. Most of our homes have 7 foot ceilings, yet without the floor to ceiling cabinetry that adorns the mid-century ranch counterparts many of us grew up in. Installing built-ins is not yet in my skill set, but I am working on it.  3 M to the rescue! I put those removable hooks that do not damage the wall as high as I could reach all around the space. It clearly states how much weight the hooks can bear on the package. So, using a level, I put two hooks side by side, that could hold a plastic laundry basket empty or  full of clothes. I purchased a different color basket for each of my Sweet and Precious Blessings (heretofore known as SPB's). That gave me a spot, off the floor to sort folded clothes. For an impromptu dry rack, I put smaller hooks directly over the washer, to hang unmentionables and even shoes.
When finished ( for a while) I put the children's baskets at the bottom of the stairs. They typically jump right over them and ignore them completely. Selective sight in a teenager is remarkable, especially when passing a full trash can, bleh. So I lay ( or is it lie?) in wait. When one of the SPB's asks, "Can I have a snack?", I apply the "When.........Then" principle. Back when I was a special education aid, I learned a great technique, never say no, just apply a needed condition. So my reply is "Sure! When you put your laundry away, then I will serve you hot, fresh, chocolate chip cookies". It is crucial to find out what they love more than anything and, not take it from them, but offer it at a strategic time. It's a win- win, really. Investing time in the things they love and having them around as a delayed gratification award sets a great example AND connects you to their hearts desire. Yes, with a teenage boy that can truly be a hot, fresh, chocolate chip cookie.
I have used carrots throughout the years with the SPB's. The carrots change, but investing time in knowing what they are has never been a waste. I use transitions to get small tasks done as well. The call to dinner will often have "Then....When"'s as well. "Nachos will be served when the shoes are picked up." It helps squelch the yelling if the see that a clean slate is rewarded. "A spoonful of sugar helps the nacho cheese go down?" Or something like that. Positive persistence works so well in our home.
Wow, I guess, as with most things, organizations isn't so much the clutter, but the people behind the clutter and those relationships .
Huh, maybe I this "Clutter Counselor" title is more leaning towards the "Counselor".  Should I try "Teenager Whisperer?" I don't know. Anyway, these good habits bring peace, joy, and beauty into our house. Let me know what works for you. Have any of you figured out what carrot to dangle in front of your husband? Dear Lord, that suddenly sound WAY inappropriate. Ha! Maybe inappropriate  carrots are the only solution with the men folk.

That, darlings, is another blog entry entirely.

Peace, Beauty, and Joy,

Amy Madison Designs
"Clutter Counselor"
"Teenage Whisperer"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Redesign, according to my Aunt Margie


I hope my blog finds you well.  No, that's not true.  I hope my blog finds you a hot mess.  I don't wish you any ill will. I mean quite the opposite.  I simply mean I want YOUR problems in YOUR house.  Let me explain.

I have a "fixing addiction."  Be it to organize a pantry, clean and decorate a guest room, or put your house on the market, I hope that you have found me searching for answers.  While I would love to come visit you in person, (especially if you live in Texas), I can always settle for spewing out the knowledge I have gained over the last 20 years by email, Facebook, Twitter or, of course, this blog.  If you don't have any of those needs, you can at least enjoy stories about my mother.

I decided about a year ago to employ what I have used to survive since having a family at a very young age. Most of my adult life was spent feeling "less than."  I couldn't afford the best in my home, or even the mediocre, and it depressed me.  When you are home with two babies you stare at your mismatched furniture a great deal.  Well, that and trying to decide who is the hottest Wiggle.  I was more than envious of my friends that seemed to have it all.  I was embarrassed about my humble surroundings.  Rarely did I have guests over when I was a young mommy.  Shame and helplessness filled me.

It was then that I remembered my Aunt Margie's technique.  Many often discuss making lemonade out of the lemons that life hands us.  In the Panhandle of Texas, where I grew up, folks tend to not tiptoe around a subject.  They say "shining a turd" means to make the best of a hopeless mess.  The truth is, there is rarely a perceived mess that can't be fixed.  You can just wear yourself out living with it and need a fresh perspective.  Pride, peace, and beauty can be obtained in your surroundings regardless of your budget or your capability.

My Aunt Margie is a strong willed woman, as many in West Texas are.  When her fortunes in life turned against her, did she allow dollar sign limitations to hamper the fabulousness?  NO.  She would take a picture of what she wanted, be it a blouse, a couch, a table setting, etc...and work to match it as closely as she could with what she could afford.  This meant sewing things herself, painting and thrift shopping.  It was amazing.  She would not let go of dream of having what she wanted.  She would simply "tweak" whatever she could to make it beautiful.  At times she went a bit overboard. What with the whole sewing alligators on JCPenny "Izods"  in the 80's.  But good Lord, that woman could squeeze the beauty out of anything.  She would point out popular trends and show me how to achieve them with what I had.

At this point you might be thinking, "Neat, but I don't have an Aunt Margie."

Oh, but you do.

As I worked to develop the skills I observed as a child from all of my crafty relatives, I found what I really loved.  To take a diamond in the rough and make it not just beautiful, but mine.  Using the craziest, recycled (but free!) containers to organize a closet was a revelation.  I tapped artist friends on ideas about how to cheaply cover the scratched counter tops in my rent house.  My brother, who worked as a professional painter taught me how to do wonders with the "Oops" discounted paint at hardware stores.  This is how we rolled before Pinterest, kids.  Getting the most out of an object with little-to-no budget became a passion AND a blessing.  There are hidden treasures and uses for the things all around you.

You have a place in your surroundings that needs...something.  You may not even have a clue what.  You do, however, know what bothers you about it.  So talk to me peoples.  Think of me as your "Clutter Counselor."  This applies even if the clutter is in your mind.  Just talking it through with someone can help.  Listening to your problems and questions about your home is one of the greatest pleasures in life for me.  How jazzed I am to begin this chapter in life.  I get to be a part of my clients families in a very sacred way.

I challenge you: Give me a question, and I will do my best to answer it.  If I don't have the experience to safely guide you to the solution, I know somebody who does.  Honey, I know everybody.

Send me your pictures of that closet, couch, or room. No judgement, just help.  I have spent YEARS studying the solutions for design, cleaning, organization, and staging.

I look forward to the problems!

Thanks for stopping by,

Amy Nichols Madison
The Clutter Counselor - Good Lord, I really like that!