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!

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