Is It Time to Chill Out?

Chill OutIn every home I enter, the person has reached their breaking point. Obviously...otherwise they wouldn't have called me. Since they're at that point, things are almost always WAY worse in their head than in reality.  True, these homes most often have anywhere from some to bunches to crazytown amounts of clutter. However, sometimes the problem is really just unrealistic expectations.

All those beautiful homes shown in magazines and movies (and stores - I'm lookin at you Bed, Bath and Beyond!) are jacking with your head. They're jacking with all of our heads. They're trying to make us believe that people actually live perfectly in these perfect homes and can upkeep them without loosing their sanity or hiring a million minions.

Sunshines, it's just not true.

(Even Mad Men admits to it. Season 5, Episode 1 - Megan and Don's white carpet is ruined in a party. Megan chose it because it was beautiful; Don tells her there are usually 5 on hand for a photo shoot. Why yes, I am a Mad Men junkie, thanks for asking!)

It's all staged. These images are all perfectly crafted, and poured over, and tszuj-ed to death. There are people like me and interior designers and set dressers to make sure that everything is just so. Directors and editors also make sure that nothing unseemly is in the shot. Even real home stories are futzed with. If cameras were coming into my meticulously organized home, I'd still move, remove, edit, and adjust. 100% real life doesn't play well on camera so parts of it tuck away. Once the cameras leave, the real reality comes back.

I'm reminded of a PBS special I saw on the Farnsworth House. It's this incredible glass and steel home that is pretty much see-through. The architect wanted it to be a vision of perfection. As construction neared completion, the architect and his client started getting into fights because he's trying to dictate how she'll live her life in this model of perfection while the client wants places for real world necessities. You know, the little things like clothes, soap and a trash can. He eventually relented but was extraordinarily unhappy about it.

In our pursuit for an organized home and life we sometimes need to make sure our goals aren't *too* lofty. As the QUEEN of lofty goals I totally understand, but that doesn't always serve our best interests.

Or sanity.

For instance:

  • If you're an OCD diva while a significant other or roommate likes to lounge in slobbishness, it's time to chill out. Find a middle ground that everyone can live with.
  • If you're the child of a hoarder and have taken a full 180 of wanting NOTHING in your home, it's time to chill out. You're not your hoarding parents. And the total blankness is making everyone uncomfortable.
  • If you have three children but want your home to look like a show home with nothing out of place, it's time to chill out. Three kids? It's never going to happen until they move. And remember...locking up the little ones isn't fabulous.

Magazines are fantastic inspiration but they set expectations WAY too high. Come back to earth, baby. Have a cocktail and chill out.

Side note - In undergrad I worked in a Spiegel Outlet store. Our wall o' towels was gorgeous and actually folded. I know because I folded those suckers!!