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Interior Design Blog

Up-Locate, Downsize And Edit

November 14, 2011

We are on a first name basis with the local charity re-use store staff. We recently moved, but before we could start packing, I needed to edit.  Too many years, not enough discipline.  I acquired and my husband accumulated.  The end result was too many chairs, and too many nuts and bolts.   Funny thing is, I have found room for almost all of the chairs. I never met a chair I didn’t like (I borrowed that line from a cute greeting card that featured a fetching Bergere).  Well, that’s actually not true; I’ve just never brought home a chair I didn’t like!

We up-located (my new word).  We are quite frankly, in a better neighbourhood.

My husband I enjoyed many years of our backyard “northern retreat”, including an in-ground pool, hot-tub and waterfall.  We had a spacious dining room that accommodated our large extended family.   The front lawn was massive (as in, too much grass to cut), and the gardens were growing in scale (as in, too many weeds to pull), not to mention the twenty flower pots that required constant watering.  Our summers were lovely, filled with children splashing in the pool and backyard barbeques, but we started to long for summer vacations away, and less yard maintenance.

We took up bike riding, but needed to drive to the areas we preferred.  Walking in the neighbourhood was no longer fun; there was just too much traffic, and too few flowers.

So, after careful consideration of where we wanted to live, and finding just the right house, we moved several months ago.  To read more about how we achieved this, read my recent article, “Visualization.”

Downsizing is something that many of my contemporaries are considering, though we are at least ten years away from retiring, we may be taking up new hobbies to stay fit, travelling more, or want to spend more time with families, and for some, grandchildren.  So, smaller houses, bungalows, condos, and townhomes in pleasant surroundings are attractive alternatives to larger homes and properties.

For us, quality of life is important, as is proximity to restaurants, specialty food shops and boutiques.  Old Dundas, our new town, fits the bill with its wonderful walkable neighbourhoods, vibrant downtown, nearby hiking trails, waterfalls and conservation areas.

Editing is a valuable exercise or discipline at any stage of life.  It prevents or solves the problem of clutter, helps you organize and stay in control.  It also forces you to only keep and display what is relevant, up-to-date and attractive.  Editing goes hand in hand with downsizing.  No doubt, if you do downsize, you will plan carefully for what furniture and accessories will make the short list for a smaller floor plan.

It is no surprise that editing is often one of the topics of discussion during a design consultation.  A challenge to do yourself, it is much easier for a designer to be objective and have a better eye for taking away accessories that are dated, or won’t fit with a new look.  It helps that she won’t have an emotional attachment to your things, so will be a better judge of what should go.

But, for those of you who are motivated enough to detach yourself from too much stuff, editing will free your spirit and un-clutter your mind!

Giving away clothing that you may never wear again, or only wear once in a blue moon, frees up space so you can update your wardrobe.  Your closet is crying out to be colour grouped, making it easier to make selections and put together outfits you haven’t tried before.  The same applies to your linen closet, how many sets of sheets do you really need for each bed?   The bonus is that when you open the doors, it will look fantastic.  You will be proud!

Whether you want to up-locate, downsize, edit or do what my husband and I did and do all three, any one of these will make you feel more contemporary (a nice way to say younger), even traditionalists will benefit from having a little less stuff around them.

Feel freer, less encumbered, there will be less dusting to do…take a walk and kick some leaves!

Every televised decorating program and decorating magazine comes around to giving advice on shelf arranging at least once a year.  So, not to be left out, for my first how-to column, here’s my take on it. Continue Reading

Lucky 13

October 9, 2011

I have a new, exciting focus for my career, and a brand new website! Many of you will remember my name from owning and operating “Barrett Interiors“, a successful retail decorating store located on the Hamilton Mountain for 13 great years. Well… In 1998 I closed up shop, so I could hone in on the areas of interior design I’m most passionate about, which is consulting, planning, and execution. Continue Reading