How many conversations do you remember having with people from ELEVEN years ago? For me, there’s only one that I can remember fairly clearly, all the others seems to be a bit more hazy. Maybe this one conversation stands out because it was a heartfelt dream I had…that I never actually made plans to act on. It was more of a, “wouldn’t it be nice”, type of dream. The conversation had seemed so casual. I was seriously crushing on an army guy that I had just met and we were at the beach with friends. I had to go to the car to grab something, who knows what, but my army guy offered to walk with me.
Between him being an army guy and my experience studying at SCAD with students from all over the world, we went on about how cool it would be to live in another country, just to experience a different way of life for a while. It’s crazy to even think about because we were so young and essentially daydreaming. But fast forward eleven years from that conversation and we’re now married with 2 kids and in the process of moving to BELGIUM!!
Like, I can’t even. It’s seriously one of those things where I’m super excited and can’t wait for everything we’re going to get to experience, but it still doesn’t feel real. Even though we’ve been downsizing our home and getting it ready to show renters for months! It’s been bittersweet in a way, thinking about leaving our home; I fell in love with it the moment we found it. I was pregnant with our son and I could just imagine him running through the house playing. Now that he’s 4 and we have a daughter that’s 2, it’s been just as I had pictured.
What I’ve come to realize over the last several weeks though, is how much more I love our home with it getting into it’s “staged” look. Therefore, I’ve decided I’ll be “staging” our new home in Belgium as soon as we get there and I think you should seriously considering doing the same in your current home! And here’s why:
I approached decorating from a different perspective and I ended up liking my home more than I ever have.
This one truly shocked me. I love decorating, and I feel like I do a pretty good job. However, once it came to staging I started looking at our home and thinking, what will make this home feel the most spacious? That meant I rearranged furniture in some of the rooms and moved some pieces out of a room altogether and used it in another room. It seems so basic and yet it’s like I had been getting in my own way. Thinking things like, well I’ll make that area look good once I can afford to get to it.
My home FINALLY LOOKS FINISHED without spending a ton of money
Now don’t get me wrong, “finished” is a relative term, but there’s this feeling of being finished even if there’s areas that I would make upgrades on eventually. One tactic I used is what I like to call the distraction method to pull attention away from some of the more basic finishes (mainly the master bath here). I purchased a really pretty shower curtain, a rug runner, and then a few new accessories for our toothbrushes, soap, etc. It really didn’t cost all that much and really made the space feel so much nicer. I was kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner! I also did a simple project where I painted a bunch of bankers boxes in an abstract style to go on the shelves in our dining room (aka my studio) and WOW. Pretty cheap for how much hidden storage I got out of the deal and it made the space feel so clean and tidy and just…I just love the space now. I did these types of things throughout the entire house, and that combined with rearranging some of the furniture made such an impact!
The magic of tidying up, aka downsizing, really does spark joy and feels life-changing!
So I “spring clean” fairly regularly and donate things we no longer need, but the KonMari method of downsizing is so different. Now I didn’t actually read her book, I just watched some of the episodes on her Netflix show, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, but it has changed my life forever! Seriously, I was AMAZED at how much stuff we have gotten rid of. Our home in Belgium is probably going to be about half the size of what it is now, and probably won’t have closets! What the?! Anywho, I started going through this process back in December and I still haven’t finished quite yet! I’m ALMOST done, but it’s a slow process with two kids under my feet AND trying to finish up all the little house projects I’ve had to do. When I walk through our house now there is such a lightness about it that’s hard to explain. All I know is that I want to keep that feeling in our home forever, no matter where we’re living.
I had a deadline outside my control, so getting to it “later” wasn’t an option.
Man, talk about showing your flaws through this process. It became VERY apparent at just how often I would put stuff in the closet, or in a pile, or not QUITE get done with a home project with the intention of getting to it later. It’s always when I’m at the end of the day, trying to get the kids to bed and I’m just feeling tired. But now, because I have a firm deadline, I can’t really get to it later. I mean, I could wait until the morning but then that cuts into the other projects I’m trying to wrap up and the other 9 million details I have to get in order for this move. Ok, 9 million is exaggerating, but you get my drift. The most eye opening part of it, is that most of those “I’ll get to it later” moments usually only take..maybe 5 mins? Ridiculous.
I got into better cleaning habits since I had to be ready to show the house at the drop of a hat
It’s honestly been so eye opening. I didn’t think I had terrible habits, but yea, they weren’t great – and filled with excuses. What’s happened through all this though, is that because I’ve done all the downsizing and the deep cleaning, I don’t want to lose all my progress right before we start showing it to renters (which is 10 days from now due to a dilemma with our passports). Now, if I look around and see things getting messy, I jump up and clean. I’ve been making the beds in the morning, and making sure the bathrooms are tidied after bath times and brushing teeth. I no longer walk past something sitting out where it shouldn’t be and leave it. I pick it up and return it to where it belongs. Sounds simple enough but it’s actually amazing how often I would see something out and think, I don’t want to walk that downstairs right now – even if it only took a minute or two. Sounds super lazy now as I’m writing this out, but according to my Fitbit I average 23 flights of stairs a day! Probably due to the fact that I’ll run upstairs to get 2 things and then come back down with only one of them and have to turn around to go back up again to get the forgotten item!
I wish I could truly express how much better our home feels now. I know that each of these things all play their role. It wouldn’t be the same affect if I had only done one of them.
I’m going to miss this house, especially with how it’s looking and feeling these days, but a house is just a house.
I’ve moved enough to know that…
any house will become a home
…if you just put a little love into putting it together.
Now it’s your turn! Are you ready to tidy up Marie Kondo style or maybe do a quick refresh with rearranging furniture to make your home feel more spacious? If this post inspired you to get busy on your home, let me know! I’d love to hear about it, and I’m always up for tossing around decorating ideas. Just saying.
With so much love,