The fall of the year is a time to refresh and simplify our homes for the season.
I would describe our home as a generous, soft, welcoming, timeless space with a stylish past and a stylish present. Every room in our condo in the sky on the 71st floor has large windows in every room facing either East or South that overlooks my beautiful Chicago and Lake Michigan. Our home, Lake Michigan, and the city wrap their arms around me and inspires me in many ways.
I love the fall of the year. It is a perfect time to refresh and simplify our homes, plan our calendars for the rest of the year, rethink our wardrobes and make family travel plans. Even if you’re considering moving during this season, I have ideas to help you as well!
I know that refreshing and simplifying can prove difficult for the woman after 50 with her collected memories ensconced in every room. Memories of all types are keepers, so what can you do to refresh your home?
It’s time to refresh
Here is what I do.
The temperature is dipping, and it is the perfect time to add all types of colored orange candles in every room during the months of October and November. I love candles for their scent and ambiance…
I change throw pillows in the den.
I purchase one new set of comfy linens, duvet, and pillow shams for our bedroom. After all, the experts say we spend a third of our lives in our bedrooms! And our bed is the focal point. Make it remarkable.
If you like throws, layer on a new cozy throw at the end of the bed. The effect adds an atmosphere that beckons you to relax. Throws come in different styles, textures, and colors.
Refresh your dishes, placemats, and napkins. How uplifting to open your cabinet to new items.
I love nature, so the power of plants is an instant pick-me-up. Plants also improve the air quality in your home and add warmth to any room. Consider large floor plants and bright bouquets of flowers or orchid plants. If you lack a green thumb, opt for faux botanicals for their effect…without the maintenance!
Don’t forget your front door, darling. Make your front door a statement. During a trip to Ireland, I noticed the row houses had different color doors, from bright red to emerald green, royal blue, and yellow. The doors are landmarks. The story goes that men who left the pub late at night would be able to find their homes! If you live in a condo or apartment, hang something on your door that will welcome ‘you’ home. We have an evil eye hanging outside our condo in the sky and a large floor statue of an ancient Chinese gentleman. We call him our guardian. Being a true American, I placed our American flag in each of his hands! I know it is clutter, but it is clutter I love!
Refresh with a new piece of decor. A lucite backgammon or chess set in your den? A new sculpture to sit on a table in your living room. New candles in the dining room, a new perfume tray in your bath, new picture frames to wrap around those you love, a new set of pots and pans, or an expresso coffee maker in the kitchen.
I hope I have excited you to get started on ways to refresh your home. I have excited myself! I am going shopping for new placemats, dishware, and holiday trimmings for my dining room table. Hopefully, I will be able to display my finds you next week.
And, now for the hard part…simplifying your home for the season. Remember this, darling, the benefits are numerous.
You will have less to clean! You will have less to organize. You will have less stress. You will have more time to do whatever you love to do as a woman after 50!
REMEMBER: SIMPLIFYING YOUR HOME DOES NOT MEAN ORGANIZING. ORGANIZING IS SHIFTING WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE. SIMPLIFYING IS TIDYING UP AND DISCARDING!
How many useless kitchen utensils do you have? How many sweaters have been untouched for a year? How many saved magazines, office products, light bulbs, old receipts, calendars, cords, shoes, and expired coupons continue to occupy space? I will go one step further; how many unmatched socks do you have? I am putting myself in the mood to simplify more and stress less because I have learned there is a beautiful world of freedom hiding behind one’s clutter.
Here are a few tips that will do wonders for your psyche. Remember, your goal is to have items that serve you, not stress you to the nines.
You do not need a professional organizer to reorganize you. Instead, you will need large-size garbage bags! What an incentive they are. Fill them up for family members and charities.
Owing less is more. The less you have, the more you see! Your surroundings will become more peaceful.
You must ask yourself this question: Are you overwhelmed by your possessions? If the answer is yes, this is the perfect time of the year to simplify.
1. Declutter your summer clothes and shoes for next year. Treat yourself after you purge by splurging on sets of acrylic hangers for blouses and pants at the Container Store. I did!
2. Discard the unnecessaries under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Treat yourself to rust-proof organizers. Consider lazy Susans!
3. Simplify your pantry. Don’t forget to check the dates on your products. Consider lazy Susan’s for spices.
4. Donate your clothes and other items.
5. The 12-12-12 challenge: Throw away 12 items. Donate 12 items. Return 12 to their proper home. That is 36 items in one day. Continue until you feel emotionally at peace.
6. To the extreme: redo your closets. It is worth the expense.
7. Fill a large trash bag daily and donate it to goodwill.
8 Discard all old towels in your linen closet.
9. Simplify a room a day.
Darling, we all live busy lives; too busy at times. Spending some time at home this fall simplifying and refreshing our homes is a lovely idea.
It is a time to tidy up and, at the same time, take advantage of obsessing over the history of each meaningful item displayed in our homes. Some of my happiest thoughts come to mind when I glance at my mementos. I call them ‘ my keepers. They were given to me by people I met by chance, from dear friends and grandchildren, housekeepers, my mom’s caregivers, my honey bees at honeygood.com, and my ultimate concierge. If someone robbed our home, I would beg them to leave me with those tokens of love and friendship.
I am so sentimental. I savor every moment of loving happenings, especially when I glance at ‘my keepers. Each of them tells a story. Late yesterday I added an unopened jar of Gherkins Sweet Pickles.
A Sentimental Story
Late yesterday, I took the elevator with America from my condo in the sky on the 71st floor to my mom’s condo on the 35th. My purpose was to find a little treasure of my mom’s to give to my cousin, Linda. Our mothers were sisters. I found what I wanted and thought I would check the frig before leaving.
I opened the refrigerator door, and there on the top shelf was a jar of unopened Sweet Gherkins pickles, one of two foods, the other being chocolate phosphates, that I recall from childhood my mom loved! I was emotionally startled because at the site of those pickles, I felt my mom was with me. That through the sweet Gherkins, she was sending me a message that she would walk beside me and guide me.
I gently picked up the unopened jar, hugged it to me, and as I looked down at the jar, I could not help noticing what was written on the unopened lid; Mt. Olive since 1926 Make a Wish. And I did… Needless to say, the Sweet Gherkins will be added to ’my keepers.’