I like to make things look pretty. To a fault. I merchandise everything. Partly because it has been my career for the past 20 years as a retail visual stylist. They say, (I mean really, who are
“they”??) that what you do while you are procrastinating is what your true passion is. So be it. I organize and make things pretty. The thing that gets in the way of that is the “offspring” or as I like to refer to them as the creators of the gorgeous chaos… they have a lot of stuff. Always have. Started out with all the primary colored plastic highchairs and playmats then we graduated to the legos, and doll babies. All still plastic and primary colored.
So, how do I feed my organized and pretty quota? I tend to merchandise; my house, my schedules, my life. it’s what I do to stay sane and yet still look a little scattered.
Tonight for example I was taking in the chalkboard/ family command center/ catch-all. Man I wish this could look more like a gorgeous whitewashed wood functioning media station in the Pottery Barn catalog but alas, I’ve learned to let that vision go after Ellie was born (aka #2 aka Elliemonster) So the trick is to learn how to live with (some) of the mess and find some things that I like to look at and laugh at through the chaos. And keep those things, Forever.
There are 2 staples that are always on my kitchen chalkboard. #1 the quote that I found in a country living magazine in the 90’s. It kind of defines my need to merchandise and gives me encouragement to press on with my daily activities.
My mom still has an old valentine on her fridge from being a room mom in 1982 that says “I Heart Mrs. T” She has moved it from refrigerator to refrigerator, and it has traveled through 2 homes. It has never left the kitchen. It means something to my brother and I and obviously to her. I couldn’t imagine her kitchen without it.
Then, there is the counter space below. I like this to be the place for in and out going mail, the chalk, some pens etc. for Ry to do homework, a family pic and a charging area for the ridiculous amounts of devices that a family of four (both kids UNDER 10) have. The point is to have a space for this stuff. My husband and I are like ships passing on the weekdays. This area represents ALL the plans, ALL the crap that accumulated over the course of 7 days or so. Again, I aim for catalog material but real life is messy and none of the papers match and kids like to hoard things. So it helps to have some pretty vessels to hold them; and some fresh flowers but we’ll go into that on a later date.
what it really looks like, down to the soccer patches that will never get sewn onto the uniform unless Nana agrees to do it 🙂 Oh and Yes that’s Yoda, Obi Wan Canobi and a flashlight in the chalk bowl…
So I learn to let go and know that about 3 times a year it will be beautifully clutter free like the first pic. Unfortunately I’m more of a Rhoda than a Martha when it comes to visual merchandising soooo I have to pick my battles or else I will become overwhelmed.
About 4 years ago I added another staple. The illustration of my Nana’s Kitchen that my cousin Janine drew for all the cousins when she passed away. I don’t know how she did it but she recreated it down to the magnets on her refrigerator, the ceramic fruit basket on the shelf and the milk glass vase on the window sill by the sink. Everything I remember being in her kitchen is depicted in this illustration. Those small “things” lived there from the time I was a little girl until the time she passed in 2010 at 96 years old. They defined her space and the personality of her kitchen. I always found comfort sitting in that old green leather recliner while looking at the fridge magnets and watching my nana cook.
I hope someday my kids will remember our kitchen the same way and smile at the small plastic Yoda that lived in the chalk bowl.