Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 2: The Messes Are Cloning

The more I organize, the more I see how this house has gotten away from me. I called Mama tonight, and she said, "The project is trying to stop you."
And it is. I'm trying to seize control, but all I've done is to create new messes.
"But Mama," I said, "I turned a relatively clean basement into a pigsty."
"This, too, shall pass," she said. "Go fix a cup of tea. Then play."
I made green tea, hoping it would calm the terror in my heart AND make me lose weight. Simultaneously. My husband says that people who drink green tea are thinner. Ha, it's not working!
Green tea is just like my project. In addition to fat clinging to my poor body, I've got clutter that just won't budge.
The only way to deal with this project is to take baby steps, like we said yesterday. But that's not how I normally operate. I like to plunge full bore into a project and become gleefully obsessed until it's finished. I'm not good at small steps. The slow, methodical, sane approach means I'll be living in chaos for a longer period. The blitz approach puts a project on the fast track, but there's a price: attention to detail is lost and your achy breaky back needs Advil.
And the thing is, the rest of this house needs attention.
I worked hard today. Then I took a creative break and tried to restore order into one section of the cave-like room.
1. Last night, I tried prints over the sofa.
I like the warm colors but they seemed to fight with the blue plaid draperies in the sun room (which are adjacent and visible). I liked the coziness of the slipper chairs, but one chair blocked a door.

More brainstorming.

2. I tried a round mirror and paired it with bright colors (pillows stolen from a bedroom).

3. And the round mirror paired with subdued colors (striped pillows/chairs). Through the doors, you can see the sun room (below).

4. Next came a square mirror
I love these plaid pillows but they were too much! The pillows went back to the other room.Though I might try them with a different combination. Dishes (they're on the sofa) were brought out to hang on either side of the mirror, but reason took hold and I decided to wait and think.
5. Then I experimented with chairs -- neutral and Frenchy

or striped and contemporary

Which combination/s do you like?

Finally, here's a peek at shelves in the future dish room.
More broke-backness awaits, but I know this will be A Good Thing, as La Martha says.

Tomorrow, more digging out. I'm going to branch out from the sofa and try to expand the Calm Zone. Fingers crossed that I make time for creative playing--and to make sage shortbread.

Thanks for keeping me company on this madap journey.



  1. Oh Michael I feel your pain!! You are trying to decorate and clean out,Yikes, too hard to do for one person. I am with you Mama take baby steps. So far I like French/Neutral the best. I don't like the round mirror with the round table,too similar in size, Imho. You like warm colors so stick with those. You always do everything to perfection. If it isn't working it is because you have not found the perfect combiner yet,you will,I have faith. I always take OUT what is not working and then add. I have found if I keep trying to make something work and it doesn't then it has to GO. Good luck,I wish I was there to help you,Kathysue

  2. I really liked picture 2 the best...the one WITH the round mirror! Just shows different tastes. But I will say this, when I looked at it farther down, showing a broader area, I didn't like it as much! Don't make yourself crazy!

  3. Evening, Dear Gollum Michael Lee! Oh, I love seeing your messes! Now I'm liking the set with the round mirror! That's a gorgeous thing! I'm coveting that round coffee table too! Can't wait to see your dish cabinet all set up! If you need help, just ring me up. I'm sure you're not going to need all of the dishes you think you're going to put into that cabinet. I could take the excess off your hands! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  4. Oh my dear...your posts have really hit home with me. I've been trying to clean out clutter and organize for several weeks now. Just tonight, my dear husband said - "I don't think I can get anymore into the garage". I say..."Don't worry, I think everything that needs to go has gone to the garage now". ...keeping my fingers crossed.

    Today, I treated a guest room to a makeover! I went from pastels to claret. I feel good...I'm getting the time when I can sit down with a good book or movie and not feel guiltly. Every closet is clean!

    Okay - I like the round mirror and I really like the plaid pillows - they pick up the plaid and colors in the drapes in the adjoining room.

    At the risk of irritating you - I say again...please come to Raleigh for a book signing!

    Deborah in NC

  5. I'm rootin for ya Miss "G"! You can do it!

  6. I'm with you. I am trying to take baby steps and de-clutter my house. I have had so much going on the last 6 years that I have lots that needs doing around my house. I am just taking a little bit at a time, because it just gets too overwhelming. I tell myself that it will eventually get done. And I will feel so much better at that point. Right now I am trying not to get overwhelmed. Love & blessings from NC!

  7. In terms of looks, I liked the more formal chairs. But if I were to come over and hang out, I would like the fluffy chairs much better. And the rounded mirror is great!

  8. Hmmmm...I go with neutral Frenchy! Love that look.

    I too am digging out. And just in case my hubby forgets his promise to make me a dish closet, I've stacked "stuff" as high as I can in the garage so he can't forget! :) My mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in '01 & it seems like my life has been one big upheaval since then. I'm trying to regain control.

    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with! (Wish me luck!)

  9. It is great to see someone else's process and know I am not crazy! I am busy cleaning/organizing and freshening up our house right now!
    504 Main

  10. Oh Precious, I understand I have been doing the same thing all night. I am trying to get my writing desk the way I want. Good luck!

  11. Michael, I'm loving the light in that area (or you're taking a fabulous picture!). It doesn't seem meant to be "formal" area and with that beautiful light and the lines of the couch, I'm thinking warmer colors and comfy looking slipper chair versus the more formal Frenchy look.
    Either way, it will be gorgeous. And I am just like you. When we moved in I almost didn't sleep for 3 days, but on the fourth day the house looked like we had lived here forever. EVERYTHING was put away.

  12. My hubby and I are working to de-cutter our finished and unfinished areas of our basement. We re-packed all the Christmas and holiday decorations in plastic bins and stored all under our basement stairs. Now I'm sorting through all the holiday wrapping paper, bows etc. We had cans of very old paint (some from pre-owners) that we finally sorted through to discard. And I have started to gather things together for Good Will. We held on to things thinking we could use again some day but we finally decided if we haven't used it in the last ten years to let it go. And we still have books and magazines to sort through. And while doing all this sorting the basement looks worst with all the stuff out and piles everywhere. But we know that one of these days it will look better and we will know what we have and will be able to find it and use it. I'm sure whatever you do with your rooms will look wonderful. You have very good taste.

    Teacup Lane (Sandy)

  13. I love the round mirror as well. It's a beauty!

  14. I like the neutral, Frenchy chairs best. Your dish room is going to be amazing!

  15. You are so hilarious, I am going to drink lot's of Green Tea now. All that moving and arranging should surely have banished a pound or two lol.
    I like netural/frency, those plaid cushions and drapes are stunning and those dish shelves (oh be still my heart). I simply cannot wait for the end result. please be careful with your back though. Stephen did all the heavy work yesterday here at the "tiny bungalow" we changed a tiny bedroom into a tiny dining room lol. it works so much better. it's trial and error until something just clicks. most of all though have fun, hugs, Kathy.

  16. Hmmm... I really liked the roundish mirror over the sofa and definitely prefer the slipper chairs. They scream comfort, whereas the others, well, don't.

    I cannot wait to see what you do with your dishes in the built-ins!!!!

    Justine :o )

  17. So many different viewpoints; in the end you'll have to go what is pleasing to your eye. But, I'll still give you my opinion, lol.

    I prefer the circular mirror with the "Frenchy" chairs. I like the repeating geometric shapes of the mirror and the table together. I like the legs of the table with the pattern in the rug. I think I would look for pillows that would carry through on that pattern to tie the look together, being careful not to overdo it. I don't care for that vase with that lamp, I think they clash together.

    There you have it, my humble opinion.

  18. I love the "neutral & Frenchy" look. That one will always get my vote.

    The Dish Room will be fantastic - I would gladly come and help you if I could :)

  19. Hi Michael, This is so exciting hearing your makes me wish I had some big project going on, too...crazy, huh? LOL
    Well, the scenario I like best was with that gorgeous round mirror and the Frenchy chairs. The Frenchy chairs make the space feel more open...seems to block your doorway less, too.
    Can't wait to hear how Day 3 goes!

  20. I like the French/Neutral, at this point in time.:-) It will all come together beautifully, Michael.

  21. I like the French/Neutral, at this point in time.:-) It will all come together beautifully, Michael.

  22. I like the French/Neutral, at this point in time.:-) It will all come together beautifully, Michael.

  23. I like the French/Neutral, at this point in time.:-) It will all come together beautifully, Michael.

  24. I like the French/Neutral, at this point in time.:-) It will all come together beautifully, Michael.

  25. Sorry about the quint posts, idea what happened!

  26. Such an enormous task! You are much braver than most tackling this job. But we are so appreciative and will leave many comments, all complementary when you're finished...

  27. I am 1 month into my declutting/redecorating journey. I keep finding half finished project in cupboards and drawers. Some days I am not sure I have made any progress.

    I like the round mirror. Very pretty!!

  28. As long as you're giving me a vote....French chairs, round mirror and plaid pillows! Looks like a room from an upscale San Francisco apartment....perhaps a revamped "painted lady." Of course I'm partial to those pillows, I used the same fabric for my headboard. Check out my "Square Dance" post and you can take a gander for yourself. I love that plaid!

  29. I'm enjoyine the journey, you make us feel as if we're right there. Would love to come play and help. Although, I'm wondering if we would do more visiting than work. lol I love the Frenchy room...more calming to me. I'm looking forward to seeing your dish cabinet come to life. You make me "want" to shake things up around here. Knee deep in the middle of tax season prevents that for a while..:-( So, I'll enjoy your journey with you..
    hugs ~lynne~

  30. Morning Dear One~ ~
    Caos, Yes? Maybe tea and meditation is a good start.
    Personally I like the pictures and the French chair.
    Second choice the rectangle mirror and the French chair. The chair seems to lighten the weight of the other pieces.

    Interesting reading the other opinions. You know of course that no choice is wrong it's just another choice! Make one now and you can change it later. When I realized this about my decorating it liberated me. I'm a little slow.

    I adore your colors and when I decide to redo I'll be using the warm colors in my home too. Keep us posted.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  31. I am afraid I am of no help. You are like Pat @ BPM, you have some beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories to work with. I am trying to declutter around my home and I have had to just walk away from it all. Looking forward to seeing what you decide.

  32. Morning Michael,
    I love the french neutral chair and I love the plaid pillows that match with your curtains in the sun room,
    that whole scene looks lovely and if you can add some blue plates by the
    mirror or sconces it would be fabulous I think.
    When I get stuck like that, I go shopping...seriously, I look for one new accessory pc. that makes my heart sing, and that usually gives me inspiration, and it usually isn't expensive!
    Cause when I bring it home I am looking for just the perfect spot for it, and once I find that and am in love with it I just gooooooo
    from there, and before I know it
    I am tickled pink with the room.
    Works for me, maybe it will work for you!! lol
    Have fun playing, but don't get too stressed over it.
    Good your baking some bread, and taking some time. Looking at magazines or decorating books helps me at times too.
    Have a great day hon,
    Blessings, Nellie

  33. Your blog sure made me smile this morning. Who hasn't shared that feeling that happens when you clean and organize and you look around and it's a much bigger mess than when you started. Thank goodness if you keep it up soon it will be done and you look back at the room and sigh, "yes, this looks great!" Good luck today. Peggy from PA

  34. Gollum, I'm reminded of the expression "You have to break a few eggs before you create a perfect omlette!" You're on the road, girl!

    I'll weigh in on your room and say that I like the French chairs with the sofa. I like the round mirror because it repeats other geometic shapes in the room. I like the first plaid pillows combined with the floral ones and the tapestry throw.

    If you decide you want to do dishes over the sofa, I'd do a vertical mirror with them. And I can't wait to see what you do with your dish room!

    I'm about to be computerless, but I'm glad I checked in to see your room. It's going to be great! I feel it!


    Sheila :-)

  35. My favorite behind the sofa look is the rectangular mirror ..........

  36. I'm voting for the rectangular mirror, and I have no idea why -- just like the look of it; maybe it's because it looks good with the lampshade near it? It just has presence.

    With it, I like the curvy chairs. Classic.

    I am trying to organize and gain control of my house, too.... and am going thru Advil at an alarming rate. Good luck!

  37. Oh Gollum! I'm confused, so forgive me, but I have questions! LOL! Ok, so this is in your basement? Is this the same room at the bottom of the stairs you were searching for paint colors for a long time ago? Or is this the room that was on RMS? The other room had a sectional I thought ... but then the furniture looks similar, right? I'm gonna have to go back and look now. Ok - I love the mirror. The pictures are nice - but I think the round mirror is so beautiful! And those curtains in the adjoining room are fabulous! Where did you get those? I think the round mirror with the lighter plaid pillows that coordinate with the curtains from the other room. I love it when rooms that open on to each other have something of the same fabric in each. :) Ok - so, off to find the room I'm thinking of.

  38. I hate that you are having a dilemma, but am glad to find out that I'm not alone in my mess. I'm leaning towards #5...loving the overall look and it blends well into the next room. It will be beautiful...just hang on and enjoy the ride.

  39. Artie, the paint swatches were my final posts at RMS. I am still trying to decide (but I'm afraid to paint too much for fear of setting off another asthma attack).

    The draperies are from Country Curtains--they come in many lengths and 3 colors. They're lined and heavy. Very polished. I like them much better than the draperies from Horchow (skimpy lining).

    I'm coming over to see you today to catch up on your bathroom remodeling.

  40. I am late getting here cause I, too, have been up to my armpits in decluttering, rearranging, and organizing for a week now! My sweet DH redid our pantry and I now have TWICE as much shelf space for TABLESCAPING!!! Yesterday he installed a higher row of shelving in a guest room closet for all my Christmas dishes etc. so that is all together in one spot....HALLELUIAH!!!! I also went through 3 closets and have all the clothes packed in bags for a clothes closet at a church to go tomorrow!!!! WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!
    My vote is for the ROUND MIRROR (oh I so love it) and the Frenchy chairs. I would even change the round table if had to, to keep the round mirror:):) I love it that much! Can't wait to see what you come up with, I KNOW it will be fabulous! Have fun!!!!! XO, Pinky

  41. I truly enjoyed reading this post! I am glad I am not the only one who feels like drowning in my own clutter. Mr B is just the opposite, never has clutter anywhere! So I need to hurry and get something done before he returns.;]
    I liked the neutral, Frenchy chairs with the gorgeous round mirror. It is a beauty!
    And adding some dashes of blue to marry the colors in the other room.:)

    Bless your heart and good luck!~♥

  42. I have a HUGE a result of trying to declutter and organize. I don't understand how this happens and if you figure it out, please let me know! I am so frustrated and my back is killing me. I tried the green tea thing too...nope, doesn't work. :-(

    I love the round mirror best! That pic looks very calm and elegant.


  43. We are in the middle of a bathroom re-do, so your post is like a balm for my sore wounds and spirit. You know, Misery DOES love company! Seriously, it is great to know that perhaps I'm normal and that this, too, shall pass. After all, as my dear friend Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day!"....

    Angelic Accents

  44. Well Gollum, you seem to have a lot of help with your choices. Wish I had thought to do that before I moved things around and around, and around again, for our makeover. Maybe I wouldn't feel like I've been hit by an eighteen wheeler right now.

    Just yesterday, we moved the DR server into the kitchen, a FR chest into the DR, then brought the bookcase from the Kitchen and a matching one from the Office and positioned them on either side of the FR window. Needless to say, everything had to be removed from the pieces, cleaned and put into their new place. Two shelves have to be made to go above the server that was moved to the kitchen.

    Were you able to follow me???

    I'll have to post some pictures of the LR, which we worked on for the past few weeks. There are still a few things that have to be finished, but I think you'll get the idea.

    I like what you show in picture #3 the best, the chairs seem more comfortable than the French ones that you show. I love the round mirror but I would use the lamp that is reflected in the square mirror with it.

    Best of luck with this project, it looks like there are a lot of us doing the same thing.


  45. I have that problem too- once I start, I don't want to stop until I get it like I want it. Of course, that can turn into severe sleep deprivation. I'm very impressed that you can make yourself stop and think. Maybe that's the problem at my house, I don't stop and think often enough. I just barge in and do. I really like the look of the mirror over the sofa, but whatever you decide will turn out beautifully. And oh! you are going to LOVE having those shelves for your dishes. What a fun place you'll have to play! I can't wait to see all of it put together. laurie

  46. Would love to be a fly on your wall and learn from you. The round mirror is great ! Has personality. It is fun to see all your choices and I do love silk pillows.

    Your mother sounds so nice. Would enjoy seeing her picture.

    If it helps, all I accomplished yesterday was cleaning out two drawers and picking up our closet floors so the carpet could be cleaned.

  47. I will try and post my mess tomorrow. I like you have messes in every room; hence not much blogging lately with a full time job, weddings and home remodels!
    My messes look huge compare to yours. But I like the side chairs that you have placed in this room.

  48. The things you have tried all look very nice in your room. It is so much fun to shop your house, isn't it?

  49. Michael what energy you have. I like the round mirror but wud be tempted to change-out the round table to something rectangular using either pair of chairs.

    I noticed your comment to Artie. If you wish to learn more about choosing paint colors visit the blog: COLOR ME HAPPY (Maria Killam who is a Color Expert). It is extremely informative.

    Happy decluttering, reorganizing and decorating.