Over the last year, I discovered all sorts of insights, from the life-changing magic of folding to the joy of giving things away. I shared six of those discoveries last week. Now here’s the rest.
My newest book, “What to Do With Everything You Own to Leave the Legacy You Want,” (The Experiment Publishing) landed on store shelves last July. We’ve all thought about downsizing, whether it’s clearing out a grandparent’s home or thinning out your own. But a publisher suggested I write the ultimate downsizing guide, a book that goes beyond people’s portfolios to their possessions and legacies. I learned a lot along the way.
Lesson: It’s not just what you leave, but how you leave it that matters. Whether you’re young, old, single, married, blended or upended, every adult should have a plan. It can make the difference between leaving a meaningful legacy and leaving a mess.
In August, I took on the life-changing topic of … folding. You laugh, but folding is up there with godliness, cleanliness and making your bed. Done consistently, folding brings serenity and calm to spaces that in most households look like rats’ nests.
Lesson: Folded items take up less space, get less wrinkled, are easier to find, easier to pull out and look better. To catapult your folding to pro status, practice the art of threes. Fold everything you can into thirds lengthwise, so side edges fold inward to create three equal layers. Then fold the other direction to fit your space. Store items with the thickest folded edge facing out or up.
In September, I attended the reveal of Behr Paints’ 2022 Color of the Year (COTY) — a silvery green shade called Breezeway (MQ3-21) — by participating in a virtual salad-making class with celebrity chef Curtis Stone. Palette, palate, get it?
Lesson: In a rare stroke of unanimity, almost every major paint brand also chose a soft mid-tone green for its COTY 2022: PPG named Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4), Farrow & Ball tagged Breakfast Room Green (No.81) and Sherwin-Williams named Evergreen Fog (SW 9130. In other words, 2022 will be the year of the mixed-green salad.
In October, seven sorority sisters flew in from five states and swarmed the Happier Yellow House. Their impending arrival prompted fast action. Suddenly, all the home projects we’d let slide due to pandemic procrastination (no one’s coming over anyway) came to the fore.
Lesson(s): 1. All the times I told you to stop worrying about what your house looks like and just have people over was hogwash. 2. The difference between getting your house ready for, say, a dinner party and prepping it for a group of overnight guests is like the difference between getting your car washed and getting it detailed. 3. I set out to make sure everyone had a terrific time, including me. I assigned tasks, accepted help and made time to recharge, which made hosting the horde a lot less work.
In November, a story featuring the top 10 NFL-inspired basement fan caves captured the intersection of America’s pigskin obsession and home décor. These game rooms are theme rooms on muscle boosters. Broncos fan Devin Hayes, of Westminster, Colo., decked out his with Broncos navy blue and orange walls, Broncos chairs, a 55-inch flat-screen, a bar, a smart TV and team swag displays — and plans to expand.
Lesson: The lengths to which someone with a passion will go to express himself through home design knows no bounds.
In December, I said goodbye to my old leather office chair. For 25 years, I relied on her support. Together, we wrote seven books, hundreds of articles and more than a thousand of these weekly columns. But when I found another chair that fit better, I updated my office with a sleek white leather and chrome chair and made the hard choice to find the old chair a new home.
Lesson: As hardnosed as I am about telling you to declutter, I, too, get irrationally attached. Handing beloved items off to a deserving home takes the sting away. In this case, the chair went to a young mother and writer who hopes to be published someday.