Coffee Break #45
Happy August, friends! Lucky for you, I’m getting us back on schedule with a sooner-than-expected Coffee Break (you’re welcome!) This month, I’m chatting about an unexpected summer surprise, what design choice I wish I made at the beginning of our military journey, and my new favorite way to get projects done around here! So grab a treat, and take a break with me!
How This Summer Went (Much) Better Than Expected
Back before school got out, I was chatting with a neighbor and she mentioned how excited she was for summer to start. To have a slower schedule and more time with her kids at home. And I remember thinking how I could not relate…at all.
In all honesty, summer always fills me with a bit of dread, knowing that I have days upon (hot) days to not only entertain my children but also keep my business afloat (and ideally, moving forward).
Yes, my job affords me quite a bit of flexibility; but I often exist in a constant tug-of-war. My persistent desire to work on one side, and wanting to give my kids a “summer to remember” on the other. Inevitably, if I give in to too much of one side or the other, my whole life feels out of whack.
So…like a lot of Moms…I sat down back in the Spring and registered my two older children for every and any camp I could find (our youngest is in daycare). Our area is void of summer-long programs, and I was especially frustrated to find only half-day camps. But I figured something was better than nothing, and I booked their summer as solid as I could.
And my biggest surprise of all?
Those half-day camps that I was so loathe to find actually gave us the perfect blend of structure and freedom. Most mornings since school let out, I’ve been able to get in a few solid hours of uninterrupted work time. Then once my kids come home mid-day (tired and sun-spent), they are typically ready for some downtime/screentime, during which I can squeeze in a few more things. By the time they emerge ready to play again, I’ve gotten (almost) a full day of work and I am ready to play too!
It’s definitely taken a village, and I certainly have had to adjust to a lower level of productivity. But our summer routine has shown me that there are indeed ways to have my work and playtime too!
(Our middle boy is there too, just sitting on Greg’s lap!)
What I Wish I Bought From the Beginning
A reader/fellow military spouse asked me:
Q: If you were starting all over again, what furniture/decor/organization decisions would you make, in order to more efficiently settle into each house?
A: Oh boy. I could probably write a 5-part series on all the decor “lessons” I’ve learned moving from house to house. But to whittle this down to a simple answer here, it would be this: invest in white.
That’s probably not a shocker to many of you long-time readers. But here’s what I mean.
Without a doubt, one of the most profound ways to change the way a room looks is via the walls…either via paint or wallpaper. Every single item in a room can stay exactly the same; but if you change the walls, you’ll end up with an entirely different space. Just as a quick example, here is pretty much the same bed+bedding in our last four bedrooms.
In order to adapt the same items from home to home, I’ve learned it’s much easier (and less expensive) to change the walls instead of everything else. And if the items in the rooms are neutral (or in my case, white), your options are endless for creating new and fresh spaces any time you want or need to.
Specifically, I am talking about curtains, bins/baskets, bedding, shower curtains, towels, trash cans, soap dispensers, and even furniture (when appropriate). By keeping all these things white, I am free to swap out wall colors, rug/floor colors, and smaller accessories to create an entirely different space that better suits the home, the room, or my current style preferences.
Additionally, white is one of the easiest colors to “add to” when you can’t find more of an original.
- If you need more curtains for a particular home, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find more of that random floral set you bought at Target 5 years ago. But you can easily find more white curtains that will blend in with the ones you already own.
- If your new pantry needs more of those turquoise bins you scored at the Bed Bath and Beyond clearance event, you’ll be out of luck. But if your existing bins are white, adding new white ones will look stylish and coordinated versus mis-matched and accidental.
Finally, when everything is white, it all goes together. Which means it can move from room to room, as needed. There’s never a concern that certain bedding, window treatments, accessories, furniture, or other items can’t be put together because they don’t match. Everything can be mixed-and-matched throughout the entire house, at any time, to meet new needs.
In summary: in my earlier years, I wish I had skipped the fun and trendy colors and patterns on many household staples (i.e., bedding, curtains, baskets, towels) and just invested in white instead.
I know it may not look like it from where you sit, but I…just like everyone else…struggle with procrastination, excuses, fatigue, and going in circles when it comes to home decor and organization projects. (Remember, you only see the things I choose to show you, which are the projects I FEEL like doing!) But in recent weeks, I’ve done something new-to-me that has been a huge rut buster on a few projects that have been really hanging over my head: I asked for help.
The projects and spaces you see here on the blog are primarily tackled by me, myself, and I. Yes, there are definitely times when Greg gives an assist; but more often than not, I am a one woman show. And so if I want a project done, I’ve got to wait for my own motivation to kick into gear.
But there have been two spaces recently (our Master Bedroom and our Garage) that would not be “done-ish” right now had I not had a partner to help me through it. Or more importantly…to get me started.
A few months ago, my girlfriend jokingly…or so I thought…offered to help me paint. I’m pretty sure this was after my millionth time bemoaning my yellowy-beige walls. So recently…also jokingly…I asked if she wanted to help me paint my bedroom (a space that I was actually considering not even decorating because of the Why Bother Monster). When she said yes…and even pushed me to pick a day to do it…suddenly I was gung ho and ready to tackle this project. I didn’t quite have the motivation, but she did. And that bedroom is now painted and so darn lovely!
The same was true with our garage. For the last year, I’ve half-heartedly attempted to organize our garage “once and for all.” But it was until Greg looked me in the eye a few weeks ago and said “We’re doing this. For real. Today,” that we finally made real, meaningful progress in our garage.
I share this because I’ve gotten lots of message lately from readers who can’t seem to get themselves started…on decluttering, on decorating, on unboxing their new Cricut machine.
So whether you consider yourself a natural “self starter” or not, try asking for some help. It might be just the thing you need to get yourself finally moving forward. And best of all: the project will get done AND you’ll have more fun doing it too!
Last but not least, I have a quick favor to ask! Please, please, please submit some new Coffee Break topics using the anonymous form below.
I know you guys really love these behind-the-scenes chats, so I try really hard not to skip them. But my life is not that interesting; and sometimes sitting down to pull these posts together feels like an exceptionally tall climb.
So this is me asking for YOUR help! I really do comb through the “Ask Megan” submissions when compiling these posts; and often, your questions result in some of the very best Coffee Breaks.
So pretty please help a girlfriend out and let me know what you want to know!
Thanks for catching up with me this month!