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  • Writer's pictureKim McLaughlin

Clear out your emotional attic!

Why are we enamored or fascinated by a “staged” or perfectly curated home? Do you know why? The well-presented home pulls at our “tidy” heart strings; we don’t live in staged homes or meticulously organize our closets (should Martha Stewart drop by). Why do we feel that we must keep up with the Pinterest Joneses?

We DO love our stuff. It’s such a conundrum! Often we'll save our stuff and squirrel it away out of sight where we can't enjoy and admire it. However, does our quest for a tidy, well-curated home lead us to an ideal state: all neat and spiffy? Let’s pretend for a moment that the baggage we carry with us, from attic to garage to over-flowing drawers, is an indication that we haven't yet made up our minds about what to save/keep/cherish versus what to cut loose.

I’m writing this from my hometown in Michigan. I’ve spent 10 days reconnecting with my past. I go from relative to relative’s home, and each home represents the specific personality of its occupants. I’m here for my mother’s 90th birthday, and when I enter her home, I’m embraced with a “welcome home honey!” emotion that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. It has every cherished element of “mom” and I’m so fortunate to be warmed and embraced by this feeling …

Any home with warmth and a sense of its inhabitants' history is a joy to be in.

Mom has never purged possessions or curated her home because of a professional opinion. It oozes love, joy, and kindness. Mom’s home doesn’t have fancy countertops or oversized “hotel lobby” staging furniture. What it does have is well-used, well-worn rich upholstery & pillows which tell a personal story: Mom’s story, her life and her loves. Her home will never make the cover of a magazine; instead, it exudes heart and timelessness.

Some of my relatives who’ve “arrived” have endeavored to create homes that are magazine-ready. Each element seems new and well-appointed. The cabinets have been curated in a fashion which puts Crate & Barrel to shame, and while I commend the immaculate “eat off the floor” garage, as well as the latest trends in black and white —each detail in competition with the next — it feels a bit soulless. One is hard-pressed to find a child’s fingerprint on the wall, or a messy cabinet full of keepsakes.

While the effort is impressive, there’s also a certain sadness in the absence of history and soul. There’s no treasure hunt to locate a favored keepsake. To wrap up this little bit of finger-pointing: keepsakes are important. Keep them, treasure them, and make room for cherished things. Don’t be such a zealot as to curate a trophy home with an empty heart. Life is a balance, and so is a true home. Wrap your arms around the entire experience of what a home is capable of giving: Peace of mind, security, memories, and warmth.

Please let me know of a friend who would enjoy reading my blog, or perhaps someone who may need help with their home search. Referrals are always appreciated!

Best wishes,

Bainbridge Island real estate over the past 30 Days

  • 20 active residential listings High $6,880,000, Median $1,089,000 Low $525,000, Average days on market 13

  • 27 pending residential listings High $2,398,000, Median $1,198,000 Low $599,000, Average days on market 10

  • 56 sold residential listings High $5,800,000, Median $1,457,500 Low $610,000, Average days on market 10

  • 1 active vacant land listing $660,000, Days on market 28

  • 1 pending vacant land listing

  • $260,000, Days on market 2

  • 1 sold vacant land

  • $400,000, Days on market 40

NOTE: There were 5 unlisted homes sold, with a total sales price representing $13,519,000.

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