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Uplevel your House from a Closet to a Home
Jeanette Chasworth -- The Color Whisperer Jeanette Chasworth -- The Color Whisperer
Los Angeles, CA
Sunday, August 16, 2020


If you were to go to your closet at this very moment and open the door, could you honestly declare (1) every single item fits like a glove and (2) every single item captures who you authentically are today? A lot of us really can't say that.

There are clothes we bought at a younger time in our lives. I, for one, have an adorable outfit I bought in London when I was a high school sophomore. Although I'm never going to wear it again, I just can't bring myself to part with it because of the happy memories it always conjures.

There are clothes we bought which were trendy for the era but, frankly, look a tad silly in the 21st century. Maybe we purchased them because a sale was too hard to resist. Or because—even though they weren't quite the perfect fit—they represented an ideal we thought we could be if we just hit the gym and lost a few pounds.

Who among us doesn't have "lucky" outfits? We've worn them to interviews. We've worn them on dates. We've worn them when we want to feel on top of the world. Even after they have become threadbare, parting with them would certainly court cosmic disaster.

And then there are all those jackets and shoes and hats we discover which we totally forgot we even had. (We can only assume the back of the closet is a portal to someone else's closet and they're as mystified by reciprocal discoveries as we are.)

Whatever the case, these sartorial selections didn't come into our lives all at once, springing forth like an adult Athena from the head of Zeus. More often, they came in one at a time or in dribs and drabs. The problem is that, without our paying attention, our closets became so overstuffed as to prevent us from buying any more hangers to accommodate new purchases which might better define our current sense of self, style, and voice.

Such is the pattern that unfolds when we look at our living spaces. The cumulative clutter represents a timeline of where we've been and where we are now. We're reluctant to part with anything nostalgic—and there's no reason we have to—but too frequently we succumb to the belief we have to build the rest of our dwelling around a past which is no longer relevant. The question is: Who are you and where do you want to be in the future?

I recall waking up one day and deciding I didn't like my house. I couldn't put a finger on what it was, exactly, that riled my senses and made me feel depressed. In desperation, I grabbed my keys and went for a walk around the block. When I came back, I rang my own doorbell, waited a few minutes, and then entered the house as if it belonged to a client and I was glimpsing it for the first time. A proverbial lightbulb came on as I stepped into the living room and, with a designer eye, could take stock of all the conflicting "noise" competing for my attention. This was the house of a woman who had dealt with the death of her father, the estrangement of her family, the fracturing of friendships, and the painful end of a long marriage. These were the ghosts shouting at me from every corner in the colors, textures, furnishings, and décor my earlier self had once enthusiastically embraced … and yet I saw no presence of the strong, focused, and independent woman which circumstances had forced me to become.

In my speeches, I use the closet analogy to show that just because you hung something on a rack or placed it on a shelf doesn't mean you are stuck with it forever. We are constantly subjected to change and disruption in our lives—love, loss, illness, employment, relocation—and yet our home is typically the last thing we think about as an instrument of healing and growth. A house doesn't get cluttered overnight, nor does it deteriorate in the blink of an eye. It happens because maintaining a status quo is easier and supposedly less stressful than taking bold steps to reinvent, recreate, and reimagine a happier and more positive outcome. In reality, the more stagnant you allow your living space to become, the less growth you'll experience as a human being.

When I tell people what I do, I'm often met with assumptions that I simply make a room look prettier by splashing on a new coat of paint or swapping out the window treatments. Far from it. My approach is to fully embrace the healing and therapeutic aspects of design. A number of my clients, for instance, are emerging—a bit bewildered—into the world of suddenly being single again as a product of widowhood or divorce. Some have also lost their parents and feeling as if, functionally, they are now adult orphans. Everything around them is a testament to an "us" which is no longer and there is understandably some reluctance to now put their own "oneness" in the spotlight. Just as we tenaciously hang on to clothes that no longer fit or are no longer in fashion, there's a subliminal hope that perhaps keeping everything as it once was will somehow bring back the past and the loved ones who peopled it. Trust me, it won't.

What I say to my clients is that making room in the closet for new items, new experiences and even new perspectives is a gateway to liberating their own sense of empowerment. I emphasize that relegating items from the past to a place of less prominence (i.e., not a shrine over the fireplace mantle) doesn't by any means diminish the fondness of their memory but, rather, encourages an honest assessment of what's truly important in the here and now.

Sometimes moving forward begins with the first step of walking around the block and—coming in through the front door—seeing your home through the eyes of someone who doesn't know you. If you're ready for that journey of self-discovery, I'd like to take it with you.

If you would like more tips, contact www.TheColorWhisperer.com


Uplevel your House from a Closet to a Home

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Jeanette Chasworth
Dateline: Monrovia, CA United States
Direct Phone: 626 485 6354
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