Magazine envy afflicts possibly millions of Americans. Symptoms include:
1. Looking at Better Homes and Garden and feeling lousy about your home
2. Feeling like a slacker for not having your home perfectly picked up at all times
3. Frequent apologies to your guests for the state of your house
4. Frequent purchases of organizing products such as baskets, colorful boxes and special hangers that never get used
5. Spurts of organizing for hours to the point of exhaustion, then no organizing for weeks or months. A feeling of depression when you realize that you have to organize all over again.
The cure? Don’t believe that the houses’ decor as shown in home decor magazines are attainable for you or I. You might be able to attain that state just before your next dinner party, but it is not sustainable for more than a few days. This is because magazines do not depict those houses as actually being used. Rarely are children or pets depicted in the pictures — and we all know what children and pets do to your tidy home.
Rarely are personal possessions such as photos, photo albums, magazines, clothes, toys and mail shown in the pictures, even though those items make up the bulk of what we call clutter. Who realistically lives without any of those things in their home?
Finally, most of the furniture, accessories, paint and window treatments in those pictures are listed for sale in the back pages of the magazine. Turn to the fourth or fifth page from the end and see a list of every item featured in the pictures, including store name, web site address and sometimes a price. It makes you wonder if the designers really think this is a good look for a home, or if the articles are nothing more than big advertisements.
Here’s the bottom line: Read those magazines if they give you good, realistic ideas for your home decor. If they make you feel bad or guilty about your home, blame the magazine, not yourself or your home.