"Can I help you?" the pretty, young salesgirl politely asked, clearly recognizing the confusion in my eyes. (I'm sure I'm not the first.)
"Yes!" I gushed, handing off the few shirts I had already selected, grateful for the rescue. "I desperately need some new clothes for work."
Here's the thing, take me to the Alameda Flea Market with literally row upon row of antique vendors as far as the eye can see, and I haven't a problem quickly identifying what I want or negotiating for it, BUT if I wander into any large department store, I'm utterly lost; as if I haven't a clue (I don't).
With all due respect to April, I'm not fooling, I really have NO ability to filter through the sea of clothes as most of my fashionable peers can easily do (or any 16-year-old girl for that matter). Accessories? Uh . . . what are those? I wear a pair of earrings until I lose one and then I might purchase another (or not). Purses? I own just two. "
You're not really wearing those baggy jeans?" my girlfriend, Teresa, has critically scoffed as I've arrived for an outing. (Not anymore, I'm not.) Teresa is the mother of three daughters - she always looks stylish.
Maybe it's the boy thing. Frankly, neither Tris nor Case could care less about what either one of them is wearing, let alone me, but after 20-plus years, I'm clearly out of practice and waaay out of my element. Maybe it's the fact that I spend more time at the ball field than at the shopping mall. OR, maybe there's a chromosome missing in my DNA?!?
Whatever it is, I am the first to admit that when it comes to fashion, I don't know where to begin.
Thankfully, I don't have to.
"I'm a personal shopper," Sabrina explained as she escorted me into a private changing room. "If you ever need me, here's my card." (Need you? Can I adopt you?) "I'm just going to select some options for you . . . just wait here, I'll be right back." (Relief.)
One hour later and I walked out of Macy's with three new shirts, a blazer, two skirts, a pair of pants, and a sporty little pair of Espadrilles - and they all mix and match. I'm set for the next several months. (Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!)
Relying on others with more experience, doesn't just make common sense (and cents) it's often times, the wisest course of action, and the most expedient as well - especially when it come to Real Estate.
Why reinvent the wheel when others more practiced, can better steer the way?
I can't count the number of times, when potential Sellers bring me in after they have painted or made repairs, when they'd be much better served, inviting me in before (don't mind the mess, I've seen much worse.) The truth is, there's a very different aesthetic for marketing your home for photos online, than for decorating it to meet your own personal taste and style.
AND before you spend those hard-earned dollars that I will, in all probability, ask you to respend, PLEASE CALL ME. (Think Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn catalog and you're on the right track.) And yes, it's very likely, the design will embrace a very neutral palette - and for good reason. We want potential Buyers to place themselves in your home, not get sidetracked by the photos of your darling children and their colorful artwork on the walls.
So for those of you contemplating selling your home in the next few years - or in the next few months - may I offer a few suggestions as someone who's got a great deal more experience than the average home seller typically does?
If a move is in your future, here's my Top Ten 'To Do' List:" (no charge)
Can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.