A September Letter from the Editor: Transitioning into Fall

published Sep 2, 2019
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Recently, I had the rare luxury of a Friday night all alone. I bought myself flowers on the way home, ordered dinner in, lit some candles, and binged stored-up episodes of “Love It or List It Too.” Here’s the premise if you haven’t watched: a couple is torn about whether they should renovate their current home (and love it) or if they should move to a new place (and list it). Jillian Harris, of “The Bachelorette” circa 2009 fame, gets a budget for renovations—and while they’re happening, real estate agent Todd Talbot takes them to see three options for new homes. At the end, the couple delivers their verdict.

Each episode is a perfect 42-minute-ish capsule of the entire renovation, decoration, and home-searching journey. It’s neat and emotionally satisfying, with a cliffhanger-free happy ending—which is perhaps why all reno shows are so appealing, if a bit formulaic.

Off the screen, that process can feel a little messier. This is my tenth year in my one-bedroom New York City apartment, for instance. When’s the after? Was it in the first year when I painted all of my walls bold splashes of color? A few years after that when my husband moved in and we merged our styles (and stuff)? That year he painted the bedroom a god-awful blue? The day we made our first big furniture purchase? When we refreshed the living room? Will the true “after” be the day we move out?

All of these versions of our home reflect the slow evolution of the people we’ve been inside of it along the way. A discrete before/after moment might be more satisfying in the short-term, but this sense of transformation has been a lot more interesting. Sometimes people ask when my house tour will run on Apartment Therapy, and I answer that it’s not “finished” yet. Maybe it will never be finished, and I have to instead find ways to accept and showcase snapshots throughout my time living there. Even my friends who have been working on big renovations for years hesitate to declare their projects fully “done.”

When planning the month of September here at Apartment Therapy, we decided to think more broadly about that theme of transformation and apply it to a lot of what we’re going to write and publish. It felt particularly appropriate since there’s something special about fall that evokes a feeling of change—the leaves are shifting with the season, students and teachers (and parents) are headed back to school, and sweaters are coming out of storage. 

For starters, we have our jumpstart decluttering program, the September Sweep. Hosted by our lifestyle director Taryn Williford, it kicks off Monday, Sept. 9, with 15 days of smart tips, tricks, and hacks to get your fall off to a less-harried start. You can sign up for it here and guarantee yourself a transformation by the 27th.

This week, we’ll publish a mega-list of free (or almost-free) ways you can transform your home right now. In the second week of September, we’ll have a budget makeover challenge: five Apartment Therapy staffers will attempt to style five different items (from a coffee table to a bed) in the home for just $32 each. Throughout the month, we’ll also meet people who have gone through some kind of transformation in their lives and explore what it meant for their physical space, as well. And of course, you can’t talk transformation without those ever-satisfying before and afters, which are some of the most popular content we run. We’ll have a new one (with a refreshed look) every single day throughout September. You can follow along here.

What transformation—big or small—are you most proud of at home so far this year? Share your stories and photos in the comments. And you can submit your before/after to our team here.

Fall (which officially arrives on Sept. 23) is my favorite season. Wishing you all a happy one.



Our letter from the editor series appears the first Monday of every month.